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Don’t ‘Lean In’ Too Far, Warns Former Lehman CFO

In her new book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is looking to empower other women to break through the glass ceiling and blaze a similar path to corporate boardrooms. Now a familiar name from the past has come out from the shadows to offer a different perspective, warning women – and men, really – to think hard before leaning in too far.

Erin Callan, former chief financial officer at Lehman Brothers, disappeared from the spotlight in 2008 when the firm imploded into bankruptcy. Now she’s back to caution against the perils of devoting your full self to your career.

In an interview that aired Friday on NBC, Callan, a divorcee with no children, told viewers: “Don’t do it like me.”

A Harvard graduate with a law degree from New York University School of Law, Callan was tapped as the CFO of Lehman at age 41 after sprinting her way up the ranks on Wall Street. Her work ethic was legendary, her Blackberry addiction stifling and her personal life a corroded mess, she told NBC.

“You can have an amazing career with great success, even in a male-dominated field that I did,” she said. “But be careful what you wish for and the choices that you make.”

Callan’s free time was spent sleeping, recharging her batteries for upcoming marathon days of work. Her spouse, friends and family never got to see her true self, only “what was left over,” she wrote in a recent op-ed for the New York Times.

What she recommends to younger women is not to avoid corporate life, but rather to find a rational work/life balance that allows you to appreciate the things you work for.

When asked if her thoughts are aligned with current feminist thought, Callan said yes. “I think it’s incredibly feminist what I’m saying because I’m saying it’s up to you,” she said. “I’m just trying to provide a bit of what I’ll call a warning label that, hey, there’s something else to think about as you’re ‘leaning in.’”

DCM Hires (Bloomberg)

Bank of America has poached two debt capital markets bankers from Credit Suisse as the firm reorganizes its Asia DCM business.

HSBC Firing…and Hiring (eFinancialCareers)

HSBC may be about to decimate its headcount in offshore technology locations, but this could ultimately mean more jobs for IT professionals in more developed financial centers.

Poor Timing (Cyprus Mail)

The banking industry in Cyprus is in complete disarray. Now there’s this: The Bank of Cyprus (BoC) has awarded former CEO Andreas Eliades more than $2.5 million, money owed to him after he resigned last July.

SAC Not in the Clear (WSJ)

SAC Capital agreed to pay a record $616 million penalty to end two insider-trading cases, but the bank is still not out of the woods. Executives warned investors on Monday that regulatory scrutiny will remain, calling the settlements “an important first step.”

‘I Know it’s Embarrassing’ (Bloomberg)

Transcripts of a phone conversation between “London Whale” trader Bruno Iksil and his boss have been released. They paint the picture of a fearful Iksil who was likely under more stress than you can possibly imagine.

Getting the Band Back Together (Financial News)

Two former heads of Royal Bank of Scotland’s disbanded advisory unit have launched a new firm that is being stocked with plenty of ex-RBS bankers.

Indicted (WSJ)

The former head of the California Public Employees' Retirement System has been charged with defrauding money managers such as Apollo Global Management. The indictments follow civil charges that were filed last April.

Buzz Around the Office

Breaking News: I’m Engaged (MSN)

An Alabama news anchor learned that her boyfriend was proposing by personally breaking the news on live TV. Apparently gaining access to a teleprompter isn’t as hard as you’d imagine.

List of the Day: Resume Clichés

However you put your resume together, avoid these clichés that hiring managers hate.

  1. Hard worker.
  2. Self-starter.
  3. Team player.

(Source: AOL Jobs)

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor
  • An
    19 March 2013

    The fact that Erin Callan is not in jail on criminal fraud or incompetence charges and is shamelessly talking in public is one of the greatest travesties of the financial crisis aftermath.

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