Who should read it: Everyone!
Why you should read it: In The Fix Michelle P. King tells us how the current corporate working world is designed for men; but not even all men, it’s only really designed for the white, middle class, puts work first, but has a family, man. The Fix draws your attention to this by pointing out those invisible barriers you may not have otherwise seen, it is informative, illuminating and a call to action for us to change the way the system works to benefit us all.
Michelle mainly focuses on the invisible barriers and injustices experienced by women in the workplace. She has split the book into three parts: 1) Awareness: ‘We can’t tackle inequality if we are in denial it even exists’, 2) Understanding: ‘Tackling inequality starts with making the invisible visible by getting to know the barriers women face at work’ and 3) Action: ‘Equality is a practice. It is how employees behave, leaders lead and workplaces work’
In the first part, Awareness, Michelle covers how we got here, touching on the Industrial Revolution and explaining that most people worked in factories, doing repetitive tasks and so, efficiency was paramount. Corporations did not benefit from people bringing their whole selves to work, in fact it was better that they didn’t. However, Michelle explains that the world has changed a lot since then, most repetitive tasks have now been automated and it is innovation, problem solving and creativity that will allow organisations to thrive in the future.
‘The thing that makes great minds so great is that they don’t all think alike.'
In the second part of the book, Understanding, Michelle details the three phases a woman typically goes through in her career: The achievement phase, the endurance phase and the contribution phase. Whilst describing the philosophy behind each of these phases and the shift in mindset, Michelle carefully intertwines and highlights the invisible barriers that pop up within each of these phases; often relaying stories that she has seen from her own career to help depict the barrier.
The third part ‘Action’ is focused on the changes we can all do to make a difference to our workplace. A large portion of this section is focused on men, highlighting why men need gender equality just as much a women. The first chapter in this part is titled ‘Breaking up with Don’, by which Michelle means breaking up with the ideal worker model of Don Draper – a Mad Max reference where the lead character was a white, male workaholic. She relays a story of how her a male friend who fits the ‘Don Draper’ model hides his personal identity at work by not mentioning his children, or taking time off to care for them. The story emphasizes how men are still encouraged to conform to a masculine standard and keep their emotions to themselves. Michelle states that the single most important thing men can do to support equality is to reflect what it means to be a man at work:
‘Changing the status quo will of course serve women, but it will also free up men to pursue new paths to power and identities outside of work’.
This book is an enjoyable and informative read and I am sure many of the stories detailing how the invisible barriers impact our careers will resonate with the reader. However, Michelle doesn’t just point the barriers, she offers simple ways in which we can all work to help eliminate them.
King, M.P., Anderson, G. and Nadal, J. (2021) The fix: Overcome the invisible barriers that are holding women back at work. London: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd.