The first time I heard Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of the 2013 blockbuster book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, it was in her 2010 TED Talk, "Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders."
In that presentation, she talked about a concept I'd never been exposed to before. At least not as a concept that could be analyzed as a regularly appearing trend in women's business behaviors.
She referred to it as "leaving before you leave" and her advice was "Don't."
In her talk, she gave a number of reasons and examples for the behavior but what it came down to - at least in the talk - was that women, in effect, gave up where men would continue to stand their ground and fight their side.
In the book, that changed. It became about young women - involved in intimate relationships or not - never fully engaging in their jobs because they were planning on leaving because of marriage, babies, life.
While I agree with her argument in both cases, I want to address and support her originating thoughts on the topic. Because women really do leave before they leave.
They give up or give in. They get angry or passive-aggressive. They stop participating. They have an attitude.
Don't. Don't do that.
If there's something wrong, try to get it fixed. If it means taking your issue up beyond your boss, take it. If it means speaking up and standing up for your ideas in meetings - and not letting the men interrupt or, worse, take credit for your idea - then speak up and stand up for yourself.
If the problem is such that it is insurmountable and all your efforts have failed, look for another job. That may be leaving - but it's leaving on your terms. You're not a victim. You're a decider.
And the company you used to work for is screwed. Why? Because you're not there anymore.
Which means that other women who see what you do will take your lead. In fact, since you'll probably get a job at a higher level in some other company, they may well be contacting you to ask if you've got a place for them.
In the book, Sheryl talks, literally and figuratively, about "taking a seat at the table." Do that. Make yourself and your value known to the organization. That's part of the stand up and speak up actions you're taking.
Then, if they insist on continuing to do what they're doing that is anathema to you, they'll feel even worse when you leave...because they never thought you'd go and now they know - even more than before - just what they've lost.
So, in short: I agree with Sheryl. Don't leave before you leave. But when you do, do it on your terms. No one else's.