Yahoo’s HR Boss Commutes 6,000 Miles a Week For Work
3:30 pm, March 6th | by Colette McIntyre
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban telecommunicating sparked a national debate over work-life balance (some of it taking place on this very site), yet one Yahoo employee is going to extreme lengths — thousands of miles of length, to be exact — to fulfill Mayer’s wish of having “all hands on deck.” Jacqueline Reses, Yahoo!’s Executive Vice President of People and Development, commutes 6,000 miles a week to the office. (And here I was grumbling about how slow the N train is…)
Every week, Reses travels from her home in New York’s West Village to Yahoo!’s sprawling campus in Sunnyvale, California. While the human resources director could just work from Yahoo!’s satellite office in New York, Reses chooses to make the laborious round trip, perhaps because she co-wrote the controversial telecommunication ban with Mayer. Yup; the mother-of-three who travels 6,000 miles each week to work is partially responsible for the now infamous Yahoo! memo.
Reses is a living example of Mayer’s new Yahoo! philosophy: in order to revitalize a company and create a culture of collaboration and innovation, employees have to report to work, no matter the inconvenience. It’s difficult to determine whether Reses’ and Mayer’s commitments to their executive positions will help or harm fellow working mothers: while on one hand, their example could temper the stigmatization of mothers in the workplace, many companies may fail to understand the nuances of Mayer’s and Reses’ positions and expect less privileged working mothers to meet unrealistic standards. I assume that Reses has some help in the domestic labor and childcare department — I mean, it is a $2.5m West Village apartment that she returns to at the end of the working week.
While it is good to see that Reses isn’t making allowances for herself and is committed to her own policy, I wonder if we should be celebrating a 6,000 mile commute under any circumstance. I hope that publicizing Reses’ insane and arduous roundtrip doesn’t normalize it or make it aspirational. Remember: this isn’t innovative or feminist, this is crazy. Like Mayer’s four-hours-a-night, under-the-desk sleeping habits, Reses’ weekly trip should elicit cuckoo clock noises and sympathy. No one in their right mind should be willing to commute 6,000 miles to work each week. Better yet, no one should even be requiring that from their employees.