From founder loneliness to wild uncertainty to financial struggles, the many difficulties of starting a business are well known. In fact, with the exception of a few dissenters, most people agree that entrepreneurship is a far tougher (if often more rewarding) path than working as an employee.
But according to the founder of $2 billion accounting software company BlackLine there is one glaring exception -- being a founder is far easier than being a woman employee in the tech industry, she insisted in a recent FT interview.
Trading less sexism for more stress
Given the recent, high-profile scandals surrounding women in tech, from the sexual harassment claims that brought down Uber's former CEO and led to the resignations of several well known VCs to the backlash against Google's firing of diversity memo author James Damore, it's not exactly headline news that tech might not be the most female-friendly work environment. But this claim from Therese Tucker, the (pink haired!) 55-year-old founder of BlackLine, is still startling.
"Being a female founder is easier than being a female tech employee," the FT's Maija Palmer reports her saying.
That's not because Tucker had an easy ride getting her business off the ground. She tells Palmer the typical horror stories of nearly missed payrolls, last minute loans from friends, and sleepless nights that many founders experience in the uncertain early days of their businesses. But all of that stress still was better than the daily sexism and harassment she experienced working at tech companies, Tucker claims.
"You get a thick skin, you ignore it, you learn when not to be at the bar, when to keep a table between you and someone else . . . I look back and I wonder if there are times when I should have spoken up," she tells Palmer of her time as an employee at tech companies.
Against that backdrop of creepiness and bias, the advantages of starting something of her own stood out bright and clear. "If you need to leave work at 2pm to go and pick up your kids from school you don't have to ask anybody, nobody judges you. You may then go home and work another 12 hours, but you have flexibility," she explains.
Would you take that bargain?
The complete interview is well worth a read in full for those interested in more details of Tucker's impressive success story, but just this snippet raises an interesting question for other female founders out there. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts:
Would you agree with Tucker that being a female founder -- tough as it is -- is actually easier than dealing with the annoyances of working as an employee in the tech industry?