She hit a major stumbling block during her bid to be the next editor in chief of Yahoo!'s food blog: Marissa Mayer. Apparently, the former Google exec does not approve of folks who do not have college degrees. According to sources, Mayer "balked" at the idea of hiring someone without one. Apparently, this is a hot-button issue for the embattled CEO. It has been said that she often asks people where they attended college. Mayer, who has come under some tough scrutiny as of late for her company's lackluster turnaround since her hire two years ago, is only adding fuel to the naysayers' fire by not hiring an Academy Award-winning actress because of her lack of credentials.
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Paltrow is best known for her roles most recently as the substitute teacher in Glee and Pepper in the Iron Man series. She is also the owner and operator of a high-profile and often highly contemptible lifestyle brand, Goop. And, let's not forget, the author of best-selling cookbooks as well. But that didn't quite qualify her to write for Yahoo!'s food blog. Instead, Yahoo hired SUNY Plattsburgh alumna Kerry Diamond, who owns three Brooklyn restaurants.
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As online writers, we secretly love that Yahoo! is honestly trying to ensure the integrity of their writers and requiring tangible qualifications to write on either a particular subject or have something in their backgrounds, which to write compellingly online about said subject.
Yahoo!'s deliberate move toward premium content production to try to compete with Google's search and Facebook's social stronghold is not working yet, but Rome wasn't built in a day. And standing strong in your beliefs might not win you a lot of friends, and other writers might call you a "higher-education snob," but they weren't hired at 38 to run one of the largest online companies in the world. And of course, you always have to ask: Would we even care about this if Mayer were a man?
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Now, I am not saying that not having a degree makes Gwyneth Paltrow unqualified to run her company, or that she isn't an amazing actress and inspirational businesswoman, but it also doesn't make Mayer a bad woman or businesswomen for not wanting to hire her because of her lack of degree. Everyone has their standards; Mayer's, apparently, is a college degree.