There was an article titled “Forget Leaning In, Let's Talk about Leaning Out” in Forbes magazine (April 2. 2014) in which the author, Caroline Mayer says:
“I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard way too much about Sheryl Sandberg and her new book, Lean In, encouraging women to be more assertive, especially in the workplace. At this stage in my life, I simply want to Lean Out.”
I was in understanding both “lean in” and “lean out” simply refer to bodily actions as defined by Oxford English Dictionary: to move the top part of your body in a particular direction. Example: Don’t lean out of the window,” until I read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.
I understand now the word, “lean in" is used to mean to get aggressively involved in business and ambitious career development, and “lean out” as its opposite word.
As far as I checked Google Ngram, both “lean in” and “lean out” have been used since well before 1840 with predominant incidences of “lean in” over “lean out.” However, usage of “lean in” made a remarkable increase coming into 2000 (from 0.0000085329% in 1980 to 0.0000118571% in 2000), possibly for its extended meaning.
I’m curious to know (1) from around what time the word “lean in” started to be used in Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” context other than proper “body actions,” and (2) whether the word, “Lean out” is now commonly understood as a pair word of Sandberg’s “Lean in.”