In a recent article in The New York Times entitled “Girl Power at School, But Not at the Office,” Hannah Seligson gives some good advice to all working women, even those of the “post women’s right movement” generation in which she grew up.
After feeling self-assured and equal to men in academia, Hannah found the workplace to be different: women undermining other women, men not taking women seriously–focusing on their appearance and “assistantizing” them.
But she also recognizes that women can get in their own way in the workforce. Work skills women must develop, in her opinion, are a thick skin, the ability to promote oneself, and the ability to negotiate. She also recommends that women dump the perfectionism and create a professional network.
Here are some jewels to consider:
Rather than getting rattled by their feminine “sensitivity,” women have to “become impervious to the daily gruffness that’s a part of any job.”
Seeking perfection can lead to paralysis and keep women from speaking up or taking risks.
“Soliciting feedback… demystifies what your boss thinks about you and it also gives you the data to become a more valuable employee.”
“Reprogram your brain to think that girls do brag. Your job is a two-part process: one is actually doing the work and the second is talking about it in bottom-line terms.”
Since “women don’t have as much of a tradition of business networking (‘Do you want to go grab a beer?’ doesn’t quite roll off our tongues),” learning to ask colleagues specific questions about how to advance can be the organic approach to mentoring.
Finally, women need to “speak salary.” Women often think they will be paid what they deserve, as long as they do the work. Follow the example of men who fearlessly ask for a raise over and over again, regardless of the response. As a Harvard Business School faculty member explained: ‘By and large women believe that the workplace is a meritocracy, and it isn’t.”