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Career mistakes that women make

Colleen Clarke|

Today, monolith-type companies are being managed, not steered, but managed, by
brassy younger men and ballsy women. To survive and flourish one has to really
know how to play the office/industry politics game. So when the book Nice
Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office 101: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That
Sabotage Their Careers
came across my desk, I had to spread the word, it is
so enlightening!

This book could become a career bible to the working woman. It is a fine
piece of craftsmanship or should I say ‘craftwomanship’ that addresses the need
for women to stand their ground and make their mark in the business world. All
it takes to implement author Lois Frankel’s advice is determination,
fed-up–with-itness, a strong belief system, support and guts.

I was impressed right off the bat when Frankel gives readers permission to
‘read only chapters of the book that relate to your individual weaknesses.’ She
says women ‘feel’ they always have to read a book right through, so as not to
offend the author, whereas men read the sections of books that they need to
read. Lesson one!

The book starts out with a self-assessment quiz that determines your
sabotaging mistakes. Based on the results of the quiz you are referred to
specific chapters that offer advice on those mistakes.

For instance:

Mistake #26: Decorating your office like your living

Humanize space but don’t decorate per se. Emphasizing your
femininity diminishes your credibility. A family photo or a snapshot of Rover,
with a plant and a box of tissues is enough personalizing. Too many family
photos may also appear like you wish you were somewhere other than the

Mistake #27. Feeding others.

You aren’t “mom” or
Betty Crocker, so don’t put food on your desk, Frankel advises. If you want to
bring a batch of cookies into the office put them in the lunch room; even this
action is discouraged. When is the last time one of the fellas brought in home
made fudge?

Mistake #42. Refusing perks.

When a perk is
overlooked, bring it to a manager’s attention, they’re just hoping you won’t say
anything, like most women. Watch your tone of voice and the manner in which you
remind your manager should be tactful and confident. When you get a promotion,
ask what it includes, don’t assume the new title or a salary increase is all
there is.

Mistake #59. Asking permission.

Learn to take
independent action within a given set of boundaries. Children are expected to
ask for permission, not adults. Don’t set yourself up for a ‘no.’ Don’t start
sentences with “If it is ok with you if I…”

Keep in mind that there are positions within a company where some of these’
mistakes’ have to be interpreted with a grain of salt. A candy dish at the
receptionist desk is de rigeur, not so at the Director level.

All 101 mistakes offer coaching tips on how to alter your behaviour, thinking
or communication. Like going on a diet, for you to turn these mistakes into
successes you have to fully commit to them and apply them consistently. Frankel
says that success for women in business is not about acting more like a man, but
acting less like a girl.

Colleen Clarke, Career Specialist & Corporate Trainer



Author of Networking: How to
build relationships that count
and How To Get a Job and Keep

Category: Career Dilemmas, Life At Work
  • http://sciencelives.com/ Suzanne

    The article really does not explain what about bringing cookies into the office is so detrimental to your career. Sure, it does not show any particular business skill, but what harm can it do? I had a female high-level executive who baked birthday cakes for a couple of her employees, a male coworker that would bring in pizzas for the office and another who brought in his mother’s homemade candy … even a male high-level executive would bring in a box of his favorite American burgers once in a while. At least bringing in food gets you noticed and liked around the office! Am I missing something about feeding coworkers that I should be aware of?

    • Elizabeth

      I agree what’s wrong with sharing some treats! A few treats go along way for cameraderie and morale within teams!

  • Kathy

    This is article is not the least bit helpful.

  • Jill Patricia Lyons

    gobblety goop!… be yourself but don’t do this and don’t do that… here is a list of 59 things you shouldn’t do… sometimes you shouldn’t do them and sometimes it is OK to do them… but by all means go ahead and be yourself!

  • Jill Patricia Lyons

    No one really likes to be presented with a list of mistakes someone else thinks they have made…

  • Lisa

    Am I the only one deeply bothered by this line:
    “Emphasizing your femininity diminishes your credibility.”?

  • alex

    We had a little chat at the office the other day re: the way women talk. Women cannot possibly ‘work their balls off’ I suggested feminizing the way we talk and though it may cause hoots of laughter at first, it may just catch on. I intend to bust my ovaries to help it along