Career mistakes that women make
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
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.
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
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
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