Tough Love for Professional Gals

03. October 2010 All, Career, Favorites 0

It’s biological. Women are different from men.

I am not a feminist nor am I traditionalist. I am an opportunist. Everyone of all genders, colors, and shapes should have equal opportunities. Somehow I think we’ve forgotten what this means. This means the chance to earn a greater living, a greater position, and greater lot in life. The product thereof is not a given. The product should be a result of hard work and competence.

That said, women should recognize the fundamental differences that make us different from men. Rather than use them as a crutch, or worse, use them in an unethical way in order to advance ourselves, we should be cognizant of and adjust for these differences in the male-dominated workplace. Here are a few rules that I try to abide by and often need to remind myself of. They are general rules that are universally applicable, but I think some may hit home with my fabulous fellow ladies a little more

1. Keep your eye on the ball
2. Don’t feel threatened by anyone
3. Trust your judgment and instincts
4. Don’t second guess yourself
5. Emulate, don’t compete with, those whom you admire
6. Make allies not frenemies
7. Speak up when you’ve got something intelligent to say
8. Keep your mouth shut if you don’t
9. Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes
10. Don’t whine. Ever.
11. Look people in the eye
12. Don’t be afraid to smile
13. Speak professionally. No um’s, like’s, sort of’s or you know’s
14. Dress professionally. When in doubt, wear something else
15. Focus on the task at hand
16. Don’t say anything that could ever be held against you. Consider yourself on permanent record
17. Make friends whom you trust but don’t trust easily

18. De-stress constantly. Do it daily – through exercise, talking it out with a partner, writing, or doing a hobby. Also do it several times intra-day. Breathe. Look around. Remind yourself what drives you. Remind yourself that the world is bigger than this. That life is bigger than this. There are more important things than the thing that is causing you stress at this moment. Get back in tune with the world: the ground beneath you, the air around you, the trees outside. Re-focus. Then continue.
19. Remember that no one is better than you. Also remember that you are not better than anyone else. The two big pitfalls of businesspeople are arrogance and self-doubt- not to be confused with their good counterparts confidence and humility. A well-balanced, healthy person can have confidence and humility but the one who has gone awry will waver between extremes of the latter two – evidenced by volatile performance and inconsistent reliability.
20. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Fear not your weaknesses nor the tasks that require you to use those skills. In fact, seek out those tasks and projects. The only thing worse than doing something you’re not great at is only doing things at which you are.

No one’s perfect, that’s the main thing. Be hungry and great things happen! Good luck!