Nov 14, 2013

The Amazing Failure of Women's Career Advice

This article in Forbes is great. Almost two years old and still wildly relevant. Here are my favorite snippets.

“We’re putting a lot on younger women,” said Sallie Krawcheck, former president of global wealth & investing for Merrill Lynch at a recentForbesWoman panel discussion. “[Telling them that] In order to be successful you need to ask for more money in this way, you need to raise your hand in that way, you need to do things that you weren’t brought up to do or are not comfortable doing. By the way, you need to join this woman’s network and go into that mentoring program… And what’s happened is [that] we’re not necessarily bringing women forward as much as we’re just making them busier.”
So are we asking women to do too much? Considering the fact that even “doing it all” doesn’t seem to be helping, that just might be the case. “By the way,” Krawcheck added. “You’re already doing three times the childcare and two times the housework so you’re already busier [than your husband]. And then you’ve got to go to the mentoring programs?”
Seriously though: what gives?
It’s all based on viewing women against the masculine paradigm, which has long been considered the “right way” to live and work. When women do things differently, well, Duffy says it’s viewed as deficient, or the “wrong way.”

Just as good: the comments. Some faves:

With both men AND woman focused on creating balance, it will become more socially acceptable for men to take on traditional female caregiving responsibilities freeing up more time for women to focus on career. In a utopian world, both men and women would spend equal amounts of time at work and at “life” (for lack of a better term).

This is a complicated problem. As a manager, one of the things I have noticed is the amount of time women spend highlighting their private lives in a work environment. A woman who has to be late to a meeting, leave early, or take a day off will tend to provide a reason (I have to take my daughter to the doctor, I am meeting a friend for lunch, I’ve got to pick up a prescription before they close, etc.). The men simply say, I’ll be out tomorrow, I’ll be 5 minutes late to our 2pm, I’m leaving at 4, etc., and leave it at that.
In other words, I hear women take the focus off their work selves and onto their private selves more frequently. This, accompanied with the excuses/explanations can change the perception people have of them as professionals. In my experience men do this less, which leaves only the “work personae” for people to consider.
Right or wrong, our communication styles might be part puzzle.

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