Archive | August, 2012

Have Some Respect For The Young Women

23 Aug

We all know that there are some professions out there that are completely male dominated, right? Like banking or working on Wall Street or being an attorney. Yes, there are wonderful women working in those professions, but if you work in one of those professions you often find yourself surrounded by men, and older men at that. Not only is it hard to speak to older men who are of the Good Old Boy Club, but it is hard to feel welcome.

The other day one of my Facebook friends (who shall remain anonymous) posted this:

“Dear Male Attys in their 50s: No, I am not the paralegal. Yes I am under 30 and female. Please do not call me sweetheart and do not say ‘just between the girls.’ As a warning, I do not respond well to bullying or manipulation. And, by the way, I’m not a -itch  if I object or question something you do that I believe  is inappropriate under the rules of civil procedure. I’m just doing my job. Thank you. Truly Yours, Esq.”

At first I read this and thought, wow, she must have had a bad day, but then the more I thought about it the more I thought, Good for you!! I have to give it to her – she spoke her mind and said what a lot of young women were thinking – that they arn’t respected just because they are young women in their profession.

How many of you out there have been in a situation in which someone assumes, just because you are young, that you are a secretary or an assistant or the lowly intern? How many of you have found that just because you are young your opinions are not respected? How many of you think that just because you are young your older colleagues try to manipulate you into doing what they want you to do? How many of you have been in a meeting and suggested something only to have the older men laugh and push it aside?

This has happened to me quite a few times in my short career, and I have to admit that when it does happen it is sort of embarrassing. It makes me feel like maybe I am not worthy of being in the profession I am in or that I am not worthy of having other people respect my work. And having to explain to people that you aren’t the intern and are actual an attorney or a broker or a counselor or a doctor is awkward. And then they look at you with a scrunched forehead and their head tilted to the side as if they can’t possible comprehend how you could possibly be in the position thar you’re in.

And when this happens all you want to do is scream at the top of your lungs, “Yes, I am a young woman, but I am a _________, so respect me!”

I know that everyone has to pay their dues and has to put in the time before respect is given, I get that, but people can’t just assume that because you have a young face or because you’re attractive or because you are female that you are the secretary. I think that sometimes, just sometimes, people should respect you and remember that they were once in your position.

Any of you have similar experiences in your professions?

Promoting Yourself At Your New Job

16 Aug

A lot of my readers seem to come to this site via Google searches relating to new jobs, so I figured, in honor of my readers and to help those of you out that seem to be starting new jobs (which seems to be a lot of you), I thought I would discuss how to promote yourself at your new job. By promote yourself I mean get noticed and be seen by those around you.

So here is the scene. You landed a new, exciting job, and you just started or are getting ready to start.

First things first, remember that this transition into your new position is a chance to make changes and to prove yourself to your new co-workers. The spotlight will be on you for the first few weeks, or even months, with everyone always wondering what you are working on and how you are doing. Are you making a lot of mistakes? Are you catching on quickly to the new systems and protocols? Are you making connections with your co-workers and helping them get to know you?

Second thing to remember: the first day, week, or even month may not be that exciting. While I am sure you are ready to jump in and start working on everything, know that training and moving work to you takes time. So be patient. If you are slow, wait it out. I’m sure it will get better.

Ok, now that we have all of that out of the way I can get down to the meat and potatoes of the new job business.

Most of you know, I hope, that what you do in the first few months at your new job will either make or break you. It is in these first few months that you need to show your boss and your co-workers why you are such an asset to the company and that they should continue to invest time and money in you.

Here are some tips for promoting yourself around the office and making everyone know your worth:


I know, I know, you might not be busy, and that’s ok. What I mean by “hit the ground running” is that you need to be ready and willing to get your feet wet and venture into various different tasks that you have never done before. If you find that you aren’t busy at first, go around the office and ask people for work or if they need help with ANYTHING. If you are busy, embrace it and do everything you can to keep up the pace. Your company is going to want to see that you can be productive and that you are benefitting them.


You can do this through the various assignments you have, at meetings, or in discussions with your co-workers or your boss. It is my advice to try to promote your skills – the skills that set you apart – at every chance you get. If you are a nurse and you are great with patients, make sure others notice this. If you are an attorney and are a great brief writer, volunteer to take a stab at writing a brief. If you are in sales and you are good at cold calls, make sure your boss recognizes this. While I don’t want you to go and tell someone every time you do something great – don’t be afraid to brag a little bit. For example, if you land a big client your first month on the job don’t be afraid to admit this in meeting when discussing the new account. If you don’t mention it, no one will.


If your co-workers invite you to lunch, happy hours, conferences, etc., make sure that you go. They are inviting you because they want to get to know you and they want you to get involved. I know that going to social events with people you don’t know can be strange and awkward, but it is a part of establishing a career and expanding your network. Getting involved can even be as simple as joining the company softball team. The point is that you want to start building a connection to your co-workers right away.


Every company has a very different culture. By culture I  mean anything from actual culture (my last company was primarily Indian dominated and so they celebrated many Indian holidays), office hours, where people eat lunch, how long they eat lunch, how people dress, whether people schmooze in the hallways, whether they go out for a drink after work, etc. Understanding all of the nuances of your new company will allow you to ensure that you are doing things in accordance with what everyone else has become accustomed to. You don’t want to be the Chatty Cathy if talking in the hallways is unacceptable.

If you are finding it hard to figure some of this stuff out, ask someone you feel comfortable talking with.


Even if you are slammed and have been asked if you can help out, DON’T SAY NO. Even if you have plans after work and have been asked to attend a speaking event or a happy hour or some other business-related event, DON’T SAY NO. While you don’t have to say Yes to everything the entire time you work at this new company, you need to say Yes the first few months you work there. Not only will saying yes show your dedication to the company, but it will probably give you a chance to build some relationships with your co-workers.

Hold On: One Day You Will Be Doing What You Love

9 Aug

How many of you know someone who is unhappy with their job? I know a lot of people who feel this way, and because of the economy I am sure you do too. When you ask these people why they don’t like their jobs, what do they tell you? If you are asking someone from Gen Y they are probably going to tell you that they don’t like their job because they aren’t doing something they LOVE. Am I right?

Well, for those of you out there who feel that you are stuck at a boring job doing something you hate and fear that this will be your life, I am here to tell you that if you hold on, get the experience you need, and move up the career ladder you will be closer to the job of your dreams than you think.

Here is one of my favorite stories about how the job you hate doesn’t have to be your last job.

Take Emily Giffin, my favorite author (yes, I LOVE chick-lit books). Emily went to law school because she felt like she needed to get a “real” job before taking a stab at becoming a fiction writer. Does she regret going to law school? No. But she didn’t like the practice of law one bit. In fact, here is what Emily has to say: “I loathed the actual practice of law—at least the big firm culture. And I discovered that misery can be quite motivating. So very early on, I devised a plan to pay off my law school loans and then write full-time. Meanwhile, I began writing a young adult novel in my free time (and sometimes while at work!). Four years later, my loans were paid off and my book was completed. I was able to land an agent, but over the next several months, I received a dozen rejection letters from publishers. I seriously contemplated giving up and keeping my nose to the legal grindstone, but instead, I quit my job, moved to London and decided to try again. It was then and there that I began writing Something Borrowed.” Now, years later, Emily has 6 New York Times Bestselling novels, many loyal Facebook followers, and never has to step foot in a courtroom.

So, if you are stuck working at a job that you loathe, what can you do to make your time there worth while and make sure you don’t drive yourself crazy?


If you build relationships with the people in your office you won’t feel so alone. Now, I would be very careful discussing your feelings about your job with these people, because you would never want these feelings to get back to your boss. But there is no harm in being friends with your co-workers and going to lunch with them. Heck, these relationships could eventually lead to a job that you will LOVE. As my mom always told me – its not what you know, its who you know.


Remember, if you are one of those people trying to move up and on to something better, getting involved in tasks beyond your skill level will help you build your resume and enhance your skills. This could be something that you work on with someone else, or it could purely be a project to help the company as a whole run more smoothly, operate more efficiently, or strive to solve some of the problems that co-workers have been complaining about. The more you get involved in than just those tasks that make up your job description the more you will grow professionally – and that never hurts.


It is one thing to think that being something sounds cool, but it is another thing to actually experience it. Take Emily for example. She went to law school, loved it, and then ended up hating the practice of law. She never would have known that had she not ventured into legal practice out of law school. So, for those of you who think that you want to venture into a certain type of job, make sure that the job really is what you think it is. How do you do this? Get a mentor that works in the field and ask them if you can follow them for a day, two days, or a week. Being able to see what they do on a daily basis will give you some insight into whether or not you will really enjoy that job.


In the end, we all can’t be doing what we love right away. Getting to the top and getting where we want takes time and patience. So, while you are building relationships, building your skills, and making sure that your dream job is the right job for you – hold on. Eventually you will end up where you are supposed to.