Archive for the ‘role models’ Category

Working Girl Craves…Crave!

Monday, July 27th, 2009

How does a woman overcome defeat? 

Get an answer, and more, in this fun interview with Carly from the Crave Crush blog.

Working Girl Times Three!

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Guess what?  Working Girl is not the only working girl out there.  Nope, WGs are everywhere (yay for us) and two of them write a fabuloso blog called, drumroll please, “Working Girl.”  Is that cool or what?  It’s the joint effort of  “Working Girl One” and “Working Girl Two.” 

WG1 lives in NYC.  WG2 lives in Chicago.  Together they create an engaging and funny and real snapshot of the working girl life.  You just might recognize yourself there…..

But before you click over, read our Q&A.

When did you first realize you were “working girls”?

WG1: To reward myself for scoring an interview at a popular women’s magazine, I purchased a new interview outfit: a grey pencil skirt and crisp white oxford shirt. I felt like Andi Anderson working at Composure Magazine in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” Even though I technically wasn’t working yet, that’s when I first felt like a “working girl.”

WG2: I don’t think I really associated myself with the working world until I got my first internship. Instead of jobs I had had before, such as being a librarian’s assistant, being a camp counselor, and working in a restaurant, this to me was a real job since I would be working in a “real” office. And I distinctly remember riding the subway to my first day of work in NYC and felt like I had made it and definitely felt like that was my “working girl” realization moment.

What do you love about your work?

WG1: I find myself stressed out with nearly every big event I work on and I always wonder to myself, why did I ever want to work on events? But once the event is over and everything worked out, I feel such a high that makes it worth it.

WG2: I have to agree with WG1 on this one. I also work in events and there is nothing better than the feeling after you completed a really great event/meeting. It is like being on top of the world.

What do you not love about your work?

WG1: The fact that I spend more time sitting at my desk with my co-workers than with my boyfriend, friends and family kills me.

WG2: Data entry. It makes my blood boil. Thankfully I don’t have to do it that often.

If you could have any jobs in the whole wide world, what would they be?

WG1: I’m obsessed with The Food Network so if I could do anything, I’d love to work in the Food Network Test Kitchens. My cooking skills would have to seriously improve but a job that requires me to cook all day, every day would be great practice.

WG2: My dream job ever since I was a little girl was to be a writer and more recently it was to go back to journalism school so I could work my way back into the magazine world. Hands down, I would love to be editor-in-chief of a magazine.

What are your favorite outfits to wear to work?  And, why?

WG1: I’d wear a dress every single day if I had enough dresses. Dresses are so easy, I don’t need to worry about matching pants or a skirt with a shirt and sweater and accessories.

WG2: I am a big believer in that a powerful outfit can do wonders for your workday – it makes me feel more accomplished just by looking better. That said, I have a hard time getting up in the mornings and even if I get up late and wear my favorite outfit, I don’t feel like I could take on the world unless I curl or straighten my hair. So any good hair day is my favorite outfit (or accessory I guess haha).

In your opinion, who is/was the worst TV working girl?  And, why?

WG1: The girls of “The Hills.” From day one Lauren and Heidi made mistake after mistake at their internships and jobs. Lauren allowing her friends to crash her work event and Heidi ditching a business trip to be with her boyfriend. I had to stop watching the show because it was hard to watch them get away with their behavior.

WG2: Ha. I’m gonna have to go with Jan Levinson – Michael Scott’s supervisor on The Office. Sure she adds flavor to the show, but she totally deserved to get fired from Dunder Mifflin since she committed some big Working Girl no-no’s like getting drunk on the job and having a fling with a subordinate.

If you didn’t have to work, would you?  (Be honest!)

WG1: Oh so many things I would get to do! Travel. Learn French. Go to culinary school. Write a book. I could go on and on and on and on. 

WG2: Sometimes I think how great it would be to just quit my job if only I could win the lottery. But I know I would get bored! I think in a perfect world, I would still work but have shorter hours and more vacation time so I had more freedom to do things after and before work – like go to the gym, see a movie, and hang out with my friends and family.

If you could give a *new* working girl just one piece of advice, what would it be?

WG1: Remember that you have to start somewhere and that somewhere is usually the bottom. It might not be fun but use it to your advantage and learn as much as you can about your industry or company. It’ll pay off.

WG2: My piece of advice would to be absorb. The great thing about having an entry-level job is all the people you come in contact with because you have the ability to assist multiple people on multiple projects (especially at small companies) so you can learn a lot really quickly.

Why Women Don't Rule…

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

(…as a rule.)

David Brooks’s column over at the NYT today describes a successful CEO.  He is:

  • attentive to detail
  • persistent
  • thorough
  • analytical
  • organized
  • dependable
  • resolute
  • unidimensional

Here is what successful CEOs are not:

  • good listeners
  • good teambuilders
  • warm
  • flexible
  • empathetic
  • sensitive
  • agreeable
  • well-rounded

Brooks doesn’t say, it’s not the point of his essay at all, but this might be a pretty good explanation for why business leaders are almost all male. 


Chic Chick Of The Week

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Working Girl has been named “Chic of the Week” over at Chic Entrepreneur

Cool!  (Or, as they say in France, “Chic!”)*

Chic Entrepreneur is the brainchild of Elizabeth Gordon; read all about her here.  She is one chic chick!  And while you’re at it, buy her book, “The Chic Entrepreneur: Put Your Business in Higher Heels.”  It’s on Working Girl’s nightstand at this very moment!

*Yes, “chic” really is an expression in French meaning “terrific.”   It’s also an adjective, of course, meaning…um, “chic.”   Those are your new facts for the day.  You can go to bed now!

Sometimes You Need An Expert

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Working Girl is a do-it-yourselfer.  She believes in painting your own walls, organizing your own closets, and writing your own resume.  But yesterday she learned what a few words from an expert can do. 

Enter: Dianne Cumberland, certified personal trainer!  

Working Girl recently won a free session with Dianne (amazing, WG never wins anything) and met with her yesterday for two wonderful hours.  Dianne gave her a taste of what it’s like to work out with a professional at your side.  And, yes, this morning WG is so sore she can barely move, but it was serious fun.

Dianne is all about the weight training.  WG has tried lifting weights in the past but got injured.  (With 3-pound dumbbells.  Sad.)   But during the session Dianne would often say things like, “Move your arms forward” or “Your back should be flat.”

Those tiny tweaks made all the difference.  And it occurred to Working Girl, as she lay in bed this morning contemplating her newly firm, sore-but-not-injured bod, how expert advice can lead to a huge breakthrough.

Are you striving to do something?  Pass a test, get a job, earn a promotion?  These are ultimately things only you can do.  BUT if you find yourself stuck, try seeking input from an expert.  You can hire one, of course, but also consider checking in with your mentors.  (You do have mentors, don’t you?  If not, see this post for why you should have mentors–that’s mentor with an ‘s’–and this post for how to get some.)

And if you’re in the market for ace personal training (and you live in the Seattle area), check out Dianne’s business, Personal Training Team, Inc.  She can do an assessment of where you’re at (including nutritionally) and then designs a program just for you.  It’s private, low-key, and nonthreatening.  Also: fun!

Wanna Be A CEO?

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

It’s the 21st century, right?  We’ve got a 21st century president and, we hope soon, a 21st century government and country.

Which makes it even weirder that, while women make up roughly half of the workforce, only 12 of the Fortune 500 companies are run by women.  For the top 1000 companies, this number is 24 (down from 25 in 2007).

Working Girl is not the only one who think these numbers are dismal.  Which is why the Forté Foundation was started in 200.  Forté is a consortium of big companies and top business schools working to get more women into MBA programs and thus into the top-management career track.

Recently Forté launched a Career Lab Virtual Campus, an online community especially for undergraduate women aiming for careers in business.  The Virtual Campus has video and podcast interviews with top businesswomen, and gives a lot of practical advice on stuff like how to write a great résumé and conduct a winning interview.  Plus there’s a discussion forum and new features being added all the time.

So if you wanna be the boss someday (and doesn’t that sound like a blast?) click on over to Forté and see if there’s anything there for you.

Playing Like A Girl

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

In this radio interview about Sarah Palin the other day, James Muller, professor of political science at the U. of Alaska, was asked if Joe Biden should plan to take it easy on Sarah during their debates.  He answered (in essence–not a direct quote), “Biden shouldn’t hold back, Sarah likes to get in there and fight with the boys.”

So.  No worries for Sarah.  But maybe you’re not crazy about wading knee-deep through testoserone in the workplace?  

You may not have a choice. 

Women who reach the tops of their fields very often find themselves the only woman in the room.  Plus plenty of professions are still heavily male-centric at all levels.  Either way, at work you as a woman need to find a way to deal with men, or you are chopped moose.

How?  Let’s see, what has Sarah done?  Well, her hobbies are hunting caribou and shooting wolves from planes and helicopters.  Does this tell you anything?

What it tells Working Girl is that one effective way for a woman to succeed in a man’s world is to be, in some sense, like a man. 

No, she’s not recommending you make the slaughter of small, or large, animals your new hobby.  What she’s saying is that in a man’s world it can be enormously useful to know which buttons to push and when.  Men have general rules for behavior.  As women we need to know and–when it suits our purposes–play by men’s rules.

For example:  Men respect facts over feelings.  Men are results-oriented (they don’t care how you get there, only that you get there).

Most of all, men don’t mind conflict.  If they make a suggestion and it’s ignored, they don’t complain no one is listening to them.  They make the suggestion again.  They fight.  They argue. 

Is this what Sarah does?  Maybe.  It is true she has achieved remarkable success in a very short period of time.  And that success has been in a man’s world.  She did it, in WG’s HO, by adopting male behavior.  (Or maybe it just came naturally to her–after all, she’s been “Sarah Barracuda” for a long time.) 

The question for the rest of us is what form our adaptation will take.  Working Girl does not believe women need to turn into men to succeed in a man’s world.  Play their game when you have to.  Play it your way.  But play to win. 

Do Women Make Good Leaders?

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

US World and News ReportsNow that we have a woman running for high office (if you don’t know who, then we’re all really worried about you), it’s time to consider leadership and women.

Are we good leaders?  Terrible?  The best?  The worst?  Are we, maybe, better than men? 

These thoughts considered over at WG’s weekly post at U.S. News & World Report.

A Woman's Right To Choose

Monday, September 8th, 2008

The blogosphere and MSM continue to fret about Sarah Palin’s (mother of five!  one of them a babe!) choice to run for V.P. of the U.S.

And who are the people most criticizing her?  You got it–it’s other women.  It’s her fellow females, the people you’d think would be saying “You go, girl,” who are questioning her judgment, her priorities, and her sanity.

The reason is pretty clear, in Working Girl’s HO.  Women feel that Sarah’s choice threatens, belittles, or otherwise throws into a bad light their choices.  Because, let’s face it.  Many women say “No thanks” to the corner office, the 12-hour days, and the fancy titles in favor of more flexibility and more time.  More LIFE. 

These dissenting women don’t question whether a woman is capable of such a big job.  They ask, “Why does she even want to try?”  Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of “Womenomics: The Workplace Revolution That Will Change Your Life”* said as much in the Wall St. Journal a few days ago.  Their premise is that more and more women are “fed up with 50- and 60-hour weeks” and are “looking for jobs that demand fewer and freer hours.”

They cite numbers:

  • In 1992 57% of women with college degrees wanted more responsibility at work; in 2002 only 35% wanted this.
  • Four out of five women consider “flexibility” to be a top priority at work.
  • Sixty percent of women want to work part time.

That makes Sarah Palin, with her outsize and “unfeminine” ambition, a threat.  Not to men.  But to women.

WG’s opinion?  Chill.  Allow Sarah Palin her right to choose.  If you want Sarah as a role model, have at it.  The rest of us?  We’re free to exercise our right to choose a different path.  

Assuming we have the luxury of doing so–more than 70% of women with children under the age of 18 have jobs (for women with children under the age of 3 the number is 57%). 

*Not out till next spring.

Should Sarah Palin Have A Career?

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

In other words, how dare a woman with five children, one who is an infant and only one of whom has left the nest, think for even five minutes of taking on a big job like Vice President of the United States?

There’s been a lot of talk already about this newest skirmish in the Mommy Wars.  Who’s going to take care of the children?  Doesn’t this make Sarah Palin a bad mother?  What about “family values“?  Will she be able to concentrate on her work?  And if she fails, wouldn’t this reflect poorly on all working mothers?

Working Girl, who has never had children and is probably not qualified to have an opinion, much less share it, weighs in.  (Everyone else is).   Here goes:  If Sarah Palin thinks she can do it, and her family is on board with it, then It’s Her Business.

Heck.  Wasn’t the feminist revolution all about equality of opportunity for women, in the workforce and beyond?

Don’t worry about Sarah.  Unlike most working mothers of five, she would have scads of help and resources.  A U.S. vice president earns $221,200 a year.  She’d be living at the fully staffed Number One Observatory Circle.  And isn’t Todd all set to do the Mr. Mom thing?

This is key: Someone other than Sarah would, to a large degree, raise those children.  And Sarah would, to whatever degree, be disengaged from them.  (Because WG sez, you can have it all—you just can’t have it all at the same time.)

Nothing new here.  The ruling class* has been rearing children this way since pretty much always.  Would the children suffer?  Maybe.  But maybe they’d suffer if she were a 100% fulltime stay-at-home mom, too.  No matter what your life situation, there’s a downside.

*You don’t think of hockey-mom Sarah in the same breath with the term “ruling class”?  Think again, duckie.  People who aim for high office are not like you and WG.  They may claim to be “jes’ folks,” they may manage to project a persona of someone you’d like to have a beer with (some voters seem to desire this quality in a leader), but a man or woman running for president, or vice president, is all about the power.  And is ready to accept whatever that entails.

P.S.  No, WG isn’t voting for the McCain-Palin ticket.  Nope.  But she does think that if Palin chooses to be a working mother, then let her.