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How Women Can Examine Their Language for a Leg Up at Work

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How Women Can Examine Their Language for a Leg Up at Work

In a patriarchal world, women are constantly adjusting to men’s expectations to fit into the workplace. This can stem anywhere from dressing a certain way, to using specific language when sharing their ideas or speaking in meetings. Although women have been conditioned to not step on toes in an office environment, we should examine our language to be more assertive in the office in order to climb up the corporate ladder.  

Women in the Workplace

Not too long ago, gender roles dominated work atmospheres and prevented women from securing financial stability and pursuing high-paying careers. We’ve come a long way in women’s rights and although workplaces and executive positions are still often male-dominated, women are slowly but surely beginning to occupy more C-suite and executive-level positions.

This is done through very tactful and mindful language and usually requires women to be more qualified than any male applicants. Growing up, women learn to speak tentatively in order to avoid being perceived as dominant or bossy; these would be seen as leadership qualities in men, but are considered negative traits for a woman to have. This often makes it difficult to excel in executive positions, as women are accustomed to using filters and qualifiers before sharing their ideas, which can make them seem unconfident.

Some phrases include:

  • I was just thinking that maybe...
  • I might be wrong but…
  • Somebody probably already touched on this but…

These people-pleasing phrases make it easier for people to dismiss women’s ideas and not give them the attention they deserve. Although eliminating these phrases can cause women to be seen as rude or blunt, being more direct in the workplace demands attention to the ideas being suggested and makes it difficult to ignore new propositions from any individual.

However, even as women share their ideas and achieve better positions in the workplace, they are usually paid less than their male counterparts. The wage gap is largely due to the lack of women in executive positions and STEM fields, however, even when women achieve these positions, they are offered lower salaries than men in the same position.

In order to avoid this outcome, women must negotiate compensation for executive positions. Whether for an upper management level job or a STEM field position, women must discuss compensation carefully to receive the wages they deserve. This is done by choosing the right time to talk about compensation (after a job offer has been made), and ensuring your language expresses dedication to the job and does not simply prioritize the salary.

Career Politics

As you consider applying for upper level positions, it’s important to clean up your resume and add any new experience you’ve gained since the last time you applied for a promotion. Having an updated resume prepares you for opportunities that may arise on short notice and helps to foster a mentality that is ready to open doors into new positions. As you renew your resume, make sure to include communication skills on your resume list of skills, or to highlight successful communication achievements in the workplace. This highly sought after trait may seem cliche, but the ability to communicate effectively is extremely important to potential employers.

Women take up very few positions in politics and stand out notably among the sea of male legislators. Careers in politics are especially demanding for women, as they require women to take up space in heavily male-dominated groups. In order to do so, these women must be extremely conscious of their language to avoid any qualifying statements and they must express their ideas firmly and unwaveringly as successful politicians must be strong communicators.

The hard-working and careful analyzation characteristics that women leaders possess make them excellent communicators and strong politicians. Women have a perspective in politics and corporate positions that is desperately needed for a more balanced culture in these environments. Despite the gender discrimination of the 21st century, women excel in the workplace, and adjusting your language to be more assertive can help in achieving career goals more quickly.


Spring Cleaning Your Career

Spring Cleaning Your Careeer

Spring Cleaning Your Career

Something about blooming flowers, warmer weather and spring showers makes people want to clean up other aspects of their lives in preparation for the rest of the year. While spring cleaning is generally done at home and occasionally in the workplace, it’s also an important thing to do for more abstract areas of your life, such as your career. Taking time to reflect on your achievements and to consider what else you hope to accomplish in your career is an important part of job and life satisfaction, which is why spring is a great time to clean up your career.

Renew Your Resume

Resumes need cleaning up. Even if you aren’t looking for a new job, it’s a good idea to look at your resume each year and see if it needs updating. You may have received a promotion or received a reward since you last looked at your resume, which means there are new additions to include for your resume to be up to date. Keeping an updated resume will keep you from having to make massive changes if you find yourself looking for a job on short notice, and is also good to have if you receive a new unforeseen opportunity.

Analyze Your Career Goals

It’s easy to get so caught up in our immediate job that we forget what our long-term career goals are. Think about your current job: was it meant to be permanent or a stepping stone into a new career path? Are your daily tasks and responsibilities fulfilling what you are looking to accomplish in your career? If the answer to these questions doesn’t align with your goals, think about what you would rather be doing and how you could get there. Look for positions online and talk to friends you know who are working in those positions — they may have valuable advice.

Organize Your Work Process

There’s nothing like a clean, organized office to make you feel like the powerful business woman you truly are. Organizing your office, as well as your work processes, will lead you to reap the benefits of organizational change. Whether you run your business from home or simply work remotely, make sure you are running at full efficiency by incorporating any new technology that could streamline your work processes. If you have any business goals that are not being met, organizational change could finesse your workflow and create the adjustments needed to make sure your work is at its best.

Reorganize Your Space

While you’re getting rid of the clutter, take time to do some small but dramatic redecorating to maximize your remote working space. Clear windows to allow as much natural light into your office as possible; sunlight creates a bright and energetic atmosphere and awakens any room. Make sure your desk is positioned in a way that centers you in the room and works well with the direction of the light so that it’s comfortable for you. Organize your most precious office belongings in a way that highlights them, allows them to inspire you and serve as a reflection of you, your creativity,  and the work you produce.

Spring is a great time to deep clean the physical aspects of your life that are difficult to keep super tidy throughout the year, but it’s also an excellent time to reassess the direction of your life and what lies ahead of you. We all need to touch base with our lives and career goals, and give thoughtful consideration to what we’re still hoping to accomplish and what we need to do to get there. Dedicate some time this spring to prioritizing what you want out of your career and to take the necessary steps to get there.



Five Tips to Set Yourself Apart During the Job Hunt

Five Tips to Set Yourself Apart During the Job Hunt
By Holly Caplan

Statistics showed that in 2017 34.6% of women graduated with a 4-year degree vs. 33.7% of men. This gap has been narrowing for years, and women finally surpassed men for the first time in 2014.
More women are making their mark and creating their trajectory for their futures. I’m proud of us! What this also means is that there will be more women entering this fresh new phase of their lives called a career. As a graduating female pursuing your career, you will find yourself receiving solicited and unsolicited interview advice from friends and family. Regardless of all of the wonderful advice you will hear about resume content, what to wear, and interview questions, there are other components of interviewing that can set you apart:
Holly Caplan pic1.   Use Your Network: Let's face it - the Internet is our way of life. We rely on it to shop, work, travel, check the weather and yes, find a job. Everyone uses it, especially when looking for a job. Our first instinct is to go the computer and search popular websites like LinkedIn, Monster, and Ladders. I get it. I’ve done it. These websites provide quick access to available jobs, salaries and requirements. Excellent for visibility to what is out there for you.
But, upon attaching your resume and clicking the submit button there is a risk. You risk getting lost in the shuffle of the hundreds or thousands of other candidates or perhaps going into sheer cyberspace. So, instead of going into cyberspace, or not having your resume reviewed at all, get creative and do something different – network. Network with other people, but without the computer. This is not rocket science I know, but people have gotten away from using themselves as their own best resource. The upside is that fundamentally people like to help people, especially when they are young, diligent and excited about pursuing their careers.
Person to person networking will help you gain momentum in your job search in a flash. Sound overwhelming? Keep it simple. Make a list of 10 people you know who have careers you admire and then, wait for it… CALL them. Email is great too, but emails are commonplace and can be easily ignored. So do something different. When you get them on the phone, let them know you are in the market and looking for the first springboard job into your career. Ask if there is someone at their place of work you could speak with or is there someone else they would recommend.  This may feel a little awkward at first, but these chances have to be taken to widen the possibilities of new employment. Even if the person on the other end of the line doesn’t know of an immediate position they may know someone else at another company who does.   
2.   Write a “Thank You” note: The value of a thank you is so overlooked these days. As simple as this seems, people, in general, are so fast-paced now they don’t take an extra moment to thank someone. In your interview process, after meeting with someone, instead of logging onto email to send a thank you message like everyone else, take a moment and hand-write it.  Again, this is an area where email is predictable. Everyone expects an emailed thank you message nowadays, so writing a personal note will differentiate you from the rest.  And, don’t save the thank you notes just for those you have interviewed with, write them to people who have helped you in the process.  Hiring managers and potential colleagues will appreciate that you took the time to think about your interaction with them. They will always remember you as the person that went the extra mile.
3.   Clean up Social Media: Potential employers will look you up on Facebook and Instagram just to see what you are portraying to the rest universe. Previous to graduation, look at all of your social media outlets and clean it up before you begin to interview. Cleaning up means removing any risqué photos, foul language, or anything else that would make a potential employer pause. Even if you have your social media on a private setting, all it takes is someone who is connected with you and a quick screenshot to transmit what you really don’t want others to see.
4.   Make them Remember YOU: In this crazy interview environment of competition, process and stress, give yourself a signature statement that will make you stand out. Wear a bright orange shirt with your interview suit, or wear unique glasses to each interview. Employers will remember you and associate you with the signature item. This is also a chance to show your personality, thoughtfulness and creativity. Regardless of your market, a hiring company will appreciate that you want to leave your mark.

5.  Be Consistent: While making the interviewing rounds you will most likely be seated in front of other employees for additional interviews in the office. The purpose of this is for everyone to get a beat on you to see if you are right for the team. This is completely normal. During these additional meetings, be consistent with your content and character with everyone. I know this may sound elementary, but this is important because these same people will compare notes on you. Simple rules are present, don’t get pulled away by your phone, don’t discuss your personal life. Displaying professional etiquette and respect for those around you will go a long way.
This is your time to shine and show off all of the wonderful reasons an employer should hire you. Be authentic, thoughtful, professional and prepared and you will succeed. And most of all, remember how special you are. After all, you are history makers.
Holly Caplan is a workplace issues expert, award-winning manager and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl's Guide to Surviving the Male Dominated Corporate World. For more information, please visit, www.hollycaplan.com and connect with her on Twitter, @hollymcaplan.

Tips for Balancing Work and Family

Tips for Balancing Work & Family

tips for balancing work familyThe business moguls of today are often hard working mothers as well (pause for applause!). Women in the workforce are not only tasked with their own success, but ensuring the success of their family. However, it goes without saying that trying to balance work and family can become tricky and overwhelming.

In 2018, with one in three Americans working, maintaining a healthy work-life balance seems nearly impossible. It only becomes more complicated if you’re trying to raise a family alongside your career. However, there are some viable solutions these days that can lead to a more productive, more desirable schedule which will keep your boss, your family, and you happy.

Recipe for Success

Intuit fittingly deems women who embrace both roles of motherhood and entrepreneurship as, “mompreneurs.” The title seems perfectly appropriate considering mothers are often tasked with marrying their responsibilities of work and motherhood together while still trying to keep their sanity. Having an appropriate work-life balance makes this challenge possible and can lead to more overall successes with both work and family.

So what is this secret recipe for success? A good place to start is with organization. Thanks to the digital age we now found ourselves in, staying organized is a lot easier and can lead to better communication between you and your boss. Think: Google Calendar, the Cloud, Quickbooks, and even Excel. Keeping your schedule, work, and important information organized will save you time and future headaches. It’s also crucial to set up boundaries with your spouse, coworkers, boss, and kids.

Making an effort to separate work and family will help you stay focused and present instead of constantly worrying about work while at home, and vice versa. Leaving work at work will give you more freedom to enjoy those moments with your family, and if your boss consistently oversteps your clearly drawn boundaries, it’d be worth sitting down and explaining that, while you value your position at the company, you also value time with your family. It’s also worth mentioning that if you are the boss, it’s just as important to set those work-life boundaries with yourself. Making important memories with your family is irreplaceable, and ultimately work can wait, trust me. 

Finding a Flexible Schedule

Finding a company that will allow you to work remotely can help you better utilize your time and create more opportunities to create a great work-life balance. However, while remote work can be convenient, it requires a lot of self-discipline and time management skills. As the experts at Fiscal Tiger explain, “if you are hired on as a remote worker, it’s a smart idea to refine your tasks within your working hours even further. You won’t have a boss right next to you telling you exactly what to do and when you should do it, and they shouldn’t have to. Set yourself up with a daily schedule and break it down by tasks.”

The distraction of kids, chores, and your partner could be detrimental to your workflow and put you further behind than if you’d gone into the office. Still, seeking remote work opportunities can be ideal for mothers who can’t always commute to work each day. As such it’d be worth, if you’re considering remote work, designating an area in home that is predominantly off limits to members of your family. Setting those boundaries are crucial in office and at home.

Most importantly for all the working mothers, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Despite what you tell yourself, you don’t have to do everything, perfectly, all on your own. Lean on mentors, therapists, and even support groups if you need to, as they can help you maintain the important work-life balance necessary for a happy life. Accepting help is not admitting defeat; rather, it allows your mental and physical health to remain intact while you respectfully hustle through life. Good luck!

Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.

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