16
Mar
10

On air: Do women need to better promote themselves in the workplace?

CLAY SHIRKY IS OUR GUEST TODAY AND HE’S WRITTEN THIS POST FOR YOU TO RESPOND TO…

I wrote “A Rant About Women” for several reasons, but mostly because I see my great female students go out into the world and under-promote themselves. For me, the key idea in that essay is that women should get better at “behaving like arrogant, self-aggrandizing jerks”, as I put it then.

One of the key ideas there is the idea of “behaving like”, rather than “being like”, because it isn’t actually up to us whether we come across that way. It’s up to other people.

Imagine a kind of map of arrogant behavior, ranked by time, amount, and social judgement. Now imagine someone who topped the scale on all three axes — someone who always behaves in a completely arrogant way in the eyes of everyone they interact with. We’d have no trouble labeling that person ‘arrogant’ in a pretty uncomplicated way.Similarly, anyone who behaves in ways that no one ever thinks is arrogant would be easy to label.

Between those two points though, Casper Milquetoast and John Q.
Jerk,is the entirety of the real world. And although we ascribe arrogance to people as a personal characteristic, as if it was the behavioral equivalent of being tall or having brown eyes, in fact what we mean when we call someone arrogant is that *we* are making some judgment about how much they behave that way, how much of the time.

Unlike being tall, or having brown eyes, you can’t be arrogant if you are sitting alone in your room — physical characteristics exist independent of other people’s judgment, but social ones don’t.

When you imagine a person who is self-assured and willing to speak their mind, and another person whose an egotistical contrarian, you quickly discover that they can actually be the same person simply being judged differently in different social contexts. In that rant I was very careful never to use the language of existence or essence; I always talked about behavior.

For any class of success that involves public visibility, the threshold at which other people are willing to start hating on you is very very low; I’m advocating that women steel themselves to behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks, not because that’s what they’ll be, but because that’s the negative judgment they have to be prepared to receive if their work is good and they say so.


64 Responses to “On air: Do women need to better promote themselves in the workplace?”


  1. 1 Tara Ballance, Montreal Canada
    March 16, 2010 at 14:56

    Here in Canada we call it “tall poppy syndrome”, the systemic cutting-down to size of anyone who rises above the crowd. How dare they be better than the mediocre herd!

    I absolutely get what you’re talking about, Clay. And although I’ve experienced it, being a woman and all, I know that it affects men too.

  2. 2 jens
    March 16, 2010 at 15:22

    as i said before, ultimatly your action is what counts. you can be good and proud of what you have done without being arrogant or a jerk. i have achieved a fair amount in my life, but i don’t think anybody who has ever interacted with me would label me as a jerk or arrogant. i also see no need to tune my CV, since sooner or later the truth will come out. if anything i actually might need somebody to help me write my CV in better, more conscice way to highlight my capabilities. having transitioned from science into business it is a very different kettle of fish. by the way i had three young women working in my lab and all of them are out on the path of getting higher degrees. i made sure that their work was recoginised and made them give presentations to raise their profile and give them the support to feel confident. i fundamentally believe that this is one of the most important roles a mentor can have, independent of gender.

    • 3 Angry Female Gamer
      March 16, 2010 at 15:41

      yes, but how does one carry out her actions if they never get the chance to prove themselves?

      • 4 Tara Ballance, Montreal Canada
        March 16, 2010 at 16:22

        Been there, done that, AFG.

        How did I manage to get out of the secretarial rut into a profession? Getting my MBA didn’t do it for me, even though I earned and kept a fellowship to finance my studies. Sticking up for myself and striving to compete in men’s terms didn’t do it for me, because I was also striving to compete in industries that were so-called “male oriented”.

        What did it was getting fired from my support position in the railroad, with a layoff package that included outplacement counselling. With my counsellor’s guidance and support, we identified an area of expertise (technical writing), tweaked my CV so that it honestly but unabashedly presented me as a competent and creative writer about technology, and targeted companies that were looking for the specific skill set that I could provide.

        Then I just went out with my portfolio and interviewed until I found the right job in the right company.

        Sometimes, to get ahead, you need to leave things behind. I loved working for the railroad, but they wouldn’t reward me for my loyalty by giving me new opportunities. I have no regrets about moving on.

        I hope you follow your passion to a place where you (and it) are welcomed!

  3. 5 Tholumusa Favoured Mlalazi (Zimbabwe)
    March 16, 2010 at 15:25

    It’a a man’s world and women, like childern should promote themselves twice as men do, in order to be heard.

  4. 6 Ibrahim in UK
    March 16, 2010 at 15:30

    It really depends on the company and the person hiring you.
    We have become so used to people lying and over-exaggerating in CVs and interviews that we’re all starting to build an immunity to it and it may even count against you. It is also a self-inflicted pain, since employers demand to see something that stands out from the crowd. The individual has to be loud in order to be noticed.
    In the end, I think it’s about knowing the “rules of the game” and being prepared to play them. Men have an advantage because more often than not, the rules are written by other men.

  5. 7 ML
    March 16, 2010 at 15:31

    Recent research shows that women pay a price for self-promoting, trying to negotiate for higher salary, or otherwise behaving like men:

    Research from Hannah Riles Bowles at Harvard showed that when women attempt to negotiate for higher compensation, people are less willing to work with them as compared with women who don’t negotiate — this includes both men AND women who prefer to work with women who are less “gender transgressive.” It’s counter-intuitive — we blame women for being unassertive, but are they causing more harm to themselves when they are being assertive?

    The research:
    http://www.hks.harvard.edu/news-events/publications/insight/management/hannah-riley-bowles

  6. March 16, 2010 at 15:34

    Hi WHYSers!
    Been meaning to comment on a few of these posts and have not been able to find the time – so, here’s to the time now!

    I believe that it is important that people be themselves and act like that! Unfortunately, self effacing characteristics are not very appealing, so humility often is never considered a social good even inasmuch as people say they like that quality. If acting and sounding arrogant gets you to the top of the pile, then by all means do that. What worries me though is that some of us get so caught up in the performance we forget that we are acting and start being that way. Every role has its catch. So, I do believe a fair amount of self promotion is very necessary, especially in the case of (so-called) minority groups – women, children, the disabled, non-white peoples, etc. However, balance is very importan. ‘To thine own self be true’ are wise words to live by, as well!

  7. 9 T
    March 16, 2010 at 15:51

    I’ve worked (and continue to work) in different parts of media (radio, TV, online). I’ve seen staff situations everywhere from small stations to networks in 3 countries.

    Cultural differences aside, there’s a fine line between “promotion” and ego. The most successful people all know that they have an ego. Then, they keep it in check. Otherwise, you’re only hurting yourself (whether you’re a woman or a guy).

  8. 10 Cheshire Pete
    March 16, 2010 at 15:54

    What women do need to be assertive about in the workplace, is insisting on the rate for the job.

    I am not talking about women with professional training here. I have never noticed such people having much trouble climbing the promotion ladder.
    I am talking about educated women who don’t take the professional path to a career, but who are capable of achieving much more than they do.

    Women are far too likely to take on extra responsibility for no extra pay, or to take other peoples jobs that were well paid, for an absolute pittance. For example,we see this in teaching in the UK, where university educated women have been falling over themselves to take on classroom supervisor jobs, which are identical to qualified teachers work in many respects, but pay half as much, and often replace a teacher. Same thing with ‘nurse practitioners’, who replace a doctor in many situations, but for a third of the cash.

    Most of the women I have worked with are extremely competent, and have all kinds of skills, like caring for details, that many men don’t have. However, many women are going to be earning less than men, and in lesser positions. This is because they come into the workforce after time out for children, or whatever. Whilst having great pride in their jobs, they don’t have great pride in their position in the work force. There is always something temporary about many women’s attitude to their job. A sort of ‘very enjoyable pass time, but not a life time commitment, attitude’, that prevents them going for the positions they are capable of.

    • 11 Linda from Italy
      March 16, 2010 at 17:02

      @ Cheshire Pete
      So apparently it is now compulsory for everyone, especially all those under-achieving (by your yardstick) women to dive head-first into the rat race.
      Your argument mirrors the gripes about immigrants taking “our” jobs and working for peanuts and is equally invalid.
      I find it very hard to believe the point about all these female graduates wanting to be classroom assistants rather than teachers, as for some years in the UK there have been massive incentives for people to take the post-graduate teaching qualification and in the case of people with degrees in sciences and modern languages, you even get your student loans paid off.
      So, women are good at “caring for details”, men are not – how do you know? Women have no “pride in their positions” – view their jobs as a “pastime” and no “life-time commitment” – how dare you?
      These days it is quite common for people to have more than one career in their life time, even in Japan the concept of the job-for-life “salary-man” is now long dead and the sort of flexibility the 21st century job market demands means this sort of attitude is actually a handicap.
      Then of course, apparently it is only women who are parents, men and women produce children and should have equal responsibilities, but until men are frogmarched out of the office on compulsory paternity leave, the burden will continue to fall on the women and her career prospects will not only be written off by the likes of you but she will get the blame for not being sufficiently committed.

    • 12 Bob from Portland OR
      March 16, 2010 at 17:03

      Chesire Pete I totally agree with your comments that women should be more demanding and assertive in the work place.

  9. 13 Linda from Italy
    March 16, 2010 at 16:03

    “When you imagine a person who is self-assured and willing to speaktheir mind, and another person whose an egotistical contrarian, youquickly discover that they can actually be the same person simplybeing judged differently in different social contexts.”
    Oh look everybody – it’s a wheel!!!

  10. 14 Farhaa
    March 16, 2010 at 16:21

    I am not an advocate for absolute humility or outright arrogance. I would like to blend and switch both depending on the social context.

    Two years back, during my last year of high school I applied for a paid internship provided by a business magazine – this internship was meant for college attending students ONLY
    I did write “My work is awesome “which, I sincerely thought it was! And the next day I got an email saying ‘we really think your work is great, you would be a great addition to our team and we are glad to inform that you are our youngest member!”

    Now I work at the nationals in the middle east , although my male senior editor thinks I am positively self assured – my female senior editor believes ‘I am arrogant‘!

  11. 15 Linda from Italy
    March 16, 2010 at 16:27

    If this guy is actually a US university lecturer is explains a lot about the imminent demise of that nation as a world power, heaven help his students!
    So, on the hand, this all about self-promotion which is designed to make an impression on people, so far so good, we all role-play in life and we all modulate our behaviour according to the way we expect people to react.
    On the other hand, since the reaction will ultimately depend on those other people, and believe it or not, people, and their reactions, can be unpredictable, despite what the long-discredited behaviourists would have had us believe, ultimately it isn’t up to us at all.
    This one-size-fits-all type of approach is typical of everything that’s wrong about the sort of books that tell you how to make a million, marry a superstar (of any gender), become a CEO, commune with a deity etc. etc. A few simple rules and hey presto instant success!

  12. 16 patti in cape coral
    March 16, 2010 at 16:34

    So, I guess what is being proposed is that women need to learn more self promotional skills and be more comfortable tooting their own horn, and what are normally seen as unattractive and undesirable characteristics such as arrogance and conceit can be pluses when competing with other braggarts. God, that really blows. Can’t we just have performance tests and the one with the best performance can be hired? Afterall, anybody can talk the talk, you need to walk the walk.

  13. 17 Linda from Italy
    March 16, 2010 at 16:37

    I cannot believe this sweeping generalisation that (all) women are shrinking violets and (all) men are arrogant etc. jerks. It strikes me this guy started out life with a set of prejudices then shut his eyes and ticked the right boxes to confirm those prejudices.
    So apparently, proof of success is public visibility and that involves being “hated on” (sic), and being good at your job and saying so will provoke that very reaction, just a tad simplistic I fear, the message I hear from him is: regardless how useless a man is at his job his arrogant, bullying manner will shut everyone else up and he’ll reign supreme – rubbish!

  14. March 16, 2010 at 16:45

    Being naturally self-assured, confident, exemplary, humble and polite are qualities to be admired. Both men and women need to believe in themselvesThere is no need to be arrogant at all. Putting on appearances are a total waste of time. Confidence comes with real mastery of facts. Forming an opinion is a result of assimilating facts and information and being swayed by persuasive arguments. Egoists are a bane on society and should be dissuaded from blowing their trumpets.

  15. 19 Alan in AZ
    March 16, 2010 at 16:52

    I don’t see it as a sex based situation. Unless maybe women are smarter or more realistic. I’ve seen it both ways and the one thing I’ve noticed, be it man or woman, is that the arrogant self promoters don’t last as long and their position within a company aren’t nearly as stable in their career. At my work now is a very intelligent woman who could fill any of our office positions and could make a little more as a manager, but she prefers to work a highly skilled manual job that pays almost as well, but keeps here out of the drama loop with stress only from dead lines. She goes home and forgets work entirely. For the last 18 years. Maybe she is the smarter individual with a secure, comfortably planned life.

  16. 20 steve
    March 16, 2010 at 16:52

    @ patti

    if you have performance tests, if enough of a particular group don’t pass, the test makers will try to throw out the results for everyone. Remember the Firefighter’s case, where nobody got promoted because not enough african americans passed the exam?

    • 21 patti in cape coral
      March 16, 2010 at 17:42

      @ Steve – Then performance tests would also be a good indicator for deficiencies in certain groups and how to ammeliorate them, i.e. insufficient access to education, or a certain group may not be getting access to enough job experience for whatever reason. I don’t know, I’m just very uncomfortable with the whole “advertising yourself” thing. My job just required that I type a certain amount of words per minute with less than a certain amount of errors, know enough terminology, etc. I didn’t really have to tell anyone how wonderful I am and wonder how they could ever get on without me. I guess I could if I had to.

      If there were more women doing the hiring, maybe men would need to model female behaviors more. It is kind of nice that so many wonderful characteristics are being attributed to us, but in my experience we can be just as horrible and wonderful as men, at work or anywhere else.

  17. 22 Bob from Portland OR
    March 16, 2010 at 16:58

    I like Clay Shirky’s perspective because it makes us think. But really, when women in history have acted like arrogant, “self-aggrandizing jerks”, look where it has gotten them. Re-examine the whole feminist movement, heads of state, celebrities of many varieties. How serious and pervasive in our cultures do women become.

    We see this in politics, business, government where the ranks of women have grown over time but overall are still very low as a percentage of men. I think the world is far worse off for it because women are brilliant, sensitive, emotional and good listeners. Although Clay offers a great topic for us to consider I think men can learn a lot more from women just being who they are. And women can lead and make great impacts on society by being who they truly are. Stay unified and push back against and positively effect the establishment

    Look at where self-aggrandizement has gotten men and women. No where when you really think about it. Think Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. They are truly egotistical jerks which do nothing but spread hate and fear.

  18. March 16, 2010 at 17:13

    I’m not buying this one,thanks very much.What Clay is asking,is for women to play act,which will be seen through very quickly for what it is.Self assurance is miles away from arrogance,they are not even comparable.And to pretend you are something that you are not is possible only in the very short term.If your knowledge and work are good you will shine through,whether male or female.

  19. 24 Tracy in Portland, OR
    March 16, 2010 at 17:25

    Women absolutely need to become more self promoting. Having said that not all people male or female are type A folks. If you want to achieve you will need to be a good self promoter. But be prepared to cash the checks your mouth is writting. It’s tho only way to get the opportunities for advancement. But you may not have what it takes to do the job you sold someone on giving you. So no sniveling, “man up” so to speak. True greatness does not come without risk.

  20. 25 stephen/portland
    March 16, 2010 at 17:28

    The last thing the world needs is for women to start acting like men!

    Look at Margaret Thatcher’s behavior when she was in power and of course the pointless Falkland war in which she tried to prove she could play with big toys with just as much destruction as any wee boy can.

    Ordering the sinking of the General Belgrano Argentine ship killing three hundred sailors during the conflict then using the victory to secure another term in power is something best left to us cavemen.

    I would encourage you to look up the Harry Enfield “women know your limits” sketch on you tube. Very Funny.

    • 26 jens
      March 16, 2010 at 18:17

      the pointless Falklands War? do you read the news. There was a very very important point this woman called Maggie did not miss. It is access to vaste claims of oil and access to the antarctic.

      while she certainly had her controversial points she did the right thing when asked to to the right thing. unless you have forgotten that people like Arthur Scargill thought they were the new kings of the UK. I am not a fan of her, but I certainly admire her for her abilities.

  21. 27 pendkar
    March 16, 2010 at 17:47

    Clay Shirkey’s advise is too generic to be of much use. Plus, there are pitfalls in picking off one tool from someone else’s tool kit, if it does not go with the rest of your set.

    Self-aggrandization is trick that only works in an environment where you are already well accepted.If you are required to prove yourself in an otherwise hostile environment,you can fall flat on your face trying it. Better to stick to measured self confidence.

  22. March 16, 2010 at 17:56

    Salaam gang,
    From my own personal experience as a final year medical student at Baghdad Teaching Hospital I have to say that you have to be arrogant with the male jerks if you want to survive as a young female doctor, but feminine arrogance differs greatly from musculine arrogance, a woman can still be arrogant without compromising her feminine character, there’s this term ”mixing poison with honey” that summarises the whole trick… BUT all of that should never be on the account of our principles, integrity, and conscience… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  23. 29 archibald in Oregon
    March 16, 2010 at 18:03

    It is always easy for those who have had it easier to criticize those who have not and being a male in society is still a major advantage. Women will take the reigns as soon as the world comes to terms with what a mess men have made of it, no self-promotions necessary.

  24. March 16, 2010 at 18:04

    Many successful women have self-confidence and self-esteem issues because they are in a small class of women who broke a barrier and they want to stay there. Many of them will have continued success. However, there are employers who still have issues with gender and race-and being the biggest jerk in the world won’t land you that particular job.

    Say that the ideal situation exist and you are hired based on the ‘Clay Shirky Method’. Well, you better be ready to keep up the pretense-after all you convinced them you are the one-“it’s showtime”.

    This sounds like a great idea: a woman overcoming the “get the foot in the door” obstacle by becoming an arrogant self-aggrandizing jerk… just hope the woman does’t end up being a bigger jerk than her employer.

  25. 31 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    March 16, 2010 at 18:04

    I think you’re asking the wrong question. I don’t think women need to promote themselves more, I think that civil society at large needs to abandon the artificial dichotomy it makes between men and women.

    On the occasion of International Women’s Day last week, the BBCWS reported that women do 60% of the world’s work for less than 20% of the world’s pay. In his best-selling book “Blink,” Malcolm Galdwell reports that women were excluded from major world orchestras until the applicant’s genders were concealed during auditions.

    Division of labour (and power!) went off on a paternalistic tangent a long time ago. We are correcting as we go. It will take time to regain parity. In the meantime, we shouldn’t be asking, “Should women promote themselves?” Rather, we should be asking, “How long will it take for gender equality to return—and, why are all those paternalistic men resisting it and living in the past?

  26. 32 nora
    March 16, 2010 at 18:05

    Sonali Kohatghar once begged women to call in to her radio show in Los Angeles She begged women to call in because men dominated the airwaves on call-in radio, and callers were ten to one male to female that day.

    Since WHYS is the workplace you invite us to, how do you assess the male/female guest phenom? My own assessment is that the more prepared and knowledgeable the moderator is, the less sexist it is.

    Also, technical difficulties often seem to cut in favor of the long winded, often male ‘experts’ — am I imagining this?

  27. 33 Kate M.
    March 16, 2010 at 18:08

    If a woman is assertive, confident, and aggressive then she is demonized and called things I am not sure they will let me post. If a man behaves the same way he is just assertive, confident, and aggressive. He’s a real go-getter. Maybe we should look at ways to change that perspective.
    And the comments that women only work to fill their days between having babies. Come on, really? We are not in the 1940’s anymore. Maybe I am not understanding your comments but jeez.

  28. 34 Charley in Portland, Oregon
    March 16, 2010 at 18:18

    The analysis is a little simplistic in that it generalizes that all men are more self-promoting than women. For example, I was raised to avoid the “Sin of Pride” at all costs, and my career has suffered greatly as a result. How & where can someone learn to be more self-promoting?

  29. 35 Andrew in Australia
    March 16, 2010 at 18:18

    In all the workplaces I have ever been, I have never seen the women I worked with to have any problem what so ever with self promotion!

  30. 36 Charles Lwanga-Ntale
    March 16, 2010 at 18:20

    I am surprised that an increasing number of people are trying to destroy what is most beautiful in both professional and non-professional women – calm and the sense of reason. What does the world gain in the sobre half of humankind also acquiring the bad manners of their opposites: arrogance; self-conceit; greed; etc. Just work on the men and get us back on the path of considered reason.
    – Charles Lwanga-Ntale, Kampala, Uganda

  31. 37 A.J.
    March 16, 2010 at 18:22

    Your guest Clay says men are better at promoting themselves than women and also that men are just good at promoting themselves in every sense. I am a male and I am notoriously terrible at self-promotion. He makes a ridiculous, sweeping generalization. If it is at all true, it is because of the second thing he said which was that men have less of a problem with lying, on their resumes for instance, that infuriates me. Again, a generalization and if at all true, I am aghast. I was taught not to lie. I know people DO lie to get things or to get their feet in the door, but that doesn’t make it right or acceptable. Is he saying that one must lie to get what they want in life and that if women want to be on an equal playing field they need to start stooping to the same low level as the men and lie more as well? Once this has become the norm and nothing can be gotten without a lie, we all lose, not win.

  32. 38 ben in indy
    March 16, 2010 at 18:24

    clay’s calling it like he sees it (as a man) – the difference is that if a woman said the same it would just be considered 3rd wave feminism.

    clay’s words are more 4th wave and should be seen as some pretty good advice. i say this as a man that enjoys working with smart women more than i do stupid men.

  33. 39 EchoRose in Florida
    March 16, 2010 at 18:29

    Sometimes I “play dumb” when dealing with my male co-workers and/or superiors in order to manipulate them to achieve the end result that is needed to complete a project. I look at is a form of psychological diplomacy, but I can’t help but feel sad that I can’t just matter of factly give them advice to complete something directly and be respected as a man would.

    • 40 Tracy in Portland, OR
      March 16, 2010 at 19:33

      Amen, sister. I also admit to playing dumb or mildly mentioning somthing knowing my bosses will think it was their idea and make something happen I cannot.

  34. 41 EchoRose in Florida
    March 16, 2010 at 18:33

    P.S. I do this, by the way, because most of the guys I know are old fashioned and do NOT like a woman to tell them what to do and are threatened by me if I maintain a direct posture at work.

    • 42 jens
      March 16, 2010 at 18:48

      EchoRose,

      this is a dangerouse strategy, because you run the risk of being labled dumb, by playing dumb.

      • 43 Tracy in Portland, OR
        March 16, 2010 at 19:36

        Sometimes it seems to trigger a protective nature in male bosses. And unfortunately sometimes they feel less threatened than they would by a strong willed outspoken woman. Every office situation is different. Waht works in one place will not in another.

  35. 44 AWLinNC
    March 16, 2010 at 18:38

    This “rant” seems like more pointless stereotyping. It should be turned around: men should focus more on cooperation and listening and less on self-promotion. Lots of bad ideas, designs, etc., have come from egotistical men: think Dick Cheney. Besides, Shirky’s attitude is more New York than anything else. The idea that you have to be annoying to succeed doesn’t play well if your company is in the South or Midwest – I’m sure that’s true of much of the world. Perhaps this is why New Yorkers are so widely disliked🙂

    • 45 Ann
      March 16, 2010 at 18:50

      I think that the most important thing women can do is to promote one another. I see this far t seldom on the workplace. I was the recipient of a spectacular woman who promoted me. The greatest lesson I learned from her was the importance of mentoring women as well.

  36. 46 Phyllis
    March 16, 2010 at 18:48

    Has Clay noticed a difference in women who have attended all female schools?

  37. 47 A.J.
    March 16, 2010 at 18:49

    The more he talks, the more disturbing what he says becomes. Deceit seems to be the only path to success that Clay seems able to suggest. If you can’t be disingenuous, or even be willing go to jail to get what you want, you won’t succeed.

  38. 48 Ibrahim in UK
    March 16, 2010 at 18:50

    1. It’s a bit like the prisoner’s dilemma.
    If everyone is honest, everyone wins, everyone gets their fair share of jobs.
    If one side is honest, and another side cheats, the side that cheats wins more than if they were honest (males get more jobs)
    If everyone cheats, then everyone loses. What Clay is suggesting is that men are cheating now, and that women should cheat too. Everyone becomes a self-promoting lying jerk, the companies will fail because no one can do what they were hired for, and less males and females are employed.

    Companies should “punish” the cheaters by learning and realising when someone over-exaggerates. This will in time turn all sides back into being honest.

    2. Doesn’t wider society in general consider that strength, assertiveness and cockiness are masculine characteristics while being gentle, accomodating and submissive are feminine characteristics (and not just in the workplace)
    Jobs which require masculine characteristics will on average be suited better to males than females, and vice versa.
    Work (and the rest of life) thrives with the correct balance of characteristics regardless of the gender. It’s up to the employer to recognise this and best allocate individuals to fill these roles. In the end, if the individual’s nature is not up to the job, it will grind down the individual and take a toll on the team.

  39. 49 Andrew Keating
    March 16, 2010 at 18:53

    Women have come a long way in a short amount of time, i.e. the last hundred years. I think it’s offensive to recommend that anyone act like an “arrogant, self-aggrandizing jerk”. That being said, women should be encouraged to make their voices heard in the work place, and men should be encouraged to be accepting of a woman’s input.

  40. 50 Mel in Oregon
    March 16, 2010 at 18:58

    I completely agree that women should be more assertive, yet when I am assertive, especially with men, I am refered to as a B*%$# or told I am out of control. Oddly enough the comments or direction I give is simple and direct, from the mouth of a man would be taken as common language, and seen as good direct communication.

  41. 51 John
    March 16, 2010 at 18:59

    I’ll keep this short because I’m supposed to be working, but i think we’re missing the “larger picture”. People are saying that his solution is too generalized to be relevent. I think they’ve got this backwards. Self-promotion is the same as any other kind of promotion. You are ADVERTISING yourself to a person or group who will be forced to make a choice among many. Have you ever seen a successful product that wasn’t well promoted? You can’t say that successful products are taking a masculine approach. Advertising directed towards women is some of the most aggressive on television. He’s just saying that women need to advertise themselves more effectively.

  42. 52 Erik Nordheim
    March 16, 2010 at 19:04

    It has been my experience that women that I’ve worked with have a harder time with playing favorites. I have made connections with my male coworkers that have been hugely benefitial to our small circle. My women peers have not leveraged networking to the same extent. Often specifically with concerns of fairness.

  43. March 16, 2010 at 19:15

    i am from Nepal and I find girls at my school hesitant to participate in most of the activities. they simply haven’t yet overcome the social stigma.

  44. 54 Bert
    March 16, 2010 at 19:20

    My take is this. YES, it might be true that women are called names if they are overly assertive. But you know what? So are the arrogant jerk males!!

    The difference being, males can take criticism better than women can.

  45. 55 nora
    March 16, 2010 at 19:22

    Change happens when the window is open and enough people notice. Apply Hippie Dialectics: some things never change, some things change all the time.
    I got a job once because the other job applicant (male) claimed to have read all the works of an author I had actually read, but made no big deal about. It was an editor job when almost no women were offered the opportunity. How does this fit?

  46. 56 Lee
    March 16, 2010 at 19:25

    Was just listening to the show and analyzing my own field, which is quite different from most in regards to gender. I work in a field that’s about 99% women, if not more, and is heavily reliant on self-promotion. Most of what I heard on the show (luckily) doesn’t apply to my field – we are fabulous about promoting ourselves and maybe even better at promoting each other; we don’t need to behave like jerks to get ahead, and doing so will probably knock us down. Though, one of our biggest role models (or most famous, at least) did indeed end up in jail for playing dirty.

    The flip side is that the few men working in our field almost instantly rise to a level of recognition the rest of us work years to reach, by merely being men in our field. Not by behaving like arrogant jerks – the men I know are great people – but I don’t think many would argue that they stand out among all of us women, making them need to worry less about self-promotion than the rest of us.

    I don’t know how any of this fits into the debate here, but I thought it was an interesting dynamic. I’m sure in fields dominated by men, women don’t rise to the top so effortlessly. Quite the opposite, in fact.

  47. 57 Nancy
    March 16, 2010 at 20:42

    My woman’s ‘first’ is not a job except as it’s related to motherhood, which is a job whether you’re a working mother or not. I was.

    While mothers worked with cubscouts, only men worked with the teenagers.

    My first? The Boy Scouts of America cannot go on a campout with only one adult. I was the first mother to go on the campouts with the boys so the trips wouldn’t be cancelled. I wasn’t the last. Thereafter, usually more than one mom went camping. That year, we even had a mother/son campout. Brimfield, Ohio 1987.

  48. 58 Jenni from NW
    March 16, 2010 at 21:02

    Here’s a real life experience:

    A female worker who was working in a male dominated profession. She was extremely competent but was often ignored until she figured she had to start behaving more like her male colleagues. Now, her actions only mimicked the others around her, she was only being a bit more ‘in your face’, in exactly the same way as the males. However, this did not go down well. She was branded as being too aggressive. She quickly became the butt of everyone’s jokes, you can imagine some of the name-calling that took place behind her back.

    The male ego has a lot to answer for.

    Assertiveness seems to be expected of males but it is regarded as an undesirable quality in women (in male dominated professions).

    Equality in the workplace in male dominated professions is far from equal.

  49. March 17, 2010 at 02:00

    I read the article. We have discussed this problem several times on some artist networks – why women artists are bad at promoting themselves..
    Yes, some men go to any extent to promote themselves- some create controversies too. They don’t care if these controversies create disturbances in the societies they live in. All that they want is name & fame – to increase their brand value. Unfortunately some of the successful men are not the best in the business.
    This shows they are good at self- promotion & marketing. We have recognised this way of succeeding. But how far women can go to achieve success is a big question. Because they think about their families & children first everything else is secondary to most women.
    Yes, women are bad at promoting themselves. A little aggressiveness is okay to promote themselves – but not going to any extent to do this -this is a dangerous trend and women recognise this.
    Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa

  50. 60 Subhash C Mehta
    March 17, 2010 at 07:24

    Women do need to assert and be helped, whenever and wherever, they feel denied, ignored, discriminated or exploited by men.

  51. 61 Paul Eyo.NIGERIA.CALABAR
    March 17, 2010 at 08:02

    Women deserve self promotion because there are things women do without men being capable of doing it.so give them a chance.

  52. 62 Ronald Almeida
    March 17, 2010 at 08:58

    In the office it may be a man’s world but it is usually a woman’s world in the home. The arrogant men are usually those who get their heads bitten off at home. So I suppose it balances of except for those who are trying hard to be the other. Women who feel pushed around by men in offices do need to project themselves better with double padding, shoulders back and chins up.

  53. March 17, 2010 at 10:53

    even at the work place,men and everyone else must continue understanding that women were made to be proud…..i also dont know why they stop acting naturally like themselves at the work place

  54. March 18, 2010 at 17:26

    Women needn’t work harder than men because naturally they are not supposed to work to hard.


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