Ladies, let’s discuss The Confidence Code. There’s the book, of course, and a lengthy excerpt appeared in The Atlantic a few weeks ago now. (Full disclosure: I have not yet had a chance to read the book yet, and suspect I won’t for a while. But the article is chock full of things to discuss — particularly among overachieving chicks like us.) Some questions at the start: Would you generally call yourself confident, or not? Do you consider yourself competent, particularly compared to your male coworkers or classmates? Have you found that your personal assessment has changed through the years (perhaps as you got farther away from school)? And here’s the important one: what changes have you made in yourself to address these challenges? What changes have you seen friends or coworkers make? (A flip side to the question: can you describe your most confident female friend or coworker? How can you be more like her?) (Stay tuned tomorrow when we have a more specific discussion about imposter syndrome — let’s try to keep the discussion today focused on confidence.) We’ve had some other great discussions before about Lean In, as well as our own Corporette take on where you think you’ll be in five years or ten years (inspired by a NYT article following up with women lawyers from 10 years ago) — I also think this book ties in a bit with Harvard Business School’s recent drastic efforts for gender equity.
How to decide when you are at a career crossroads, if a great opportunity comes up, but it might close doors. (My best friend just got a great offer to run a $50MM business, but it’s an area that peripheral to her primary area of expertise, solar/wind, so she’s worried about LT ramifications, even though she’d expand her skillset.) What factors are important when you are opening one door and closing another?
Great question, Reader A. We’ve talked about pros and cons to changing careers, how to change careers, and how to use LinkedIn to secretly investigate a new career — but we haven’t talked about closing career doors by taking a specialized job. I’m really excited to hear what the readers have to say about this one, since obviously I’ve taken a career path (media law to fashion blogging) that has diverted me, a bit, from my original career path.
Here’s my $.02: I don’t actually think doors are closed, even if you leave the career entirely. [Read more...]
Do you find it “empowering” to dress how you want? Do you think confidence gained by clothes is 100% of the answer for work — i.e., if it makes you feel confident, you can wear it to work? There was an interesting discussion here — years ago now! — that I just took another look at, and thought would be a great jumping off point for discussion today.
I recently saw someone comment on an old post that another commenter’s words had stayed with her through the past few years, so I took a closer look at the discussion. The post was on patent leather heels — a reader wrote in wondering if they were appropriate; my counsel at the time was to be wary and avoid “eau de hooker,” as I so delicately called it, but that by and large patent leather heels were just fine for most jobs. The real fun started in the commenting section, when another blogger named Samantha wrote in to disagree with me: [Read more...]
The NYT recently looked up some of the women profiled in a 2001 article, “Great Expectations” — in the original article, it interviewed new female associates at BigLaw firm Debevoise & Plimpton and asked,
Do the new female associates expect to see themselves making partner in greater numbers than their predecessors? Here, 17 of them scroll forward on their Palm Pilots and try to predict, while 4 veterans look back on what it took and speculate about the former colleagues who followed a different path.
The more recent article/documentary, “Great Expectations for Female Lawyers,” looked up several of the women profiled and found that many had not accomplished their original goals, many pondering whether the gender gap had an impact on them.
I was recently asked to relocate offices (I work at a mid-sized law firm). The relocation would be something of a promotion based on the work I’d get to do and the people I’d get to work with. I was asked because the other office is very busy and has more work than capacity at the moment. If I were single, I’d probably say yes. Or least strongly consider it. But I’m engaged to a wonderful man who is not enthusiastic about the idea of uprooting his life and his career to follow me to a smaller city with less opportunity for him. My question is, how do you turn down an offer for relocation without appearing to be uncommitted to your job? I want to signal that I love my job and appreciate the opportunity, but that it’s not the right time or circumstances for me.
I had a similar situation come up when I started dating my husband — a company I would have loved to work for started heavily recruiting me, even offering to train me in an area I was eager to get into. The catch: it was all the way across the country. I’ve always endeavored to stay in the same time zone as my family, but with the addition of this new guy I’d started dating (only two months in at that point!) it was an easy decision: I turned it down outright. At the time I felt like a bad feminist, a bad overachieving chick, a bad…everything, but I have no regrets. (Of course, hindsight is 20/20.) Along similar lines, I know that my father turned down fairly major career opportunities when my brother and I were in high school because it would have meant uprooting the family to a foreign country. [Read more...]
Careers and personalities are always a fun topic, and a TON of of different things exist out there to help you pick which career might work best for you. A friend just told me about the StrengthsFinder and of course there are books like What Color is Your Parachute (updated yearly, apparently!), and I know I’ve taken interminably long quizzes that have told me (much to my dismay) that being a lawyer is a great career for me. (Wasn’t there a similar episode of Friends where Chandler finds out he’s a great fit for the job he’s hated all those years?) So I thought it might be fun to have a conversation about it. For those of you happy in your careers — what is the specific mix of personality trait and career characteristic that is a great fit for you? For those of you who’ve been unhappy in your careers, what was/is the mix of personality trait and career characteristic that grated the most? Does anyone swear by a book or test that helped you find your path? For those of you who have been in one career for a while, but hated one job and loved another, what were the job-specific traits that hurt or helped your fit for the job?
For my own $.02, I would say: [Read more...]