Great Articles for Working Women

great articles for working womenWhat are your favorite articles for working women? What has stayed with you, or shaped the way you think about your career? I always wish that I read more books, but if we’re being honest it’s mostly articles that stay with me. We round up some relevant ones every week and have had a big discussion here or there, but I don’t think we’ve ever rounded up a good list of some great articles that all working women should read. (We did have a very similar discussion over at CorporetteMoms last week about great articles for working mothers — there is some overlap but not a ton.)

These are the ones that I think about regularly from the past — what has stayed with you guys?

Helpful Career Advice Articles for Women I Think About All The Time:

  • I liked this article from the WSJ about image consultants for executives, both men and women. If you’re a young woman asking yourself (or beating yourself up) about why you’re just not as smooth and polished as your bosses, this is a great read (and it’s great to know that the option exists).
  • Working Mother had a great article delineating the differences between common programs companies institute to help women advance — a great way to educate yourself if you want to advocate for such a program at your company. The list includes mentoring, career counseling, sponsorship, affinity groups, leadership training, executive coaching, high potential lists, and job rotation.
  • Another great article from Working Mother advised young women to be in the “business of business” if you want to get ahead — i.e., be in a P&L role, not in marketing or human resources or the like.
  • I read a great profile on Sheryl Sandberg from Ken Auletta in The New Yorker — nowadays her book Lean In is legendary, and her original TED talk is a great place to start if you haven’t seen it. Her Makers video about how she leaves work at 5:30 every day is also kind of a classic. (We talked about the piece of advice “don’t leave until you leave” here.)
  • If leaning in is too much, here are two great articles I think about: One successful woman advised people to recline, while a Harvard professor shared some thoughts about how she balanced her life with two young kids during her seven-year tenure track postdoc.
  • Old article, but helpful if you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a founder of a startup: The founder of Y-Combinator (whose background is a BA in English!) shared her thoughts about what holds women founders back.

Depressing Career Articles for Women I Think About All the Time:

  • Seriously, everyone needs to read this article: The NYT reported on a gender equity study that found that special steps were needed at Harvard Business School (!!!) in 2011 (!!!) to level the playing field for women. I kind of think it goes hand in hand with the other recent NYT article on Great Expectations, following up with female lawyers from Debevoise who they had interviewed first in 2001 — so many of the women had originally said they could get ahead if they chose to — and women later said, no, it was harder than they’d thought.
  • The Atlantic has a depressing but fascinating look at the work/life juggle from Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former director of policy planning for the State Department — with the sobering realization that sometimes the older years are the most complicated time of juggle.
  • The Atlantic’s excerpt of the Confidence Gap is a good one. (We discussed it here.)
  • Wow, this controversial post from Penelope Trunk stirred up so much…  controversy … back in 2011, so do please put your “I’m not going to take this too seriously” hat on before clicking, but: She has some interesting thoughts about how women can advance their careers by things like getting plastic surgery. Along similar lines: The original advice from Princeton Mom to find a husband before you graduate school. (I also still remember her advice to single New Yorkers).
  • I remember a ton of random, revealing comments from men in response to various articles on working women, none of which I can find now — for example, there was one we had here from a male partner who advised summer associates to choose whether they wanted to be A or B: the summer you wanted to have an affair with, or the summer you wanted to work with (because in his mind there was no overlap between the two). It’s hard to collect them, but this article from Vivia Chen at The Careerist sums up a lot of the general idea. She had sneered at a suggestion that men didn’t want to mentor younger women because the fear of sexual impropriety was too great — and then heard from many men that yeah, that was exactly correct.
  • Along those lines: Wired looked at the gender gap in tech, with some truly ugly stories from female founders about some “expectations” investors had. Joy.
  • Above the Law has had some doozies over the years: Duke Law School’s guide to dressing professionally, Clifford Chance’s guide to dressing professionally (“Don’t talk like Marilyn Monroe”)… so many good ones. Oh, and this post about one judge who reprimanded lawyers for showing elbow. Scandalous!
  • Finally: These NYT articles on the Opt-Out Revolution (women dropping out of the workplace to be with their kids) and their followup in 2013 were fascinating.

Work Fashion Posts I Think About All The Time:

  • I think about this article all the time and have even mentioned it to numerous reporters: This great WSJ piece looks at the women actually purchasing runway clothing, priced five figures and up — including a 26-year-old public defender who wore Balmain to court.
  • USA Today had a great article on business casual (which was the basis for our post on what not to wear to work).
  • Excellent post on Jezebel from a young woman who was tired of hearing people tell her to not “dress up” for work all the time.
  • A woman alleged that Citibank fired her for dressing suggestively; The Village Voice had a whole photo shoot asking, “Is This Woman Too Hot to be a Banker?”
  • Great flow chart from Buzzfeed — still helpful years later! — that asks the important question: Am I wearing pants?
  • Two related articles that I think about all the time: Angie at You Look Fab‘s article on why she prefers an almost all-black outfit to an all-black outfit, and Sally at Already Pretty‘s post on wearing black with intention. (As a New Yorker for most of my adult life I must admit, I’m still A-OK with throwing on an all-black outfit, but that’s me.)

Funny Posts for Working Women I Think About Often:

  • I mentioned the am-I-wearing pants flowchart from Buzzfeed above, but this comic on bitchface is also pretty great.
  • Also from Buzzfeed: 26 things Hilary Clinton thinks about you.
  • Time magazine looked at some hilarious stock photos of working women.
  • Finally: This video is funny enough that I think of it often, but as I’ve mentioned before I find it frustrating: Bitch in Business, by Columbia B-School Follies.

Meanwhile, I almost can’t choose a singular article, but you have to check out the work of Hanna Roisin and Jessica Grose, both of whom write often on women’s issues.

Ladies, what are your thoughts on your favorite articles for working women (helpful, depressing, funny, whatever) that you’ve read over the years? Which ones have stayed with you; which ones have caused you to change something about yourself (be it your thinking, dress, whatever)? (If anyone has any Corporette posts — or comments — that have stuck with you I would LOVE to hear which.)

Pictured at top: September 1943 Woman’s Day Magazine, originally uploaded to Flickr by clotho98. Social media photo credit: Pixabay.

great articles for working women -- from Corporette


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  1. Wildkitten :

    I save to Evernote articles I think I might want to reference later in my life.

  2. Anonymous :

    I just saw the article on this site’s FB acct, about not doing professional favors for someone you’ve met less than 90 days ago. I’m connecting it to a more personal realm–a guy I met in 1989, then saw again a few years later. Both times, we were both really energized by each other, talked about a wide range of topics, and had a one-night stand. The first time, we wrote to each other for several months afterwards. We never went anywhere with it, because he was married the first time; the second time, he was divorced and I was married. We have lived far, far away from each other all these years, but it looks like that is about to change. I’m so excited. We are both older now (I’m late 40s and he’s 9 years older). I’m trying to figure what to “restrict” his access to and for how long. We are both unattached right now, and our interests still line up really well. There is so much I want to talk to him about! I’d like to have a little my term relationship with him. Does that mean make him wait, just like it would if we were much younger? The second time we were together was honestly the best sex I have ever, ever had. I’d be lying to say I didn’t want some more of that.
    So what do you think? 90 day embargo? More? Less? None at all? Have you dated at (or around) my age? Have you ever reunited with someone after so long?

    • Anonymous :

      Do it when you want to do it. You’re an adult, he’s an adult, why would you need an embargo?

    • Anonymous :

      In what way is having a relationship a favor? Arbitrary rules like that are silly.

      • Anonymous :

        Not a favor to him any more than it is to me. I guess I still have those rules engrained in me that say that if he doesn’t have to work for it, he won’t appreciate it or stick around. In the last 15 years, I’ve had one relationship that lasted a few months long distance, so I am incredibly nervous about (re)approaching this guy. I know that he does not like to be fawned over or feel clung to; that is going to be hard for me to pull off.

        • Anonymous :

          Youve already had an affair with this guy. Relax.

        • Anonymous :

          You don’t want to be with a guy who is so dumb and self-centered that he has to be tricked into liking you, which is what your rule really is. Give him the benefit of the doubt. Be yourself and make it known what you really want. Nobody who likes you back is going to be offended by you expressing interest in them, I promise.

    • Anonymous :

      I honestly dont know what your talking about. Youve already slept with him twice. Just see him and see how you feel. You didn’t make him wait when you were younger. You both cheated on your marriages with each other and met each other much longer than 90 days ago. You are 40 years old grow up a bit and if you like this guy go to dinner or drinks with him and see if you still like each other. I have a feeling you’ve built him up in your head and when you really get to know him you are going to be dissapointed but you won’t know that until you try

    • Veronica Mars :

      EDIT: I didn’t catch that your initial meeting was an affair. In that case, consider if this is someone of integrity that you want to persue. Seems as though your intuition is telling g you that he’s really not trustworthy.

      Original: If I’m understanding your question clearly, you’re asking about setting boundaries and expectations. I’d decide what it is you really want (a serious relationship that may lead to marriage? A bootycall? Something casual?) and communicate that clearly. If he doesn’t want the same thing, I’d advise you stay away.

      • Anonymous :

        They both cheated on their spouses with each other.

        I think go have sex. Make hay while the sun shines.

      • Anonymous :

        Veronica Mars: That’s pretty much it–we were playing then. Now I’d like to have a grown-up, committed relationship. I have good reason to believe that although he sowed lots of wild oats as a young man, these days he is not likely to do so. I’m trying to figure out how to get across to him that I’m no longer the same person, any more than he is.

  3. Anonymous :

    This is probably going to be controversial, but as a single woman in her early 30s, I think Princeton mom was right.

    • Anonymous :

      That’s because you’re single in your early 30’s and wish you had had the potential partner you want all squared away by now. I met a great guy in my early 30’s and even though it was tough at times prior to that, I’m grateful for all those single years I had really getting to know myself. I would not be this person if I had gotten married at 23.

      • +1 . You will feel this way only till you meet the right person for you. Once that is done, you will feel good that you found some one after you came to know yourself and your priorities.

        • Anonymous :

          Definitely agree, and I know how smug/annoying this sounds to the Anonymous OP! But you will come to terms with it eventually, even if you don’t find someone.

          • Anonymous :

            Shut up. Even if I don’t find someone? Nope. Will not be ok with being alone forever. Like, you’re aggressively doubling down on your smugness with this comment.

            ETA different annoyed single lady anon

      • Anonymous :

        As someone who had a promising relationship crumble in her late 20s a few days ago, and sometimes regrets not locking down her college BF because it would have saved all this “trouble,” I appreciate this response.

        Princeton mom is right that in that it is easier to meet people in college. But that’s it.

        • anonymous :

          I get a lot of what Princeton mom is saying. There’s probably a lot of truth to it too. What I disagree with is that somehow this means that women *should* base their decisions on that, as though that’s the sum total of our existences.

        • Brunette Elle Woods :

          Yes, easier to meet people in college because so many usually single people are in one location with a lot more free time on their hands, but sometimes things happen and life doesn’t go as planned. If I stayed with my college boyfriend I would be so miserable and feeling like I already have a child. My 30th birthday is approaching and I’m blissfully single. Get comfortable with being single. It’s not the end of the world. I see so many people going through divorces or ending long term relationships. It’s for the best! Marriage and children do not equal happiness!

          • Midwest anon :

            So from having married my law school boyfriend in my late 20s and now divorced and dating in my late 30s I can absolutely say the only good thing about finding a spouse in school is a target rich environment of men that you are pretty confident are single.

            What it doesn’t give you the heartache of discovering you no longer can tolerate one another a decade later because we are still largely in flux still during that part of our lives.

            What dating now does. Presents ourselves as more whole. Perhaps a wee bit more broken, but wiser still.

  4. Minor correction: the Harvard professor was really in a tenure track faculty job. It’s called “The Seven Year Postdoc” because she talks about thinking of it like a postdoc (where you always expect to move on afterwards) instead of a tenure-track position (where you either clear a high bar and stay forever, or don’t clear it and leave in shame.) Thinking of the tenure-track job as a postdoc helped her take it more lightly and focus on what really mattered to her in her career, and she did end up getting tenure! It’s a crucial article for me in thinking about my career as well.

  5. Queen City anon :

    I remember that WSJ article about the public defender. IIRC, the father is a lawyer in town. If you grow up going to St. John boutiques with your mother, I’m not surprised that you get in an article later about pricey shopping (hey: someone’s got to keep the doors to those places open). But it wasn’t the run of the mill article about people blowing their paycheck on things (it’s more about having spendy parents).

    • Yep, I just read that article (for the first time). It was really interesting but not jaw dropping. It helps that the women interviewed seemed somewhat pleasant and smart about what they’re buying even it its an astronomical amount to be spending on clothing. Most of these women we’re bankrolled by their families or husbands.
      Also, even if I was that rich I doubt I would spend even a quarter of the amount they are on clothes (I’d rather spend that money *in addition to donating it * on travel, savings, amazing food/personal chef, etc). To each his own I guess.

  6. UGH, we need to put the terms “Working Woman” and “Working Mother” to bed for good!

    I was at a women in hedge funds panel with Ivanka Trump as the guest speaker, and she made an amazing point on this: “Why do we say that…’working woman’? You never hear anyone say Working Man or Working Father!” The reality is most women work! And many men do not! Let’s stick to using the word as a verb, not adjective please. HARUMPH!

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