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Since reading that women who wear makeup are more likely to get ahead at work, we’ve been wondering: What else can we do to get a leg up at the office? Makeup might make you appear more competent and trustworthy, according to this new study, but it’s going to take a little more than well-handled eyeliner to impress your boss.
Forget being a good girl. Go gutsy instead
When Kate White, Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan, decided to pen a non-fiction book for women trying to get ahead at work, she focused on a single, substantial principle. Say goodbye to the good girl and embrace your brave, ambitious, ballsy side. “If you hope to be a star in your company and a standout in your field,” White writes, “you must, at times, make your own set of rules for what you’re doing. You must listen to what they tell you to do and then you must twist it, toss it, or turn it upside down so that the result is brilliantly bold and different.”
In 2008, The Washington Post found that 85% of women are less likely to ask for a promotion than men. In addition, studies have repeatedly found that only a fraction of women attempt to negotiate their starting salary, while the practice is not uncommon for men. Ask for the things you feel you are entitled to at work, because if you don’t, no one will freely give them to you.
Mariko Chang, a Stanford-educated sociologist and author, told CNN that women would be wise to investigate the average salary for their job at similar companies in the same area, and use this information to negotiate better pay or see the gender-biased red flags when they arise.
Stop asking Why, and start asking Why Not?
Bonnie Fuller, legendary publisher on top of being a wife and mother, encouraged all women to stop asking why and start asking why not in her best selling book, The Joys of Much Too Much. The woman who has it all recounted a lunch she had with Oscar-winning producer David Brown. What they discovered was that both of them had succeeded in different industries by using the same philosophy: “Under no circumstances, face the facts.”
Some of Brown’s greatest success had been achieved when he produced Jaws, a movie that “had they realized they had to create a mechanical shark to make the story work onscreen, they never would have gone near the project. Ignorant, they went forward, and even hired a then-unknown, twenty-nine-year-old director named Steven Spielberg. The rest is movie box office history.”
If you can’t get up, get out.
If you’re career has stalled, “Get out. Start over,” says Suzy Welch, businesswoman and co-author of Winning in O, The Oprah Magazine. Noting that a fresh start can be tough, Welch continued, “recognize your career stall, for whatever reason it is happening, and take action. Once you plant your feet in new territory, with time you’ll fly high again.”
Seek A Mentor
Many of us think of an archetype, a pivotal person who has achieved the career that we want to have for ourselves. Asking this person for advice, and turning them into a mentor is a great way to follow in their footsteps, and gain an experienced guide on your path to the top. Kim Han is a CEO of a Florida-based multimedia company, and recently told CareerBuilder.com that seeking a mentor can have a serious impact on your career. “Most successful people love to share their secrets for success and are willing to give advice, make introductions and assist an up-and-comer in the organization,” said Han.
Stop assuming the workplace is fair.
Just in the past year we have seen the largest class-action employment lawsuit in our nation’s history hit the Supreme Court (Wal-Mart’s alleged neglect of promotions and equal pay for women), and three former Goldman Sachs employees suing the firm for discrimination against women. But the bottom line remains, the devil you know is always better than the devil you don’t. Recognize that gender matters in the workplace, and begin asserting yourself in ways that circumvent these biases. Take up golf when you notice more deals are getting closed on the course than in the boardroom, or skip the pencil skirt in favor of a fitted pantsuit.