Who Says It's a Man's World
The Girls' Guide to Corporate Domination
Author: Emily Bennington
Pub Date: January 2013
Print Edition: $21.95
Print ISBN: 9780814431870
Page Count: 240
e-Book ISBN: 9780814431887
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Making a Successful Transition to Corporate Life
Six Ways to Earn Respect
Whether you’re doing it straight out of college or after a series of small business employers, transitioning to corporate life takes some adjustments. “Having worked in both small businesses and corporate environments, I can tell you there’s a huge difference between the two,” declares Emily Bennington, a frequent speaker and respected writer on the topic of career success. In her new book, WHO SAYS IT’S A MAN’S WORLD: The Girl’s Guide to Corporate Domination, Bennington offers six simple practices to earn a smart, diligent, and ambitious woman the respect she deserves in the corporate world:
1. Pay attention to your title. In a small business with few employees, no one worries about pecking order. But in the corporate space, your title and position really do matter...a lot. “Right or wrong, it’s how other people judge your value to the organization which, right or wrong, does make a difference in how they treat you,” Bennington attests. “That’s why I hate it when I hear women say things like, ‘I don’t need a fancy title—I just want to be known as the person who gets the job done.’ Bullshit. You need both.”
2. Know what you’re responsible for now. If you don’t have a job description in place right now, don’t wait until your performance review—bring it up to your supervisor ASAP. (“Yes,” Bennington stresses, “even if you’ve been in your position for years.”) If you want to move up, you need to be clear on precisely what your current role is so that you can make a case for a promotion when you’ve mastered it. Likewise, never accept a new position—even an internal one—without getting your responsibilities and reporting structure in writing. As Bennington reinforces: “Better to be smart now than sorry later.”
3. Know what you want next. First, prove yourself—to your team, your boss, and others up the ladder. Once you’ve got the attention of decision makers, share your desires. Citing the success of a project manager at Microsoft who made herself “reDONKulously valuable” incredibly fast, Bennington suggests creating a “Career Development Plan” Power Point, outlining your values, passions, achievements, competencies, and future goals, with testimonials from colleagues. When you make it clear what you want, backed by your ability to deliver, things are bound to start lining up for you in that direction.
4. Watch your image. “In the corporate world, you are expected to look the part,” Bennington observes. “So look the part because when your appearance is a wreck people automatically assume your whole life is a wreck.”
5. Keep the “confidential” confidential. Within a large corporation, discretion is crucial. While serving as marketing director for a major accounting firm, Bennington found herself responsible for the logistics of a big “surprise” merger announcement. Despite coming from a small business where everyone knew the tiniest details about everything, she quickly adapted and quietly worked on this sensitive project without any I-know-something-you-don’t-know hints to colleagues. “This wasn’t about duping people—it was about controlling the message,” Bennington contends. “And to earn trust, you have to be someone who can do that well.”
6. Have patience with the process. Tales of 27-year-old CEOs aside, two-year promotion tracks are typical in corporate environments. While it’s frustrating to appear powerless over the timing of your own success, resist the urge to make a major career decision out of impatience. “This doesn’t mean that you should become complacent by any stretch,” Bennington stresses, “but it does mean that you should have a modicum of respect for the established protocols within your organization and be willing to see the bigger picture. There are a lot of circumstances around a promotion that you may not be privy to just yet...It’s not just about you.”
Adapted from WHO SAYS IT’S A MAN’S WORLD: The Girl’s Guide to Corporate Domination by Emily Bennington.
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