Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel

Some one I used to work with gave me some career advice once. He said, never start a new job without knowing what your next position is going to be. I had just moved from years of working in retail (behind a counter serving customers) into the corporate world.

He was right. If you are ambitious, you need a career plan.

I’m about to start a new role and am feeling confident about my ability to do the job (and I can learn what I don’t know), however, the environment I work in is a bit of a boy’s club, and I don’t want to be the token female. In order to make the most of the opportunity which has just come my way, I read Lois P. Frankel’s book, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office for tips.

The sub title of the book is ‘Unconscious Mistakes Women Make that Sabotage Their Careers,’ which is self explanatory, although I know a few men who could learn from this book also.

The mistakes are divided into chapters which make perfect sense, for example; How You Act, How You Look and How You Brand and Market Yourself. One hundred mistakes are discussed and Frankel explains why each will hinder you in your career. She also gives great examples on how to change your behaviour and how to make difficult situations work to your advantage.

There are several changes I’m going to put into practice right away. Some are so obvious, I can’t believe I’ve never noticed that I’ve been doing them.

For example, mistake # 47 is not using your whole name when you introduce yourself or answer the phone. I’ve been guilty of this one for quite a while now. Coming from a retail background, I’ve been answering the phone with an enormous spiel, “Good Morning, [the name of my company], this is Rose,” but I won’t be anymore. My boss answers the phone with his whole name and no spiel, and that is what I’ll be doing too, (using my whole name, not his).

Skipping meetings is mistake #37. In the past, I’ve used the time while others are in meetings (which are long and boring and I thought of no use to me) to plough through my work in peace and quiet, but from now on, I’ll be attending meetings, sitting next to the boss (which according to Frankel makes you appear be important and in the know) and speaking early.

Mistake #27 according to Frankel, is feeding others. I love to bake and often bring in surplus to work. However, I’ll stick with this mistake, as the environment I work in is one where other staff bring in excess fruit and vegetables from their gardens, or share sweets. I will to continue to bake and leave my biscuits and cakes in the lunchroom, as a strategy which strengthens my relationships with my colleagues.

I intend to read this book again in a few months as a revision and then guess what? My boss had better watch out, because I’ve got his job in my sights for my next position.