Quit Being a Girl!
Less than a year ago, I mentally still called myself a girl. You know, that inner voice, that picture you hold of yourself in your mind? Mine was still a girl. A girl of 28, sure, but still a girl.
Then I read “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office” by Lois P. Frankel. In the first chapters of the book, I was instructed to tive myself permission to be a woman instead of a girl. I was already striving to achieve the behaviors that would help me, but I hadn’t made the mental leap of thinking of myself as a grown up adult woman. I hadn’t stopped thinking of myself as a girl. (Or perhaps not a girl, not yet a woman.) It was a surprisingly big mental shift, and I can’t believe I waited so long to embrace it.
A girl is indirect in her communication, careful not to take too much power away from men. She uses words that soften her tone. A woman assertively makes sure her needs are met. A woman who is still learning not to do this re-reads her emails and deletes any unnecessary words.
A girl is excited to be helpful to her coworkers & always agrees to their requests. A woman generally expects people do their own work, helping out her equals only when necessary. And a woman expects that favor to be returned! She say she doesn’t have time when a man asks her to do a tedious copy/paste task for him. (Yes, I had the 15-30 minutes it would have taken – but so did he!) And she’ll keep saying no until he learns not to ask unless it is necessary.
A girl will be thankful for whatever job she has, even as she struggles to break out of the role she is in. A woman will walk into the office of the chief technical officer of the SoCal region and ask for a new job. And she might get it.
A girl will be terrified when cutbacks are announced. A woman will be confident that even if her current role vanishes from under her, she’ll be fine. (There is some chance of this right now. Not only is it a research & development project, there is some program stuff threatening it. But I’m not worried. Three years ago, I would have been worried.)
A girl naively thinks that working hard and being smart is all it takes to move up. A woman knows that is only part of the puzzle.