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Women gear up

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Make it work for you; forewarned is better prepared.  A few tips for women to put their best foot forward and when to put it down firmly, at work

Start right

You are here as a professional, an employee hired for your skills.  Keeping that in mind, flaunt your skills, not your sexuality.  You would be better off not to pay heed to individual biases you may encounter.   Once sorted, getting set to meet your journey ahead will be determined by the social fit in the organisation.  Be it with your colleagues, boss or external public.  You are the face of the organisation you represent, but staying there requires you to gear up.

Right from the word go, be it the recruitment process to building your network to work conditions to hours of functioning to corporate culture, be sure to know what it involves.

Climbing up

You have gone through the initial grind and are working your way up your unique career ladder.  Invariably even the most seasoned executive with career and personal goals gets stumped, insecure.  Keep an open mind.  While it is great to have a heads up on hearsay biases, it is better not to over-think.  Go with the flow but assert yourself when required.

Clarity

Invariably you will find that besides the glossy picture at recruitment you would do well to spend time asking uncomfortable questions.  Remember you will be juggling work and your personal life. Be it overtime, ask… Be it the structure of the organisation, ask…you may end up at home too tired to even order in food and wake up wondering if you did leave your desk in the first place—hours that stretch into deep, dark circles and family time.

Living out of a suitcase has become commonplace and you might find the only one who might be home to greet you is your neglected pet or your withering plants.  While you are led to believe that hard work it is, work smart too or you may get burnt out early.

Communicate

Women are known to have their strengths, be it administration, commitment and reliability.  While all of them are fine to further your career path, you don’t want to be the dumping ground. 

Learn to draw the line when the demands and expectations go beyond. And communicate when you have more on your platter than you can handle.  That does not make you inefficient but more realistic and sustainable.  And if you get the big boss, your boss’ wife breathing down conveniently learn to affirm the No.  If she knows what is good for her she will learn to take it gracefully and get her stuff sorted.

Be realistic

Remember you are not superhuman.  Draw on resources to make your schedule work for you, be it help for chores, day care if your organisation does not have the facility, your spouse or relatives who choose to do so.  And save yourself dwelling on guilt trips.  Some day as an empty nester you will thank yourself for it.

Keep it handy

Be it toiletries, or essentials like your lap charger you might want to have not one but two organisers that can be refilled and slipped into your bag.  Accessories that transform your work look into one appropriate for an evening event. A smart scarf, for instance.

Corporate party

Socialising with the office crowd can be fun.  But, don’t overdo it.  This is not a buddy reunion where you go over the top.  If you enjoy your wine and know your limits, great!  Your work face is important when you are at a work event.  If you are confronted with unacceptable behaviour at the work place,  address it.  Deal with it and move on.  You are not responsible for externalities.

Take a break 

Detox. Life is simple unless you choose to complicate it. Make sure you have a fitness routine.  Pay heed to nutrition and your wellness.

Good on you if you have a circle at work that gels well.  For those who have to live within the options, get a life outside your work space.

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