Why Women Act Like Catty Bitches at Work

No catty bitches allowed.

If I had $100 for every time I heard “Why can’t women get along at work?” … I, alone, could shrink the gender pay gap.

Ambition Over Integrity

First, let me apologize to the first group of women I ever worked with in a professional environment.

So Tracey, Diane, Celines, Ellen, and Jaime,

I am sorry.  I acted like a catty bitch… like a lot.

I valued the “corporate ladder” over our relationships.

I chose ambition over integrity.

I was a hungry 23 year-old (literally & figuratively) from the Midwest who took a random receptionist job to pay bills (and eat) in the suburbs of NYC. The office was male-owned & operated. I was hired by the only female manager in company.

She was about 15 years older than me and very well-versed in the workplace ecosystem. But she was good to me. We clicked immediately. Me — an eager naive sponge from Kansas, and her — a scrappy, street-smart mentor from New York.

It worked well until ambition blinded me.

I learned fast, worked hard, and eventually was asked to step into her management role.  The transition was informal and poorly communicated, and resulted in a female emotional uproar.

Suddenly, women were reverting to survival tactics learned in high school like gossiping, choosing sides, building damaging narratives, and plain-old “Mean Girl” behavior.

Clawing Our Way to the Top

Every work environment in my 20+ year career has been filled with similar situations. Women, acting like mean girls — throwing each other under the bus for a chance to sit in the C-Suite.

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Women can have meaningful, no-strings-attached, mutually fulfilling friendships in our personal lives. Yet, put two female friends in a work environment, and we will claw each other’s eyes out for professional gain.

Leaving me to admit, “Why can’t women get along at work?”

(See? $100 right there. Told you, this is easy money!)

No, but seriously.  What’s our deal, women?

It’s a question that has plagued me my entire career.  It has also been a pattern I’ve heard through the Pink Mentor Network.  Women are seeking mentorship outside of their organizations because they don’t trust or respect the women within it.

I’ve heard stories of teachers treating each other like children, nurses acting awful to  peers, and the most unprofessional female office behaviors.

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These toxic work environments led me to the following conclusion:

 

 Women claw each other’s eyes out on the way to the top because there are so few opportunities for us to get there.

Ladies, our fight is NOT with each other.  Our fight is to make more opportunities for women at the top. 

Claw your way to the top.  Then pause, and retract those claws. Turn around, lean down, and pull her up with you.

VALUE INTEGRITY AND AMBITION.  NO CATTY BITCHES ALLOWED.

November & Beyond – Pink Mentor Network

Careers Don't Come with Maps.

Who took a chance on YOU?
Before you had that title or experience … Who gave YOU a shot?

Who taught YOU to be a leader?
Before you had leadership skills … Who believed YOU could lead?

Who gave YOU good feedback?
Before you were doing it right … Who instructed YOU do it differently?

Who do YOU turn to for career advice?
When you are at your most vulnerable professionally … Who still believes in YOU?

Give it some serious thought. Maybe there are others to add to that VIP list.  Who are THOSE people?

THOSE ARE “YOUR PEOPLE“.

A career is a long journey.  We collect many influences along the way.  Some come in human form.

Do they know how they changed YOU?

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Several women recently had this exact AHA moment.  They each realized that they grew professionally because someone once gave them an opportunity or a nudge, and sometimes both.

And for each woman, it had been a while since they reflected on those experiences.  But from the rear view mirror, they each came to the same conclusion —

APPRECIATION WAS OVERDUE FOR ONCE UNDERAPPRECIATED OPPORTUNITY.

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Now, Go. You have YOUR PEOPLE to thank.

With Immense Gratitude,

Stacy

P.S.  If “YOUR PEOPLE LIST” is short, let me know.  I got your back!

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This piece was featured in the Pink Mentor Network’s November 2017 newsletter.  The entire newsletter is available here.

 

Day 3: The Plan

“Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” — John Lennon

I’m an INTJ with a capital “J”.  I mean like a RIDICULOUSLY high “J”.

I am so well-planned and organized that even my “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants plans” are scheduled.

I have spreadsheet for Thanksgiving dinner — what I need to buy, what goes in the oven when, my recipes are indexed & labeled — all done in July.

So when a dear friend asked me, “30 Days to Launch? What’s your plan?”, my immediate response was self-shocking.

“There is no plan. Sometimes you just have to follow your heart.”

 

Perhaps in the past I was too well-planned.

Dreams turned into an elaborate, well-crafted plan of attack, which exposed risks and challenges. Those realizations led to fear, doubt, and a million reasons why the dream seemed unattainable. And finally, there was convincing narrative of why I shouldn’t even start.

I have a hard drive full of dreams I never chased. I have a hard drive full of plans — business, content, lead generation — a whole lot of unpursued plans.

This time though, there is no plan. I have been making plans for 38 years.

I’m well-prepared.

Day 2: Running on Ice

Growing Pink Mentor Network has consumed every spare moment since February. While it continues to grow in size and outreach, it has not yet equated to financial gain.

At times, it feels like I’m “running on ice” — exerting a lot of energy but not getting anywhere.

However, today I choose to call it “conditioning”.

2,368 Women;
270 – 4:13AM Work Sessions;
136 Newsletters, Posts, and Images;
12 Women’s Empowerment Events;
3 Meetup Groups & 1 Facebook Group;
& Countless Vulnerable Voices Sharing Professional Stories of Success, Challenges, and Opportunity.

“Running on ice” makes builds strong legs and endless endurance.  “Running on ice” is great practice. “Running on ice” is character-building. “Running on ice” gave me time to see, think, listen, feel.

I am impassioned. I am ready.  Bring on the marathon.

I have been conditioning.

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Day 1: The Sprint

Since then, life has introduced me to 2,368 women. Many have reflected on their own careers. Some were shared here. And at least one woman was changed forever.

In the next 30 days, that woman will transform a feel-good quest for mentorship into the business of her dreams.

 

Why a 30-Day Launch Sprint?

Fear has barricaded this dream too long.

This girl has BIG dreams. Anything is possible in 30 days. Even BIG dreams are possible in 30 days.

I suppose I always knew that.  But it took 2,368 women to ignite it.

I’m a dreamer.
I’m a dream chaser.
I’m a dream catcher.
I’m a woman.

[Insert roar here.]

Got Dreams

Me too.  Let’s begin together.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words… Except When You’re a Leader

Opportunity or Challenge — Depends on Leadership

Leadership Stage

“Your talents and abilities will never be appreciated or respected here.”

 … A CEO once told me.

She added, “You grow and develop people. We don’t do that here.”

She later apologized and blamed it on a “bad day”.

I accepted the apology, but never forgot the words. In fact, they shaped the narrative I collected for the rest of my tenure.

Of course she’s not listening… my opinion isn’t respected here. Why should I care about professional development? It’s not important here. Don’t speak up — it’s pointless.  Gratitude is for other people. My talents are undeserving.

The self-talk wasn’t always true. But it was always a challenge.

It challenged my confidence. It challenged my motivation. It challenged my willingness to contribute.

 

 

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“We trust you. You can figure this out. You always do.” 

… Declared my first boss as he presented me with the most significant challenge of my early career.

Except back then, I didn’t see challenges. I only saw OPPORTUNITY.

Opportunity to advance. Opportunity to succeed. Opportunity to contribute. Just 100% pure, endless, foundation-building opportunity. And I jumped at the opportunity!

This is my shot! What an amazing opportunity.  Wow, I can’t believe it…and can’t wait to get started.  Of course, I CAN do this! I’ll just figure it out like I always do.  I am so grateful for the opportunity.

Frankly, I still am.

I did solve that organizational challenge — and six more years of them with unwavering dedication, motivation, and confidence.

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[tap, tap, tap]

“Is this thing on?”, asks an eager young leader.

Of course it is. It’s leadership.

Leadership is an unlimited stage & resounding microphone.

Take the stage with courage, respect, and honor. The stage is a privilege, never a right.

Use the microphone with authenticity and honesty. Speak thoughtfully and passionately. Your message shapes our narrative of you and your mission.

There are infinite stages, microphones, and audiences. But YOUR audience pays for YOUR show because they believe in YOUR PERFORMANCE.

Never take their attention for granted. Recognize it frequently. Earn it repeatedly. And appreciate it often.

This is YOUR STAGE. This is YOUR MICROPHONE.

Just remember the audience has the right to turn their backs at any time.

Use your stage and microphone wisely.  Always.

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GRIT Gets It Done! – Recap of October’s Mentor Dinner

GRIT UP & GO

“Carry-With-Me’s” From This Month’s Mentor Dinner

Three successful female entrepreneurs shared their stories of “GRIT TO GREATNESS” at this month’s mentor dinner.  Here are some of my takeaways.

  • Do what feels right to you.  Not what other people think is right for you.
  • Hustle hard.  Just keep going.
  • Feel good about where you are going.
  • Make it fit.
  • GRIT equals stick-to-it-iveness.
  • Be resilient, inspired, and determined.
  • Greatness takes stamina.
  • As a businesswoman, mother, and wife; you are raising a career, child, and a marriage.  Don’t forget about growing the marriage.
  • Be careful of the stories you tell yourself.
  • Grit is like sandpaper.  Let it be your callous.
  • Craft v. Business – Which one will you build? They are not the same.
  • Tap into what you have — talents, abilities, network, knowledge.
  • Make decisions that you not only can live with…but importantly, wouldn’t want to live without.
  • We are more than the labels others give us.

 

In a room full of GRITTY women, I learned:

  1. GRIT comes in many shapes, sizes, and times on our lives. But it’s the stories of GRIT that inspire others to dig deeper, go harder, or just keep on keepin’ on.
  2. Every career requires GRIT. Every women has her own unique tale of GRIT.
  3. GRIT is raceless, classless, ageless, and genderless.  GRIT is personal.
  4. GRITTY Women Get GRITTY Women. GRIT is a universal language of dogged perseverance and resolute tenacity.
  5. GRIT GETS IT DONE.  BE UNAPOLOGETICALLY GRITTY.

 

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What’s your personal definition of GRIT?  What’s your GRITTY story?  Who do you share it with?  Who could benefit from your GRITTY lessons learned?  How will you tell them?

Yeah. I’m asking YOU.  

(You can start by telling us here.  Like she did.)

GRIT UP & GO, GIRL!

 

 

 

Daily Mentorship: 10 Questions To Ask Your Potential Boss If You Want To Grow

Professional development is a constant undertaking to evergreen learners.  An evergreen learner will grow regardless of the season, role, manager or employer.

Early in my career, I waited for a directive to take a new course or apply a new skill.  But over time, I’ve learned that I am an evergreen learner and that it’s best to take professional development into my own hands.

NEVER WAIT FOR PERMISSION TO GROW.  LEARN SOMETHING NEW.  THEN APPLY IT IN WAYS ONLY YOU CAN.

evergreen learner

That said, I have also learned professional development is much easier when it’s encouraged or supported by management.  Here are some questions you should get answered during the interview process if you are an evergreen learner.

10 Questions Every Evergreen Learner Should Ask a Potential Manager:

  1.  Where do you find professional inspiration?
  2.  What podcasts, blogs, or professional development organizations do you belong/subscribe to?
  3.  Who are the thought leaders or industry experts you admire? Why?
  4.  What books or authors have had the most influence on your career?
  5.  What was the last skill you learned?
  6.  What was the last skill you taught?
  7.  When was the last time someone in your department was promoted?  Tell me about that experience.
  8.  What is your performance feedback strategy?  How will I know am exceeding your expectations (…because I will!)?
  9.  How do you expect this position to grow?  What skills and knowledge may be needed 6 months from now?  1 year? 5 years?
  10.  What is the professional development strategy for your employees?  How do people here grow?

And for all you leaders out there…you best be able to answer these questions.  The best talent demands it!

 

Why Women Don’t Ask For Help

How to Start & What Happens If You Don’t

That’s my folks & me — Christmas 1979.

 

That was my Mom’s first Christmas as a mother. That stupid look on my face is me in awe of everything she did to prepare for the holiday.

She dressed everyone in this picture. She picked out all our presents. (I’m sure she went overboard.) She decorated the entire house inside & out. She baked cookies for neighbors and friends. She helped her mom and her mother-in-law without them asking.

She did it all that holiday…and has done the same for 38 years of holidays since, and every other day for that matter.

My Mom was born to be a mother. She basically raised her younger brother, my dad, and her own four kids.

         This is my siblings & me — Christmas 2015.

 

Same dumb look on my face! — Again, I’m in awe of my Mom during the holidays. She is on the end fixing my brother’s collar. She can’t help herself — she is always helping one of us. (I love this picture.)

My mom is the most generous, thoughtful person I’ve ever met. It’s no wonder she has back pain — she’s been carrying babies and everyone else’s troubles since she was 10!

My mom is also the strongest woman I know. Even when the back pain slowed her down physically, it never touched her mentally.

…Until recently.

She had her second back surgery a few months ago, and this time the recovery has been hindered by nerve damage to her legs. All of the sudden the woman who carried the weight of our entire family and a good portion of her community, can’t physically stand to carry her own.

I live across the country from her now, but would drop everything if she asked for help. My sisters live closer, and thankfully, are there to help.

But Mom doesn’t ask. She knows we are busy, and doesn’t want to be a bother.

 


 

Meanwhile across town, my Grandma struggles to get around in her walking cast. She broke her ankle doing something her two sons would have been more than happy to help her with.

Now, she is hobbling around doing more of those tasks because she doesn’t want to be a nuisance.

 


 

And closer to me, a dear friend recently moved herself and her daughter into an adorable new home — one carload and box at a time.

While the friends of both mother & daughter sat nearby…in their homes, totally ready, willing and able to help … if they had only received the call to help.

 


The Epidemic

Women everywhere — all ages, stages, races, and wages — are failing to ask for help.

But why?

We are smart enough to know we need help. We are vocal enough to speak our minds. We are kind enough to offer a helping hand to both friends and strangers.

But yet, we struggle to put the three qualities together, and ask for help when we need it.

But why?

We don’t ask for help because we weren’t taught to ask for help.

The Independent Woman — It’s how we were raised.

We were taught to be strong.

Take care of yourself.

Depend on no one.

But with that mindset, we have also raised daughters who would rather struggle through it than ask for help.

The Ambitious Woman — It’s our culture.

Want more. Do more. Be more.

What you have is nice, but what she has is better.

Keep pushing. Take on more. More roles, titles, responsibilities.

Never settle. Keep pushing.

Only you control your own destiny.

The Nurturing Woman — It’s in our DNA.

We care for others. We help others. Selflessly, loyally, without question or expectation.

Give, give, give. Asking for nothing in return.

Mother, daughter, sister, wife, boss, friend…each role takes time, energy, and effort. Being everything to everyone — that’s who we were born to be.

The Thoughtful Woman — It’s the way we are conditioned.

“The mental load of one woman could OVERLOAD a hundred men.”

We carry our own baggage & dreams— as well as the struggles and ambitions of everyone we love — in our heads, on our shoulders, in our hearts.

We worry about dinner, homework, budgets, and others — all day, every day.

The Cure

To the independent woman, recognize & be mindful of your own limitations. Asking for help is not a weakness. Rather, it’s self-awareness and wisdom.

To the ambitious woman, achievement & success scale when you bring others along. Asking for help is an invitation for others to join your mission.

To the nurturing woman, caregiving begins with oneself. Asking for help is your biggest leap towards self-care.

To the thoughtful woman, the sincerest forms of generosity are reciprocal. Asking for help welcomes those you love to do the same for you.

The Consequence

So what happens to the woman who doesn’t ask for help?  She raises a daughter who doesn’t ask for help.

Just ask my mother’s daughter.

She is independent, ambitious, nurturing, thoughtful. Yet still, finds it quite hard to ask for help because that’s what her mother taught her.

 


 

If you have trouble asking for help, please “like ” this post.

If you come from generations of women and friends who are plagued with the same challenge, share this post. Not because the behavior is encouraged, but because you are there to help.

Better yet, what do you need help with today?

Maybe I can help.