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.

This Week’s Mission: Seek Spectacular.

Seek Spectacular.

When was the last time you heard something described as “spectacular”? 

When was the last time YOU were “spectacular”? 

This week let’s seek “spectacular”.  Every day find something or someone that amazes you.  You will be amazed at what you find.

Even on our worst days…no, especially on our worst days … spectacular exists nearby.  Hidden in an awe-inspiring act of kindness, brilliance, or generosity.  Now, it may be concealed by chaos, stress, or insecurity.  But it is out there.

Seek Spectacular.  Celebrate Spectacular.  Be Spectacular. 

You are what you seek.  Why not seek SPECTACULAR?

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.

 

Meet Patti Hansen – Fearlessly Chasing Her Dreams

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“Don’t let someone else identify who you are,
who you will be, and your limitations.”  
– Patti Hansen

Patti Hansen recently went back to college and completed her degree.  She wanted to set a strong example for her teenage daughter.

Then, at last month’s Mentor Dinner in a room full of strangers (& her beloved daughter!) Patti first explained that public speaking isn’t really her thing, but she grabbed the mic and rocked it anyway!  She went on to ask for help finding her next professional opportunity.

And this month after an exchange on our Facebook group, Patti inspired me yet again.

I had posted this image.

Dreams

And Patti responded with,

“I’d love to hear about your dream! That would be a great topic … dreams. if you haven’t already done it.  Not like sleeping dreams, but the dream that our heart carries. Sometimes it takes excavating to remember what that dream was again.”

It took that response to remind me:

A.)  Others care about our dreams,
B.)  They may help us achieve them if we ask,
C.)  Make room in your current life to remember “the dream”,
D.)  And then, make more room for that dream to grow.

Folks … it’s my honor to introduce you to a loving mother, ambitious professional, and true inspiration–Patti Hansen.

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Patti, thank you for sharing your journey with us.  Women like you are exactly why Pink Mentor Network was started — To help women at the most vulnerable moments in their careers. 

Because face it, we have ALL been professionally vulnerable. Some of us are there right now! And you, Patti, are an inspiration to us.  So first, THANK YOU for sharing those emotions bravely and honestly.  

Let’s start with what type of work you are currently looking for.

I have worked in everything from hospitality, marketing, event coordination, ad design, to office manager. I would love to be in a position that utilizes my strengths, as identified by Clifton Strengths Finder, of responsibility, achiever, relator, individualization, and connectedness. I have a passion for working with individuals in identifying their unique traits which contribute to building productive teams.

Well, I can honestly say that the company that lands YOU will be extremely lucky.  What advice do you have for women actively looking for work?

If you are a person who knows oneself well and has had the insight to identify your dream, vision, or goal, then I would suggest writing it out on paper. If you write it, speak it, and live it out with an actionable plan … anything is possible!

Most importantly is to not allow negative self-talk. If you catch yourself doing that, or the start of a “pity party,” nip it in the bud! It is not acceptable to talk to others the way we oftentimes talk to ourselves. I read inspirational books, pray, volunteer, network, and just keep on keeping on.

Awe…that’s fantastic advice, Patti. Tell us about some of your previous professional experiences.  Tell us about the people who shaped your career and what you learned along the way. 

I have had many fabulous bosses and some not so fabulous. Most of my past bosses have gone on to become good friends. I was most impressed at the time I was working for a temporary staffing agency assigned to a federal credit union marketing position. Even though I was a long-term temp, my boss took the time to introduce me to everyone in the office and took me out to lunch.

On the assignment I only expected menial keep the ball rolling-type of work, but they had so much more planned for me. They had me designing ads, marketing brochures, press releases, organizing annual fundraiser events, and researching, writing, and creating financial education interactive pages on their website (that was approximately 5 years ago; it is still in use today ). That is putting a lot of faith in someone; it truly opened my eyes to my potential capabilities.

Love it!  You’re a woman who seizes opportunity!  Please share some of your inspiration.  What wise words do you live by?

Don’t let someone else identify who you are, who you will be, and your limitations.

I have a quote on my bulletin board: “Be where you are celebrated, not merely tolerated…”

My girlfriend shared this with me from her Keller-Williams training – “Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans. We have learned to live our lives trying to satisfy other people’s demands. We have learned to live by other people’s points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else.”

Last but not least, Lessons from a Christmas Tree by Jane Lee Logan: *Be a light in the darkness *We all fall over sometimes *You can never wear too much glitter *Bring joy to others *Sparkle and twinkle as often as possible *It’s okay to be a little tilted!

So true! Thank you, Patti.  

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Patti Hansen has truly been an inspiration to me.  She’s an AMAZING woman with EXTRAORDINARY potential.  She sets an example that reminds me to pursue my own dreams.  I’m sure her daughter will echo that statement one day. 

If you or someone you know is looking to add a multi-talented ROCK STAR to your team, connect with Patti 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!