le 12 janvier 2015
I just finished reading this book and I can already say that it changed my life. I work in a very male-dominated field and I got fed up of all the feminist propaganda I got from everywhere that made me feel intensely guilty of being "just" a woman oppressed and dominated in a society of men. "There are not enough women in that field", "women lack confidence", "women don't have role models", "women don't have mentors" "and this is why women don't succeed", that's all I can read online about my field. So I got fed up of that marketing because as a woman it didn't get me anywhere, it didn't make me achieve my goals, it just made me feel angry, guilty and use sexism as an excuse for not becoming the "real" woman I want to become. So I refused to be submitted to this kind of accusatory noise and I decided to find out for myself, what were really the mistakes I was doing that were indeed specific to women and what I could do about them to succeed better at work.
That's exactly what this book is about. It will show you very accurately what are the behaviors specific to women that they do and that explain why they don't succeed. This book literally liberated me from the thought that I would never reach my goal because I am dominated by men. No, most of the time, as the author explains, it is a problem of communication, presentation, visibility etc. Those are problems that you can fix, those are behaviors that you can absolutely change, and believing that you are dominated will only make you accept this state. But if you apply what she advises in this book, you will see that most of the things you need to succeed, you can do, and it is absolutely not dependent on your gender. Confidence is confidence, courage is courage, good communication is good communication whether you are a woman or a man. This book in essence, made me realize what it means to be a real woman. A real woman is a woman who is in charge of her own life, if there is a problem she fixes it but she doesn't obey to whatever is dictated to her. The author really points out the differences between being a "girl" and being a "woman", and she shows you what makes a real woman.
The chapters are very short and straight to the point. The book is very well organized. Each mistake she describes is indeed really something that I caught myself doing without thinking one second it was not good for my career. I am very careful with the books I pick especially when it is directed to a female audience because I don't want to read any more "we live in a society of men, see how we are desperate" (without any attached solutions), and I don't want either to read a discourse that dumbs things down telling me "to dare", "to find confidence in myself, love and trust myself" because I am not a baby. Finally, I also didn't want to read about little anecdotes from privileged executive women like in "Lean in", because it's just that, anecdotes, not actionable advice. Not to mention I suspected "Lean in" was exactly the kind of book pointing out "there are not enough women in that field, bla, bla, bla, I know better because I am chief of something bla bla bla". No, this book doesn't contain all of that. The author really speaks to you as an adult, and sometimes she is even harsh but I am so glad that she is a woman because it would be too difficult to hear those truths from a man. She still says that the workplace is often male-dominated but she doesn't guilt you, she gives you solutions. I trusted this book because the author has an extensive coaching experience with men and women, so she really knows what she is writing about. This book is for any woman who wants to reach a professional goal, not just for ceos and such.
What I really learned from this book is that competence only accounts for 7% of your success at work, the rest is really just about visibility, self-marketing, communication, things that are really possible to get better at. In my field, with all the finger pointing press, I constantly had the idea that women didn't succeed because they were not enough competent, and every time a woman does a tiny little thing that shows she has competence, she is either celebrating her "exploit" or she is pointed at as "see, women can do it too, yeah!". So I kept focusing on increasing my competence and I really only focused on that. Now that I know that competence is not everything I will focus on improving in the other areas where paradoxically women are actually naturally good at, like getting visible, presenting well, etc. I have already started a little bit on what I want to improve, and the results are not yet effective but I already feel that there is change because even myself I feel more confident, my peers listen to me bit more, and I don't constantly hide behind the sexism banner. As the author says, you need to focus on one thing you really want to change, for example, "state your opinion first", and the rest will slowly follow, you will gain more confidence and slowly by slowly you will gain credibility with your peers.
This book is a book I recommend to all the women in my situation, who have dreams and goals, but who somehow feel it is too difficult to reach because they are women. This is 2015 and I am nearly 30, but this book still makes sense now and still really helps in a concrete way. I am immensely grateful to the author because she really opened my eyes and she relieved me from the feminist craziness I was brainwashed with. In the book you should take the advice that helps you reach your goal. As the book was written ten years ago, sometimes you feel that times have changed and that for example being feminine in the workplace is not so much an issue. So just take what works for you. And be always active in finding a solution to your problem instead of using excuses.