it's not personal, it's business

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I have been in the business world for over a year now, and it is not what I expected so far. Having started in a small company with a lot of room to grow I went from being a personal assistant to the Director of Public Relations. These months of growth have taught me a lot about how to be in the business world - and how to be a young woman while you're at it.

The first thing to remember is that nothing is personal. I remember tearing up in meetings when I realized I didn't finish a project by deadline, or during a critique of my press releases. A year of business has made me much more tough. Everyone is just trying to do their job, and getting critique is a great way to show that you can grow and are an adaptable employee. When you take things personally you are showing that you are not able to take criticism. And there is no room for tears in the workplace. I learned that the hard way :)

Another thing I have learned is that it is so important to finish every task you are assigned. When you are young and in the workplace you are expendable - especially, it seems as a female. Prove that you can get things done on time and get them done well. I have made sure I can account for everything under my jurisdiction.

Don't be afraid to be a boss. When I first had employees to direct I was terribly intimidated. Not only are some of them older women, but I had men to direct too. I had a hard time at first showing them that I could do it. Then I realized that just because I am a young woman I know what I am doing. There is a reason I was given this opportunity. Delegating became easier once I realized that.

Something else I have done is set my expectations high for my employer. I have been frank and honest with him, showing what I have done, telling him when I feel I deserve a raise or specific opportunity, and telling him I can prove myself. I used to be so weak in the workplace. I would work a job for a year and not ask for a raise when I deserved one because I would rather get paid less and avoid the awkward conversation. I will never do that again. I think it shows confidence and a clear direction when you are not afraid to ask for what you want.

Lastly, I have made it clear what I am and am not okay with. Often I go on business trips with just older men and myself. During dinner appointments and tradeshows as well I am almost always the only girl. I have made it clear when I feel uncomfortable at times. The men I work with now respect me for that and are careful about what they say in my presence, and how they act around me. I feel like we have become friends because I have shown them that I am not afraid to stand up for myself.

It isn't easy being a young girl in the business world and to be honest, I never imagined myself here. But now that I am here, I love what I do and I enjoy working so much. It gives me fulfillment in a way that school never did.

Any other young girls in the workplace who can relate? I would love to hear your experiences/stories.


It's A Love Story said...

great tips!

IngridLola said...

Hi Mandy. Lovely post as always. However, I have to say that I came upon that that little graphic thing you included at the top on Pinterest a few days ago and I was very put off by the fact it says "think like a man." I was surprised that you included it in your blog, because from reading your posts I can tell you are a very intelligent, strong woman. Why would you want to think like a man??? Think like the smart, intelligent, unique woman you are!
Anyway, the feminist in me felt the need to point that out. I admit it, I hate that graphic. (Would you call it a graphic ?)

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Mandy said...

Ingrid -

Thanks for the comment. I think maybe I read the "graphic" a little differently. I am a feminist too of course, but I saw this graphic in a business sense because it says "Work like a boss" at the end. I saw "Think like a man" more like think as hard as you can as a human, not necessarily a man. Man in the literal, humanity sense of the word - Mankind I suppose. Now I am seeing it differently, and I never would have posted it if I literally believed that I should think like a man thinks, although in business I have learned that to work with men you have to learn to think like them as well. That being said, women have so much to contribute to every business and I am the first to endorse that. We need more strong, independent women in the workplace who are not afraid to stand up and own their femininity.

Thanks for your insightful comment. I definitely see where you are coming from.

camille said...

beautiful blog :) I love it!

Lara said...

I can relate to your experience in the work force. Since working at my new job for five months, I have grown immensely. We shouldn't be afraid to let those around us (coworkers, boss, customers)know that we are capable and smart. At first I felt like my age diminished my credibility. Now I realize that in the workforce, it's all about performance and meeting expectations. Thanks for a great post. And you are lovely.