Although my coaching practice is skewed fairly heavily “male,” I feel privileged to work with the women I do. Their backgrounds and careers vary widely, but I find many encounter consistent issues with managing their career: negotiating as fiercely for themselves as they do for others; managing “the balance” of life/work; and imagining a more creative career path that suits their talents and interests—which can mean embracing (gasp!) deviance.
Here’s this year’s round up on my recommendations for women on these issues:
- Negotiation: The classic here is Women Don’t Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation and Positive Strategies for Change by Babcock and Laschever.
- Balancing Parenting with Work: This past year, I especially recommended Anne-Marie Slaughter’s excellent and provocative piece “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” from The Atlantic.
- Creative Career Planning Specifically for Women: Tara Mohr’s work is something I stumbled upon this year. She is from a new generation of young women boldly designing the lives they want to lead. As a Stanford MBA, Tara specifically focuses on women’s leadership and offers virtual Women’s Leadership Programs that come from a creative, poetic and artistic place (reflecting her own leadership style). For her work more generally, see her website. Also see her excellent, pithy blog entry on HBR on the “good student habits” women should drop immediately.
All of this is not to say that men don’t also struggle with similar issues of speaking up for themselves (or speaking up at all!), balancing their lives, and designing their career paths. They do. It’s just that the particular mental patterns that keep them from doing so can be slightly different, reflecting, for example, behavioral styles (introversion), technical knowledge and assumptions about its dominance over relationship building and political savvy, cultural values, or the fear of being vulnerable (see post below), perceived as weak, or not providing well for those they love. These issues may also haunt women, but there’s something particular about gender that also comes into play for them as they wrestle their way to a fulfilling career–these resources address those gender-based issues head on.