Why Women Need to Get on the Business Desk
I’m a woman. I’m girly. I get emotional when I watch The Notebook and I’m a sucker for a good romance novel. I’m a woman.
At work, I lead the content department at global digital marketing agency, WME, contributing to the company’s senior management team. When I get home, I’m still that girly-girl with a soft spot for things that pull my heartstrings. I’m a woman.
Throughout my educational and career journey, I’ve never felt burdened or influenced by being a female with ambitions that have set themselves on me reaching for the sky. Whether I actually get there or not, I’ve always had the drive to put those goals in place and run like wind after them. In the digital marketing world—where everything is fast-paced, and the need to be a senior part of the company calls for business management skills from every corner—my gender has never once stopped me.
Attending the Melbourne Writers Festival today for the Women in Media: Business Writing seminar at Melbourne’s Federation Square, WME’s Senior Writer and Editor, Jackie Tennant, and I sat ourselves down at ACMI with little to no expectations.
We were surprised.
Hosted by ABC’s Patricia Karvelas, the session presented us with a panel discussion between respected business journo and Lateline host Emma Alberici, and financial journalist Elizabeth Redman. Joining forces to empower the women in the room, Jackie and I both left with a new insight into just how much the career-driven females limit themselves out of sheer habit.
Lesson 1: Get on the business desk and make it a priority
No woman in any business field or industry can lead a team without the knowledge of how business works. It’s time to get out there and flash your cards. What are you ready to give the world? What can you offer that you haven’t yet been confident enough to expose? How are you hiding behind the shadows because “it’s all too hard” to strive for? Success doesn’t knock on your door, you knock on the door of success.
Lesson 2: The women are on the business desk, but they’re not rising
It’s one thing to say that you, as a female employee, work hard and get the job done. That’s great. Really. But who’s at the top? If you’re constantly going one beyond what’s expected and always trying to squeeze more and more out of your working day, but you’re sitting on the bottom of the rung, there may be something there to consider. Who’s at the top of your company? Who’s leading the charge?
Lesson 3: Be aware of the “go golfing” mentality
As a woman, to get anywhere in your career, you still have to set the same goals and go-getting attitude that males do. It’s time to see more confidence in the corporate females of the world and see them step out to say, “Hey, I’d be great at that job. Give it to me”, rather than “Hey, I think, maybe, possibly, I could do okay at that job, if no one else is going for it?”. Ladies, have some confidence. Go get that promotion. Go get that new role. Go grab that new chance for heightened responsibility. Be a go-getter. And whilst you do all this, be aware of those who say “Go golfing with your boss” when you ask them how you should go about getting that promotion you’re after.
And they can do it all without swinging a golf ball across the green.
Lesson 4: Stop the “do we have to talk about women issues again?” attitude
If your workplace has this lingering in the air—be it from the top dog through to the little guys—it’s not good enough. The bottom line is, men still earn 19% more than women in Australia, and still not enough businesses are taking action on this. Does your workplace allow for any female employee to confront male management and talk about the big elephant in the room?
Lesson 5: Don’t trade things for flexibility
You’re a successful woman that has a successful career and a successful family going on. It’s expected you’re going to need assistance with taking time off to pick up the kids from school every now and then, or perhaps even the odd relocation favour. What’s more important is that in the process, you don’t make sacrifices in order for your workplace to allow you that flexibility—under no circumstances should you offer to take a pay cut in order to get it. Not. On.
Lesson 6: Stop saying sorry
Don’t walk into a room and apologise. It’s a bad habit and a majority of us women do it. Admit it, you do. If someone asks you to do something, don’t apologise for not having done it just yet. If you’re asking for something from someone, don’t apologise for doing so.
Stop saying sorry for doing your job.