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    Learn to see yourself as others do and become magnetic, magnanimous, and memorable! Savvy advice, specific examples, and tactical exercises to develop your presence—in months, not years.

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    "Great graduation present!"

    Inspired to extend a helping hand to ambitious women working in corporate America, a veteran executive offers honest, practical, slightly irreverent advice about navigating companies that are run and populated predominately by men: how to interpret their sometimes surprising behavior, avoid common mistakes, flourish with the good guys, deal with the bad guys, and nurture a wonderful, satisfying career in a non-traditional role.

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  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    The Spirit of the Discreet Guide
    FIRST PRINCIPLES
    The Facts of Life
    In and Out of the Men’s Room
    Tuning In and Dropping Out
    Hold It Right There, Lady
    Skeptical Spectacles and a Critical-Thinking Cap
    YOUR SISTAS AND YOU
    Whose Girl Are You?
    Taking Care
    You’re Different, and That’s Only Mostly Bad
    Impressions and the Real Thing
    Sistas
    EARLY MANEUVERS
    School Days
    Your First Company
    The Cubette
    NAVIGATION TIPS
    Guiding Lights
    The Big C’s: Competition, Challenge, and Conflict
    DANGER—FALLING COCONUTS
    Sit Down and Shut Up
    How Do You Get Anything Done?
    He Doesn’t Think You’re Very Smart
    But Don’t Be Dumb
    TOUCHY SUBJECTS
    After Hours
    One-on-One: Danger Zones
    Sex At Work
    GUYS, GUYS, GUYS
    The Big Guy
    The Good Guys
    International Guys
    The Messed-Up Ones
    Bad Guys
    Super Bad Guys
    YOU’RE A BIG GIRL NOW
    Managing—Between a Rock and a Hard Place
    Work—Why You’re Paid
    THE EXECUTIVE WOMAN’S DILEMMA
    What? I Can’t Hear You
    Courage
    Common Sense
    A Powerful Combination
    THE PRIDE OF THE LIONESS
    Power and Risk
    Leadership
    THE DIAMOND

Have You Seen My Glasses? I Can’t Hear Without Them.

“I got quoted in The Glass Hammer,” I tell my male colleague.
“What’s that?” he asks.
“It’s a website with career advice for women,” I respond.
“Oh,” he says. Then, “Why is it called that?”
“I guess it’s because you need a glass hammer to break the glass ceiling?”
“Yeah but…” he says, eyeing me.
I speculate briefly about names that he would find more logical: The Steel Hammer, The Nail Gun, The Sledgehammer, and reject them.
“Look, these are girls,” I say. “Don’t overthink it.”
“Okay, okay,” he says backing off.
After a silence, I say, “There’s another one called The Glass Heel.”
“You mean like Cinderella?” he asks.
“No, dummy, that was the glass slipper.”
“Then why is it the Glass Heel?” he asks. “Are you going to stomp on the glass ceiling to break it?”
“Maybe, but that would imply you’re standing on the ceiling.” I scowl.
“Maybe you’re going to take your shoe off and pound on the glass ceiling,” he speculates.

Over the next few weeks, I start seeing glass everywhere. A career advice book for women is titled, “It’s not the Glass Ceiling, It’s the Sticky Floor.” A reporter notes that when women are promoted too fast, failure is inevitable and then they are pushed off the ‘glass cliff.’ Another argues that we need a ‘glass door’ so that salary information is visible and comparable. A ‘glass closet’ refers to the exclusion of gays from certain jobs. Men who are promoted easily in female-dominated industries ride up a ‘glass elevator’ or ‘glass escalator.’

I start making up new ones. Do we need a ‘glass eye’ to view issues of gender discrimination clearly? Would having 30% female representation reach ‘critical glass?’ When the Republicans and Democrats accuse each other of being even meaner to women than they are, is that an example of “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?” Maybe silly ineffective corporate programs about diversity aren’t window-dressing—they’re ‘glass-blowing.’ Does Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination lawsuit against reputable venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins mean that they are now ‘stained glass?’ Perhaps we should refer to animosity between men and women at work not as the battle between the sexes but as ‘glass wars.’ If a woman easily moves into a CEO position that has always been held by a man, is that because their glass ceiling turned out to be ‘tempered glass?’ A woman who takes things personally at work might have a ‘glass jaw.’ Does a woman leave for a position at another company because the ‘glass is always cleaner on the other side?’ When are we going to get down to ‘glass tacks’ about sexism? And I don’t even want to think about ‘glass-bottomed’ anything.

Then I can’t stop. It occurs to me that gender issues are complicated and therefore susceptible to glass half-full and glass half-empty viewpoints. You don’t want to look at them with rose-colored glasses, but you have to stay positive so you don’t end up smashing all the glassware. And if you think about it all for too long, you’ll end up feeling as though you’ve gone through the looking glass…

 

Copyright 2013 Jennifer K. Crittenden

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    Raised on a farm in southern Indiana by an idealistic professor and a feminist homemaker, and after language and film studies in Europe, Jennifer was an unlikely candidate to graduate from a leading business school and enter corporate America. To her surprise, she excelled in her new world and spent the next twenty years building a scintillating career, rising from Financial Analyst to Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary, working for big pharma and biotech companies in the US, Europe, and the UK.

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