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    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

Jokes

Forget glass half-full, glass half-empty. The glass is refillable.

 

I don’t understand why people say hurtful things like “Want to go for a run?” or “Try this kale.”

 

A businessman commissioned Picasso to paint a portrait of his wife. Startled by the nonrepresentational image on the canvas, the woman’s husband complained, “It isn’t how she really looks.” When asked by the painter how she really looked, the man produced a photograph from his wallet. Returning the photography, Pablo observed, “Small, isn’t she?”

 

Let’s eat Grandma.

Let’s eat, Grandma.

COMMAS SAVE LIVES.

 

I’m fine…

Farmer Joe was in his car when he was hit by a truck. He decided his injuries from the accident were serious enough to take the trucking company who was responsible for the accident to court. In court the trucking company’s fancy lawyer was questioning farmer Joe.
“Didn’t you say, at the scene of the accident, ‘I’m fine’?” said the lawyer.
Farmer Joe responded, “Well I’ll tell you what happened. I had just loaded my favorite mule Bessie into the….”
“I didn’t ask for any details,” the lawyer interrupted, “just answer the question. Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, ‘I’m fine’!”
Farmer Joe said, “Well I had just got Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road….”
The lawyer interrupted again and said, “Judge, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to simply answer the question.”
By this time the Judge was fairly interested in Farmer Joe’s answer and said to the lawyer, “I’d like to hear what he has to say about his favorite mule Bessie.”
Joe thanked the Judge and proceeded, “Well as I was saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite mule, into the trailer and was driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the stop sign and smacked my truck right in the side. I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other. I was hurting real bad and didn’t want to move. However, I could hear ole Bessie moaning and groaning. I knew she was in terrible shape just by her groans. Then a Highway Patrolman came on the scene. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning so he went over to her. After he looked at her for a while, he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes. Then he came across the road and looked at me. He said, ‘Your mule was in such bad shape I had to shoot her. How are you feeling?'”

A Crazy Goat

One morning Boudreaux and Thibodeaux are out rabbit hunting when they come across a sink hole. The hole is so deep they cannot see the bottom. Boudreaux says, “Dat sure is deep. How deep you tink it is, Thibodeaux? Thibodeaux says, “I don’t know. Throw dat stick in and let’s count the seconds til it lands.” Boudreaux throws a stick in the hole. It disappears into the darkness and the boys count on their fingers, but no sound emerges from the hole. They try it again with a rock with the same results. Boudreaux then sees an old railroad tie lying in the grass. Boudreaux says, “Let’s throw dat thing in. I guarantee we’ll hear that land.” The boys drag the railroad tie over and heave it into the hole — and listen. A that moment, a goat comes flying out of the woods on a dead run and jumps head first into the hole. The boys are amazed. Boudreaux says, “Did you see dat?” Thibodeaux says, “Dat was one crazy goat! Come on, let’s git back home. Dere ain’t no rabbits here today.” The boys are walking out of the field when they meet Old Man John who says, “Ya’ll do any good?” Boudreaux says, “Nah, dem rabbits is sleepin’ in dis mornin’.” Old Man John responds, “Sometime dey do dat. I’m lookin’ fer my goat, you see ’em?” Boudreaux says, “Yeah, we saw a goat. A crazy goat! He come runnin’ out da woods and jump straight into a sink hole. He dead for sure, sorry, Old Man John.” And Old Man John says, “Dat sound like one crazy goat alright. But it wasn’t my goat – my goat is tied to a railroad tie.”

In support of proofreading

Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.”

Missing sock

After laundry day, a sock’s mate didn’t show up in the drawer. Three days later, he finally appeared, looking disheveled. “Where have you been?” his mate scolded. He cried, “I got all wrapped up in a towel.”

After Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut on air, the New Yorker’s TV critic, Emily Nussbaum, tweeted,

“I am the Whorax. I speak for the sluts.”

Yup:

Everything happens for a reason, and that reason is usually physics.

Sixth Grade Humor:

I’ve been to the dentist a lot, so I know the drill.

Awww…

Two chocolate Easter bunnies were sitting together. One had a bite out of his bottom, and the other had a bite out of his head. The first bunny said, “My butt hurts.” And the second bunny said, “What?”

God and the Preacher:

A preacher woke on a beautiful Sunday morning and decided he would rather golf than give his sermon. So he called his assistant and told him he was sick. He then drove to a golf course that was far away so he wouldn’t be seen by any of his congregation. God and his angel were watching this, and the angel said “I sure hope you make him have a bad game.” The preacher’s first shot on a 350 yard hole soared straight as an arrow onto the green and rolled into the cup! The angel was irate and asked God why he had given the guy such a fabulous shot. God answered, “Who’s he gonna tell?”

Martha Stewart’s Way vs. Maxine’s Way

Martha’s way #1: Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.
Maxine’s way: Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Pete’s sake, you are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it anyway.

Martha’s way: To easily remove burnt-on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover the bottom and bring to a boil on stovetop.
Maxine’s way: Eat at Chili’s every night and avoid cooking.

Martha’s way: When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won’t be any white mess on the outside of the cake.
Maxine’s way: Go to the bakery. They’ll even decorate it for you.

Martha’s way: Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.
Maxine’s way: Celery? Never heard of the stuff.

Martha’s way: Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it.
Maxine’s Way: Brown sugar is supposed to be “soft?”

Martha’s way: Don’t throw out all that leftover wine. Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.
Maxine’s way: Leftover wine?

Where are we?

Two tourists were driving through Wisconsin. As they were approaching Oconomowoc, they started arguing about the pronunciation of the town’s name. They argued back and forth until they stopped for lunch. As they stood at the counter, one tourist asked the female employee, “Before we order, could you please settle an argument for us? Would you please pronounce where we are…very slowly?”The girl leaned over the counter and said, “Burrrrrr, gerrrrrr, Kiiiing.”

Who’s blonde?

A blind man goes into a bar and orders a drink. After a few minutes, he yells to the bartender “Hey, you wanna hear a blonde joke?” The bar immediately becomes absolutely quiet. In a low voice, the woman next to him says, “Before you tell that joke, you should know something. The bartender is blonde, the bouncer is blonde and I’m a 6′ tall, 200 lb blonde with a black belt in karate. What’s more, the woman sitting next to me is blonde and she’s a weight lifter. The lady to your right is a blonde, and she’s a pro wrestler. Think about it seriously, Mister. You still wanna tell that joke?” The blind guy says, “Nah, not if I’m gonna have to explain it five times.”

I got the book Jokes Every Man Should Know, but the only ones I thought were funny were the jokes for kids. My husband says it’s because of my juvenile sense of humor. Here are a few:

Three guys are stuck on a desert island. One day, they find a magic lantern in the sand. They rub it, and out comes a magic genie! The genie says that each guy can have one wish. The first guy says, “I wish I were off this island and back home.” Poof! He disappears. The second guy says, “I wish I were off this island and back home.” And poof! He disappears. The third guy says, “I don’t want to stay here by myself. I wish those two guys were back here.”

A guy asks his dumb friend to help him with something. “I think the blinker signal on my car may be broken. Can you stand behind the car and tell me if it’s working or not?” The dumb guys says “Sure,” and he goes behind the car. The other guy gets in the driver’s seat and turns on the blinker signal. “Is it working?” he yells. “Yes!” says the dumb guy. “No! Yes! No! Yes! No!”

A guy has a talking dog. He brings it to a talent scout. “This dog can speak English,” he claims to the unimpressed agent. “Okay, Sport,” the guy says to the dog, “What’s on the top of a house?” “Roof!” the dog replies. “Oh, jeez, come on…” the talent agent responds. “All dogs can say ‘roof.'” “Wait,” the guy says. He asks the dog, “What does sandpaper feel like?” “Rough!” the dog answers. The scout glares; he’s losing his patience. “Hang on, hang on,” says the guy. “This will amaze you,” he says and turns to the dog and asks, “Who, in your opinion, is the greatest baseball player of all time?” “Ruth!” goes the dog, and the scout throws them both out of his office. On the street, the dog turns to the guy and says, “Maybe I should have said Derek Jeter?”

I ran across these reviews on Amazon of “For Her” pens. Some great wit here.
http://tinyurl.com/8f7587n

A friend sent me an email “Why Teachers Drink” with some test questions and student answers. Here is a sampling:

Q: Briefly explain what hard water is.
A: ice

Q: What did Mahatma Gandhi and Genghis Khan have in common?
A: Unusual names

Q: Name one of the early Romans’ greatest achievements.
A: Learning to speak Latin.

Q: Name the wife of Orpheus, whom he attempted to save from the underworld.
A: Mrs. Orpheus

Q: Where was the American Declaration of Independence signed?
A: At the bottom.

Q: What happens during puberty to a boy?
A: He says goodbye to his childhood and enters adultery.

Q: What is the meaning of the word ‘varicose’?
A: Close by

Q: What is a fibula?
A: A little lie

Q: Why would living close to a mobile phone mast cause ill health?
A: You might walk into it.

 

Normally, I encourage people to work productively at the office, but I couldn’t resist offering a few suggestions to increase workplace insanity:

Page yourself over the intercom. Don’t disguise your voice.

Put your trashcan on your desk. Label it “In.”

Put decaf in the coffeemaker for three weeks. Once everyone has withdrawn from caffeine addition, switch to espresso.

Some good quotes I heard recently:

From the Trail Blazers Girls Baseball Team:

A woman’s place is at home… but only after she rounds third base!

Jim Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young, about US boards of directors:

They’re too male, too pale, and too stale.”

My thoughts on the Facebook IPO debacle:

To defer the onslaught of lawsuits, I suggest that Facebook rename itself… to Farcebook.

We now have more proof that time equals money. Facebook used to represent a waste of time. Now it also represents a waste of money.

Heard at the Women in Business Symposium:

Love is blind. But marriage is a real eye-opener.

Seen on a sign in Bloomington:

Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.

As a reflection of the ongoing war——I mean, love affair——between men and women, a friend sent these:

“Cash, check, or charge?” I asked, after folding the items the woman wished to purchase. As she fumbled for her wallet, I noticed a TV remote control in her purse. “Do you always carry your TV remote?” I asked. “No,” she replied, “but my husband refused to come shopping with me, and I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally.”

I know I’m never going to understand women. I’ll never understand how you can take boiling hot wax, pour it onto your upper thigh, rip the hair out by the root, and still be afraid of a spider.

A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word. An earlier discussion had led to an argument, and neither of them wanted to concede their position. As they passed a barnyard of mules, goats, and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, “Relatives of yours?” “Yep,” she responded, “In-laws.”

Husband: This article says that a woman uses 30,000 words a day compared to a man’s 15,000.
Wife: That’s because women have to repeat everything that they say to men.
Husband: What?

Man: I don’t understand how a woman can be so beautiful and so stupid at the same time.
Woman: Allow me to explain. God made me beautiful so you would be attracted to me, and God made me stupid so I would be attracted to you.

A husband and wife were having a fight and giving each other the silent treatment. The husband realized that he would need his wife to wake him the next day for an early morning flight. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (and LOSE), he left a note on her side of the bed that read “Please wake me at 5 am.” He awoke the next morning to discover that he had overslept. Furious, he was about to yell at her, when he discovered a note on his bedside table. It said, “It’s 5 am. Wake up.”

And here are a few from The Prairie Home Companion joke show:

Women like men who nod their heads. They think you’re listening to what they said.

Darling, you’ve always been with me.
On life’s long bumpy ride.
Through sickness, hair loss, bankruptcy,
You’ve been here by my side.
My heart attack and the house burning down
That night the lightning struck.
And liver cancer —- and now suddenly
I’m starting to think that you’re bad luck.

After getting depressed about a friend’s (un)employment situation, I went on the hunt for some jokes about the economy:

The only thing more dangerous than an amateur economist is a professional one.

The government undertook a study to find out what level of unemployment was acceptable. They found that a 7% unemployment rate was acceptable to 93% of the population.

Talk is cheap. Supply exceeds demand.

My mother called to say:

Romney is like a hairball in a Republican cat. It can’t choke him down, and it can’t spit him out.

Tweets about Facebook going public:

As if Facebook was ever private.

Kind of hope they get stuck with ‘fcbk’ as their ticker, just to be annoying.

REALLY PSYCHED TO READ YOUR BLOG POSTS ABOUT THE FACEBOOK IPO!!!

After watching the Republican debate:

A little girl asked her father if all fairy tales begin with “Once upon a time…” “No,” said her father, “Some of them begin with ‘If I am elected…'”

The government is sneaky. First they raise the tax on alcohol. Then they make sure the country is in such a mess that you drink more.

FROM THE BOOK:  Work is funny-weird, but it’s also funny-haha. Humor is an extremely useful tool in the workplace, particularly when working with men. I recommend that you learn to tell a few jokes, even if you’re not a big joke teller. There have been many occasions in my career when the guys have started telling jokes, and I was really glad to have a couple in my pocket. Don’t just sit there like a humorless bump when jokes are being told. Don’t you want to defy the “Women can’t tell jokes” stereotype? I sure did. Plus there are so many great jokes out there. I wouldn’t tell mean or insensitive jokes, or jokes that put women down, but I wouldn’t err on the side of being too politically correct either. Guys like it when you take some risks, so don’t be too “proper.” Here’s one to get you started:

A successful businessman met with his new son-in-law to tell him that he was making him a 50-50 partner in his company in order to welcome him to the family. “All you have to do is come to the factory every day and learn the operations,” he said. “Oh, no,” said the son-in-law, “I hate factories. I can’t stand the noise.” “Okay,” said the father-in-law, “you can work in the office and learn the corporate side.” “Oh, no,” said the son-in-law, “I can’t stand being stuck behind a desk all day.” “Wait,” said the father-in-law, “I’ve just made you half-owner of my company, but you don’t like factories or office work? What am I going to do with you?” “Easy,” said the young man, “Buy me out.”

You may also be interested in the articles about humor in the workplace and some humorous pieces. Look under the “Articles” tab.

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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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