I am aware that the women (we) are out at dinner and not at work but we are all working women. Maybe we're intimidated, or learning not to be intimidated or not intimidated at all but we're out there, making it, with or without a man, even in spite of men.
I went to another meeting yesterday. Fortunately, the client was around the corner from our offices so there was none of the driving I dislike.
I know, I know, I seem to only attend meetings instead of do work. Actually, I do a lot of work. 🙂
There were 2 things I got out of that meeting (on a personal level):
- There are indeed men who see women as “less” than men. These men are not open or upfront about how they feel about women but the truth is they can be rather rude to us. It shows when they interrupt us when we speak. Not all men have this bad habit of manterrupting. My counterpart at a client, a male Accountant (or whatever his official title is), is a respectful man. He was firm and confident but respectful. He let me speak. In fact, the other man in their team also asked me to continue with my explanation (which was initially manterrupted). Perhaps, only a few millions middle-aged white male, Managing Directors from Europe mainly, such as the one who manterrupted me, feel that women don’t deserve to have a voice and be heard. But, I, personally, must speak, not only because I’m a woman who must make my word count quota for the day (according to the caveman). Men like him must get used to the fact that we, women, are coming out of our shells and we will not allow men to disregard us anymore. If we have something to say, we will make our voices heard. In fact, I should already be training my daughter the value of her voice.
- Employees of huge corporations and multinational companies, especially senior managers and/or executives, used to intimidate me tremendously. I realized from the last few meetings that I do not cower anymore. I face them with as much confidence as they have. It must be age and experience – ah, the beauty of getting older! Thinking about it, I reckon I have not had this daunting feeling for some time and I was simply inattentive to my growth. Similarly, I am probably facing my nemesis – that self-worth issue, and I am beating it.
Looking at work or business, it is my opinion that the following are good pieces of advice to heed. Although primarily a finance person, I am very much involved with operations and I have exposure to the reality out there. I could wish to be left alone in my own little finance world but the fact is we play a critical support function to the CEO or MD and all the stakeholders. I see and hear stuff. Millions. Perhaps I exaggerate.
Do not take too much chances
I didn’t use the word ‘many’ for a reason. I don’t mean number of chances. I mean over-the-top chances. Take as many chances as you can. Grab every opportunity that comes your way. But, don’t take incredulous or unreasonable chances. Sometimes, the millions are not worth the risk. Why? This takes us to point below, ‘Do not overestimate your capability and power’).
Do not be too gullible
I have a tendency to be gullible, which can be quite frustrating in a work environment. It is really only cute in a romantic relationship when my man must be assured that he is the man and I am the woman who needs him. Gullibility could land us in a costly lesson when we place our faith in the promise of business that doesn’t come through.
Know and observe the PPP
Always, always adhere to the policies, processes and procedures (“PPP”). Even if the person “giving” you the business is the CEO or Chairman of the Board, an organization has policies that must be followed. Ignoring the PPP may result to loss of business/income and/or expenses not reimbursed, which could amount millions (of <insert currency here>). While the existence of a verbal agreement may be proven although possibly onerous, one can avoid unnecessary waste of time and money on lawsuits by having written contracts in place.
Do not overestimate your or anyone’s capability or power
Be confident but be a little like an Accountant (but not like me on a personal level with some self-worth issue) and be conservative. That way, you don’t find yourself in a situation where you have to justify what you have originally presented and when becomes apparent that it is an impossible task without being the obvious opportunist, the situation could be quite difficult to salvage. Those millions gained while being an opportunist can easily and quickly dwindle away while at the same time, the opportunities have disappeared.
There’s value in delayed gratification
Stay away from short cuts. There is a difference between working smart and taking short cuts. It will be hypocritical of me to say no to easy money especially if it is millions of dollars but it doesn’t take the place of sustainability. It sure is nice to earn at least 60% profit from one job but it is not ideal for that once-off job to replace consistent earnings of 15% from many jobs. It is worse if that 60% is earned as a result of bribery and corruption.
Do not be greedy
Even if a person is an easy target and can be taken advantage of, do not fall for the temptation of greed. Bridges are easily burned when greed is present. Sooner or later (sooner being by the next project and later can be as early as the following year), others will find out and trust will fly out of the window. With the exception of stupidity interfering, a broken trust will remain broken as much as a cracked glass will never lose the crack. A crack on a vase may give it character but would you like to be known as dishonest, greedy and/or untrustworthy?
I hope I make sense.
In business or in one’s career, character and reputation is of utmost importance. We say that we’re always selling – selling our knowledge and skills, selling ourselves. Who will buy a bad reputation? Temptation is a formidable adversary but it is possible to be conquer it. Be honorable.