Professional gender equality (for real)
Most career hacks these days focus on women, but guess what? Men still exist too! Newsflash ! And another news flash – men of all races and sexual preferences are ambitious in their careers. Wow. What a concept.
Of course, there is a pay gap. Of course, men have always been allowed to be ambitious without question. Of course, sexual harassment is more often inflicted on women. But there are plenty of men who are underpaid, interrogated for their ambitions and even sexually harassed.
If we truly believe the sexes are equal, we must also offer career advice to men, so with that in mind, here are 10 career hacks for our male readers who want to be equal. After ambitious about their career.
1.) Maintain Incredibly Detailed Notes
Early in my career, I got into the habit of keeping a phone log where I documented every incoming and outgoing call, who I spoke with, and what the highlights were, whether minor or major. I even wrote (in front of management) when the president of the company sat on my desk, inches from me, and lingered to touch my shoulders. Shit. I noted the time, who was at my desk, and what happened. Right in front of him. It never happened again.
Notes, whether digital or handwritten, are an incredibly valuable tool. Once scanned, all meeting notes and information can be searched and easily tracked.
If you meet someone, take real notes and immediately add a calendar item to track them at a specific time (this is the part everyone always forgets).
Finally, keep a journal of your accomplishments so you can suggest and defend a future raise or promotion – it works.
2.) Know your tools
Maybe you’ve recently become really interested in Trello, and at your next job interview they’ll ask you about your organizational skills. Instead of raving, you can talk about streamlining your life with Trello and go on to mention your three favorite browser extensions that aren’t about sports or beauty, but real work.
Don’t forget your tools as you move up the ladder and always refine them – nothing is ever good enough, nor is your process. Test them, be able to defend them and be ready to recommend them to others.
3.) Be a research master
Never stop learning or searching for relevant information. If you’re a new coder, obsess over Stack Overflow over lunch each day. If you’re in the marketing department, follow Quora topics. Read all the industry publications that interest you.
Establish yourself as the go-to person in your office, regardless of your job title. Be careful not to be the know-it-all office, but definitely act as an information absorber.
4.) Communicate like a boss
It doesn’t mean condescending, it means communicate too muchwhich is rarer than you might think. When you meet someone, contact them without waiting for them to join you.
When working on a project with a team, be sure to keep your teammates up to date on what you’re doing (without bragging); too often people assume that everyone knows what’s going on.
An example of effective over-communication without appearing narcissistic is to let your team know, “I’ve completed X and I’m moving on to Y – before I do, is there anything I can do for you folks? guys since I’m at a breakpoint??”
5.) Always ask if you can help
No matter how busy you are, no matter where you are in the hierarchy, stop to ask others if you can just help. Just like with closing #4, come to a breakpoint and ask.
Most people will say no, but a simple “hey, I know you’re working on the Simon account – I’ve got 30 minutes, I could help you reorganize if you want!” significantly helps.
Give them a specific reason why you can help them too. Not only will this make you the go-to person in the office, but it will root you so deeply in the team that people can’t imagine the place without you! What they shouldn’t!
Don’t be boring – know when you’re looking fake and get rid of it.
6.) Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”
Too often, at work, people are afraid of looking stupid for guessing. This can lead projects down very bad paths, so get used to hearing yourself say “I don’t know”.
And then add the phrase, “but I’ll find out!”
Yeah yeah, you already know that advice, but you weren’t told to try this: “I don’t know, but I’ll find out in the hour.” Add a deadline for yourself to set expectations like we talked about in number four.
Or suggest that the two of you work together to find a solution: teamwork makes the dream work.
7.) Be nice, even when it kills you inside
You might hate the guy in the office next to yours and god knows you could literally die if he tells you the same fishing story again, but you spend more time with these people than you do with your own family and they are human.
They want to be heard, they want to belong, so remember, as annoying as they can be, they are people. These are YOUR people.
Be kind and remember that something about you is probably annoying too.
8.) Smile (listen up on this one)
Smile when you’re on the phone – your positivity carries over even when people can’t see you because you’re literally transforming your facial muscles, changing your voice. It’s embarrassing, but so what? Kindness is memorable! Especially smile when someone speaks in a meeting and meets your eye contact – not a seductive smile, but the disarming kind that says “I’m listening and you’re interesting.”
9.) Know Your Five Minute Tasks
If you always know what can be done in less than five minutes, your downtime is never spent sitting there like a moron.
For me, I keep all the unread emails that need some action, and if I only have five minutes until my next call, I’ll step in and deal with one because I’ve already estimated the time that it would take. No downtime, no twiddling of the thumbs. Those five minutes add up to a week!
10.) Get some exercise
Without exercise of some form, be it running, yoga or even just walking, research proves that the brain is less focused, less alert.
We won’t recommend any specific type of exercise, time of day, or anything, but almost all successful executives, regardless of gender, are pretty serious about fitness.
Eat well, get up from your desk and move around every hour, and most importantly – extend your life so you can actually enjoy retirement instead of enjoying paradise (or the afterlife to which you subscribe).
It’s a thing !
If you’ve read this far and you’re thinking, “Lani, I just read the exact same list, verbatim, but it was called 10 career hacks for every ambitious woman, what is that?
You are right. Because guess what? I don’t believe general career advice is different for men and women. Salary negotiation stories are slightly different, suggestions on how to request a nursing room are different, gender identity notes are different, but to succeed in a career, it takes the same courage and dedication no matter what’s in your pants.