Sisters, raise your hands and stand up for how good you are. Otherwise no one will notice you, especially in this age where “personal branding” is so powerful and, perhaps, necessary for career growth.
Clay Shirky, of New York University and author of my favorite social media book “Here Comes Everybody,” writes a thought provoking rant on his blog this week aptly titled “A Rant About Women.”
Shirky’s point is that talented women are often overlooked by less competent men because we women don’t know how to raise our hands and say how good we are. Without being assertive and advancing our own cause, we get overlooked. Way too many of the male “arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks” (Shirky’s words) get the book contracts, the promotions, the funding, the keynote speaking slots.
However, even in an ideal future, self-promotion will be a skill that produces disproportionate rewards, and if skill at self-promotion remains disproportionately male, those rewards will as well. This isn’t because of oppression, it’s because of freedom.
When I speak at conferences I’m usually the only woman. When I look at my library of professional books I see almost all male authors. When I look at annual reports the faces are male. It’s not that women aren’t as competent, it’s just that we find it distasteful to be self-promoters. Yesterday I saw tweets from a former male colleague: “My book’s still selling big.” “I’m on another best seller list.” Oh puhleeze, I thought. But the fact is that he is on the best seller list even though the book is only so-so.
Sisters, it’s time to put ourselves out there more and not worry about failing publicly. It doesn’t hurt that much (believe me!) and you still make a giant step compared to the baby steps when you’re invisible. Let’s stop worrying what people might say about us. (Chances are it will be good anyway.) We have to become much more comfortable with tooting our own horns ’cause no one else is going to do it. Raise your hand and say “I can do that.”
This is road to advancement.
If you’re ever worried or hesitant about taking a chance, reach out to me and I’ll give you a boost. Or follow Valeria Maltoni, a brilliant marketer who is generous in helping other women and also recognizes that women need to raise their hands more often.
Let’s show the world that you can advance your career by standing up and stepping out — without a trace of the arrogant jerk.