Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers
This has been a really, really interesting read for me. While it’s geared towards women in the typical corporate work environment, it absolutely applies to us as business owners & doulas. Apart from a handful of suggestions that I think would NOT apply to birth workers (like never cry at work – we cry at work and in this field that’s okay! I totally cried at my last birth, it was so overwhelming and amazing!) I felt virtually everything still would benefit birth workers. From interviews and first impressions to prenatal consults or setting boundaries with clients to how we handle potential feedback that may feel negative and critical of us. This book can help you!
My educational background is sociology (specifically I focused on sociology of gender and women’s studies) so I was fascinated by this book from that angle. Our american society has some pretty strict expectations based on gender, and this book puts a few of those practices under a magnifying glass. As doulas we are obviously working in a field that is rather female focused, but we are balancing that with the very non-gender specific need to run a sustainable business. I like that this book starts with a quiz for you to assess areas in which you may be sabotaging or undermining yourself as a worker, helping you focus on the tips that apply best to you and letting you skip some that aren’t an issue for you.
I read the whole book anyways because it was so intriguing for me! Not that women are the only ones making these mistakes, I know people have done these things regardless of their gender, but women are more likely to practice (or not practice) some of these behaviors in the workplace and experience negative consequences as a result.
Sections include: How you play the game, how you act, how you think, how you brand & market yourself, how you sound, how you look, and how you respond. Some chapters focus on money in particular (Denying the Importance of Money, Being Financially Insecure) and others focus on setting boundaries (Putting Work Ahead of Your Personal Life, Letting People Waste Your Time.) As a doula I feel that some of these tips don’t apply because of the unique nature of our work, but they’re still good to read about: Using Only Your First Name, Using Touchy-Feely Language, Speaking Softly, Feeding Others, Helping. Those are things we absolutely do (and should do) as doulas, and I was amused reading about how those same skills that are important to our doula work are viewed differently in a corporate environment. The doulas role is to provide emotional support and nurturing, but in an office those same behaviors understandably send a different message. Some things that are good for doulas includes the chapter Tilting Your Head, which the author says SHOULD be used in some situations to increase empathy and indicate your are hearing them.
For doulas struggling with viewing themselves as business owners, focusing on branding and marketing, networking, and creating healthy work/home boundaries this may be especially helpful. I think it was one of the most beneficial business books I’ve read, and I hope you’ll check it out as well. I would love to hear your thoughts about it!
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