Friday, May 27, 2005

Guide to Unwritten Rules at Work for Women

How Men Think by Adrienne Mendell

I recently checked out How Men Think by Adrienne Mendell from the Sunnyvale library. It was very enlightening and helpful. The gist of the book is that Men see Work as a game. Since Men are still are the dominant number in some fields, such as technology, it's to Women's best interest to learn the unwritten rules then modify their behavior to get along better.

We could debate about the degree to which Ms. Mendell writes about is relevant today, 10 years after the book's publication. I found everything she said was true. Nothing she wrote was ridiculous or exaggerated. She gives plenty of real examples to make her points, plus the examples of situations and suggested responses are from both Men and Women. Plus my own life experience in the Technology field confirms the reality of what she has to say. I can give examples from my own life that parallel the samples in the book. And I'm still in the 1st half of my work career.

I liked that the suggested behavior changes for Women don't include turning themselves into some weird version of men. Instead Ms. Mendell suggests using humor as much as possible to keep your poise. The point is more to put the person on notice that you are on to their attempts to "put you in your place" and you will act accordingly. This is achieved by:

  • Encouraging Men to pause and relect on what they just said or did. (Hopefully they'll consider if they'd do or say the same thing to their mother or sister or how they'd like it if some guy at work treated th their wife or girlfriend way.)
  • Recommending actions that may increase the probability that Men will take you seriously and give you your due respect
  • Reassuring you to keep your dignity when you are put in an awkward position, usually with humor
  • Educating you on alternatives when the other techniques don't work
All in all, it's an empowering book. This 2003 article, The Rules of the Game of Business by: Adrienne Mendell, gives an overview of the 7 rules if you can't get to the whole book.

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