THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Working woman: Let your workplace tears flow freely

There's a huge market for telling women how to be happier. Maybe it's because women read more than men. Or maybe it's the discrepancy that women know when they are overweight and men don't. Or the discrepancy that most men think they are good parents and most women think they need to be better parents. The list goes on and on, in a glass-half-empty kind of way.

So here's my contribution to women and clarity. I am debunking five totally annoying pieces of advice I hear people give women.

1. Look at the lists of  best companies for women

This is an advertising ploy. Every time there's a list like this, women write to me from the companies on the list to tell me how much they suck for women, but it's not like I need those emails. I can just look at senior management, which is almost always all men, and see that corporate careers are set up for a one kind of life: very focused, no other interests, except, maybe, oneself. And this is not appealing to most women.

2. Get a book deal that lets you write about men you admire

Yes, it is exciting to get a book deal, but why do women spend years writing books that fawn over the men they work with? Why not just dump the book idea and do the cool jobs you write about instead of pretending you're not interested?

3. Marry a stay-at-home dad

Based on some research, as well as my own experience, I don't believe men are happy in this role. Please, stay-at-home dads, do not write to me to say you're happy. I understand that there are exceptions (and also that all those exceptions happen to be blogging). But I find that stay-at-home dads are actually talking about some other project they are doing that is either a) BS, because they are in denial that they are totally lost, or b) not BS, and then they are not really stay-at-home dads; they're dads with flexible schedules.

Meanwhile, no matter how much money a woman makes, most women try to find a guy who earns more. So be honest.

4. Join an all-women networking group

 There are a million ways to slice the world for networking potential– by location, by interest, by experience, by goals. Why would you do it by sex?

Men do not drop out of work during their highest earning potential years to take care of kids, so they have better connections. And, in my own work experience, men have been extremely helpful. So why would you go to a group that self-selects for people with fewer connections?

More importantly, it's clear that women are not particularly supportive of each other. I would love to tell you that with the post-feminist generation women have stopped back-stabbing, but Anne Manci‘s research at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater finds that the culture in the top ranks is still disturbingly slanted toward women taking down their best.

5. Don't cry at work

Newsflash: Women cry a lot, so let's just stop telling women to be men. People who do best in their careers are people who are their true selves.

And, I have first-hand research on this topic, because I have cried at all levels of my career. (Actually, I cry mostly when I have PMS, but PMS is just your body telling your brain that you need to start crying about the stuff that you've been ignoring all month.)

Here's the big secret about crying. Men who are secure with themselves actually deal with women crying just fine. So any guy at work who cannot deal with your crying needs some therapy. You, on the other hand, are doing just fine with those workplace tears. 


Penelope Trunk has started several companies and worked for many more.