Tall Poppy

Girl power… fail?

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We are constantly seeing #GirlPower #GirlBoss #GoGirl #WomenRule #WhoRunsTheWorld? But, are we our own worst enemies? As a mother of two young children, when I had my babies, especially my first I was thrown into an unknown world of 236 different cries, 457 million different problems that needed solving asap and a zillion different pieces of advice from every person who glanced over and saw I had a newborn. I basically owe my life and my sanity to whoever created the Mother’s Group concept. Those total strangers became my rocks, my lifeline and now, 3.5 years on, some of my best friends. So why is it, in many workplaces it’s a completely different story? When it comes to work, many women can be judgemental and bitchy and let’s face it, plain nasty. Why aren’t women banding together to fight for equality? Equality with pay and job sharing and overall success.

When a Mum sees another Mum struggling at the playground or in the supermarket we generally give a sympathetic look of ‘I’ve been there’ or ‘My child is also trying to kill me today’, but often in a corporate environment if someone seems to be struggling that kind of empathy is not offered, instead it’s an excuse to do a better job than them or take advantage of the situation and in extreme cases, try to steal their role. Don’t get me wrong, I do know of many workplaces where women support one another, generally the all female ones but what I’m trying to say is outside of the ‘office’ women are friends, on the same page and all striving to stay afloat together but this just doesn’t seem to be the case for many in the corporate bubble.

I observed first hand much of this working in newsrooms across the country for years. You see games of all kinds and the rise and fall of many. Cut throat tactics which at the time seemed warranted but now days so childish and nonsensical. In this day and age, women are all striving for the same thing. That magical work / life balance. We all want to be amazing Mums as well as respected, high achieving workers. Many of us also want to work. So why cut one another down as soon as we get up?

I use a real life example two of my friends (one a lawyer and another in finance) who recently had babies and only took a couple of months off because there was a genuine chance their jobs would be given to someone else. It’s 2017 and this fear is still so real. And not just because of the fact that their boss may make the decision to replace them but due to lurking, circling, female sharks who are literally waiting in the wings to snag another female’s job all because she went to take some time off and start a family. It’s Ludacris!

According to a recent Forbes article, we may have men to blame for this kind of female behavior in the workplace. It suggests the male dominated workplace has set women up to compete due to increased scrutiny and a scarcity of top leadership positions for women. The psychosocial factors along with the workplace culture together create female rivalry at its nastiest! But what I’m suggesting is that Women need to practise what they preach. I tell my son at least 10 times a day not to snatch from his brother, and this is the exact lesson grown women need to adopt in the workplace. I have seen the breadth of adversity women can overcome if they just help one another and it’s inspiring.

Some top tips for climbing to the top without crushing your colleagues are:

Let’s be friends

Get to know the women you work with, find out what they have in common and the things they like to do. This will give you some common ground and lay some foundations for a friendship.

Don’t treat work as competition

Because it’s not. Work together and you will always achieve more, way more than you think!

Take the lead quietly

A smart businesswoman doesn’t always scream about success. Be the leader and be humble, that’s the most satisfying success of all.

About Alicia Hall

Alicia Hall is the Managing Director of Project PR & Media (http://projectpr.com.au)Alicia's passion is in media. After almost a decade working as a News Reporter for Channel 7 she covered and produced countless national stories. From the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires to sport, crime and politics. Project PR & Media was borne out of a former Journalist's urge to successfully feed the media with creative, yet newsworthy content and a PR maven’s passion to execute hard hitting, memorable campaigns.Its unique offering gives clients the rare opportunity to work with two experts across separate fields. Alicia is also a professional media trainer who creates tailored sessions to suit a variety of individuals needs. Whether it be broadcast interviews, crisis management or basic tips for answering questions, Alicia teaches you how to succeed.At the start of 2013, Alicia joined the Melbourne Press Club as a board member and served two years. She is also a mother of two young boys. Instagram @AliciaGrabowski @ProjectPRMedia

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