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What are you famous for?

In business, I mean, rather than your infamy in general.   At a networking function last week I met a delightful partner in one of


’s top law firms.  Let’s call him Mark.  You know the kind of person I mean, the all-round-good-guy who everyone can’t help but like.He appeared genuinely interested as I relayed the story of sphinxx.  As I layered my statistics onto research and the anecdotes of glass ceilings and labyrinths, Mark was in violent agreement.  For his part he pointed out that he’s a big supporter of women in his firm, and enthusiastically introduced me to one of his lawyers who was also at the event. We’ll call her Jane.

“Jen, this is Jane.  Jane’s really one of our assets and she organized a fantastic Melbourne Cup luncheon for all the team – we’re all still recovering.”

  1.   Was the introduction that Jane was expecting?

Two days later at an event for senior women in business, the debate centred on what women can do to get noticed for promotions.  Volunteering was suggested at my table as a way to raise one’s profile; and that performing those no-one-wants-to-do tasks for the boss will put you in good stead.

Bollocks!  I reckon the mere fact that you get the chance to “volunteer” to coordinate a work function – or perform the OH&S audit – or be a fire warden – is because no bloke in his right mind would put his hand up for such a thankless and un-recognised task.  They want the Melbourne Cup lunch, but they’re not going to organize it!  For starters, they don’t have the time to – because they’ve already stalked out and staked their claim on the meaty, strategic task force projects that will put them in front of key decision makers and give them a real opportunity to strut their intellectual stuff.  So they just don’t have time for the left over “tasks” that are about delivery instead of decisions.

Sure, there is a time and a place for putting your hand up.  But if you are looking for impact, then observe where the blokes are channeling their efforts and follow their cue.  There’s nothing wrong with being the social coordinator in your business, and if you enjoy it then why not?  But be aware – it just might be all that you’re famous for.

What do you think about this topic?  Post your reply here on the SheEO blog.


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