"Now What Do I Say?": Practical Workplace Advice for Younger Women gives women earlier in their careers practical advice about difficult verbal exchanges at work. This book provides a range of responses that might be useful in the moment, and gives some guidance about when and how to use them and what to do when the responses fail to help. It also provides guidance for thinking through, in advance, how to react in support of their longer-term interests in the workplace, including what might help prevent these situations from arising in the first place.
Level-headed advice from a wise mentor
When you are just starting off in your career, a little unsure of yourself and the dynamics in your workplace, an ill-placed remark by a colleague can knock you off your footing. What did he or she mean by that? Was my opinion or work just disparaged, or did I misunderstand the tone of that email? Why was I excluded or dismissed in that discussion? It won't advance your career by going home frustrated, or spending time wishing you had given a better comeback. This book reads like the cool-headed advice of an experienced mentor who has successfully navigated many difficult workplace interactions and wants to help you with her wisdom. Author Anne Krook provides women with guidance on many things such as how to communicate without hedging, what to say when a colleague claims credit for your work, and how to respond to a mean-spirited or sexist comment head-on and with grace.
I'll be recommending this to my graduating seniors
My job's teaching undergraduates, and part of teaching them involves advising them as they begin to navigate the world of work. First jobs, yes, but also internships, work-study positions, and volunteer gigs. So many of the situations and comments Anne Krook writes about in this book are familiar to me. A few have happened to me, but far more have come in the form of stories from students either coming back from summer employment or else in their first jobs after graduation. The advice is brisk, funny, practical, and smart. It's given with a sensitivity to women early in their careers, but you'd have to be a fool not to take much of it to heart no matter your age. One final observation: I believe this guide will prove just as valuable to the young men who read it as to the young women. Many of the situations described here are equal-opportunity bullying, and the responses recommended cross gender brilliantly.
Practical and timely
I hope this book starts a lot of important conversations, not just for young women and the difficult conversations Krook describes and for which she prescribes such helpful coaching, but within the circles of friendship that young women share with one another. The advice in this book is very relevant, not just in a business environment, but for interactions in graduate school (with professors and with peers), professional women in nonprofits and in all vocations where men have typically held power and influence. I find, in my own work, that this generation of women (at the beginning of their careers) share a cultural notion that they don't want to "squeal" about problematic or even outright offensive behavior. What they often don't see is that if its happening to one woman (you), its very likely a pattern, habit or a dangerous behavior toward others. And women aren't the exclusive objects of these remarks or breach of personal boundaries. Ultimately, silence is a destructive and pernicious force to an entire organization and all its members, and Krook offers many tactful and empowering ways to disrupt habits that could easily have far reaching consequences to the longevity and efficacy of an organization.