Author Liz O’Donnell offers advice on negotiating your way to a better career.
Lean in. Opt out. Balance. Juggle. Even the language used to describe the so-called options of working women seems to constantly pull in several directions at once. That perfect storm of exhausting, conflicting demands on the time and energy of working women is the focus of Liz O’Donnell’s book, Mogul, Mom & Maid.
O’Donnell, a public relations executive and founder of the website Hello Ladies, argues that what are often presented as choices for working women really aren’t. Her point is that women’s roles have not kept up with the economic and social changes redefining the American family, and the best way to achieve equilibrium is to negotiate for it at home as well as at work. Here are a few of her suggestions:
Be a “Good Woman” Instead of a Good Girl
Many women, O’Donnell says, are uncomfortable negotiating because it goes against the “good-girl” ideal they were raised with. Instead, she writes, negotiate for the greater good. If you are uncomfortable asking for things you deserve, ask for things your family deserves, such as more of your time and attention.
Negotiate from a Position of Strength
Negotiating is all about give and take. Be prepared to explain why your negotiating stance is good for the other party. Remember that you are not simply asking for something but have something valuable to offer in return. Do some research to find out what that is.
Have a Goal, but Be Flexible
ODonnell emphasizes that negotiation is not about besting someone but about building a relationship. If you have a clear understanding of what you really want, you can be open to different ways of achieving that goal. Seen this way, “no” isn’t necessarily final–it just requires another approach.
It’s easy to lose sight of real women in real-life situations behind the fog of rhetoric and polemics surrounding these complex issues, but Mogul, Mom & Maid does just that, and as such is an invaluable contribution to the conversation–one that working women and those who employ them would do well to pay attention to.
Book Review: Mogul, Mom & Maid