Seek out a “reasonable” lifestyle, not a perfect one.
As a professional, there will be times when you simply have to suck it up and work a 24 hour shift. But it shouldn’t be all the time and no one, neither male nor female, can be expected to put in 24/7 effort on a consistent basis. Demand down time!
Make your voice heard.
The days in which you could succeed by just keeping your head down and doing a good job are past. You should still be civil and thoughtful with your comments, but remember that important issues often need to be raised from the bottom up, even if change ultimately comes from the top down. And don’t be afraid to enlist your male counterparts in this endeavor; they are likely feeling a lot of the same concerns but may be more reticent to share.
Role models are key to changing perspectives.
Wherever possible, we need to help promote and elect women to positions of power. When men see women at the highest levels of law, business, politics and academia the image becomes more normative, making it easier for other women to make the same leap.
Find many informal mentors.
Rather than seek out one formal relationship, Rosenberg says women benefit as much or more from learning something from a multitude of teachers. Listening, learning, and participating in diverse experiences are the best ways to grow professionally—and to grow your network.
Network, Network, Network
No one can do this thing alone. The contacts we create follow us throughout our entire careers. Really good networkers use their lists to help others connect, and only secondarily use them to benefit their own agenda. (Remember that old adage “It’s better to give than to receive”?)
The best way to round out your view of yourself is to step out of the office and out of the practice of law to interact with other businesses and organizations. Civic involvement feels rewarding, is often fun and gives you the chance to (see #5) grow your network.
Refer business from women to women.
If “He who has the gold makes the rules” we need to keep more of that gold in women’s hands.
If you have a client with legal needs, don’t just refer that matter to some firm—find a woman attorney at that firm who you respect and entrust her to be the billing attorney for that matter.
Always listen to what a recruiter has to say.
This is just another way to be reminded of our own value. Sometimes affirmation sticks better when it is delivered from an outside source. Not to mention that you never know what might evolve from a single introduction….take every meeting you can get and keep your eyes and ears open for future potential.
Get your own “Guru.”
Everybody needs someone to talk to. Whether it’s a clergy member, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a career coach or someone else, we need to be able to unburden ourselves and get an objective perspective on our strengths and weaknesses. Women tend to be more prone to self-doubt/self-criticism; get someone you trust to help balance the load.
Take the risk.
Whether that means getting in a little over your head for a new job or speaking up when you have something important to say or simply sitting in the front row at a meeting, no risk often means no reward. Think outside traditional boxes. Promote yourself when you have something to promote. Don’t apologize before you offer your opinion. Use your unique skill sets, even those typically “female” ones, to your advantage.
At the end of the day, Rosenberg points out, it will require both men and women coming together to create a major culture shift. But taking these 10 learnings to heart right now is a great way to get things started.