Leave Those Cookies Home
Lately, there has been a lot written about women degrading themselves by bringing cookies to work, bringing coffee for everyone in a meeting, or taking on other menial roles in the workplace. If you read everything, you could conclude that your whole career will end if you share those chocolate chips that you made last night with your work colleagues. Crazy? Maybe, but based on my nearly twenty years of work in big financial institutions, there’s really something to what they are saying.
For me, it was the note taking. I worked for a guy who I knew liked how I wrote. So, when we sat in meetings, and he asked me to take notes, I was flattered. I never once thought about the fact that I was the only woman in the room, and I was taking the notes.
I should have thought about it though, and here’s why. Time passed. I got more senior, but I was still often the only woman in meetings, and I was still taking the notes. And it was holding me back! Have you ever tried to write, listen and participate all at the same time? It’s truly impossible. So, I ended up in a lose-lose position. Either the guys were talking over me, and I never got to make my points, because I was writing those damn notes, or I engaged in the conversation and the notes were wrong, and as a result, one way or the other, I left every meeting upset.
And that’s how the downhill slide begins. Leave enough meetings feeling upset, and you begin to dread going to meetings, and try though you may to hide that dread, it will show through, and it will affect your performance.
So what to do when someone in a meeting mentions notes, and everyone in the room turns to you? Suggest that you all take turns, both taking the notes, and chairing the meeting. There’s a good chance they’ll agree, and you’ll walk away feeling great!
As for those cookies, we think your doorman looks kind of hungry!!