Nice Girls

Stop Being a Nice Girl

Normally I’m not a big fan of the “act like a woman, not a girl” message, but in Nice Girls (Still) Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers, Dr. Lois P. Frankel presents this message in a way that does not come across as condescending. She acknowledges that grown women tend to maintain habits that they learned during girlhood as a way to be liked and protected by those around them. She also addresses in the opening chapter that women receive negative reinforcement throughout their lives when going against a stereotype assigned to them. We, as women, eventually learn that we’re better received when we fall back in line. This is what Dr. Frankel tries to correct through this book.

My absolute favorite characteristic of this book is that you don’t need to read the whole thing to gain value. Dr. Frankel asks that you read 2-3 chapters to start. The book assigns chapters based on the self-assessment in the first chapter. The assessment is your standard “true or false” analysis of your habits. My lowest category was “How You Think,” followed closely by “How You Sound”. The highest area was “How You Play the Game.”

Let’s Talk About Me

I started with the chapter “How You Think” because my score was abysmal for that category. Mistake 53 hit the hardest for me: “Letting People Waste Your Time.” This is already an acknowledged problem for my company, but I think it is especially true for me. A large portion of my role is balancing customers and sales reps in relation to accounting, specifically in relation to customer account management and billing. One of the main time-sucks in my day is compiling invoice-copy requests from sales reps, who receive all initial invoices via email. For the past year and a half, I’ve completed every last request.

My main reason for this is to avoid confrontation. The problem is that by completing every request, I’m sending the message that my time belongs to someone else.

Creating Boundaries

One of the main adjustments that I’ve made is to block time on my calendar. From 8:30 am until noon, I am doing invoicing and nothing else. I’ve also unintentionally followed another piece of coaching advice provided in this book: keeping things on extra chairs in the office. Over the past few months, 2 conference room chairs have made their way into my office and become a permanent fixture by my desk. They rarely make it a full day without being used. We recently received a secondary check deposit scanner that I have yet to get around to installing. The past two weeks that its been in the chair have been magical. I no longer have random meetings at my desk that disrupt my day.

The last tip, that I am hoping to incorporate going forward, is to not be kept waiting. Dr. Frankel sternly advises on page 152 that “if others keep you waiting more than twenty or thirty minutes for a scheduled appointment, leave.”

Bring it Home

One major piece of advice I have is to read your low sections (at least) twice. The first read through should be to mark the sub-categories that you notice are issues for you. On the second time through, read only the headings you marked and make an action plan for how you will implement this advice into your life.

Have you read Nice Girls (Still) Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers and want to share your thoughts? Email me at!

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