I want to start this off by unequivocally stating that I’m a girls kinda girl. I’m not the type to sit around complaining about how women are “so this” or “so that” or “ so difficult to work with”. I am more than loyal to my kind. That said.
The best supervisor I ever had was a man. On top of this, he was an ethically suspect, morally dubious man. I liked him a lot as a person but he was the opposite of role model material, a fact he would repeat to me ad naseuem. For the most part, not being like him was good advice, and yet, he stands out among a string of warm and supportive female supervisors as the one who gave me the best career advice and most fiercely protected my rights as employee.
He was the first person to ever teach me to stand up for myself, navigate tricky situation and market myself effectively. In effect he was one of the first person who taught me to value myself equally to other people.
I always wondered why his advice was so helpful and after reading this book, I know why, because men are socialized differently.
Girls are taught to serve others, to facilitate communication, to value the group over the individual and to be modest. As young girls we are rewarded for these skills. Boys are generally taught the opposite, they are taught to be competitive, assertive and strategic.
Trouble is, the skills that serve you well as a small child, while valued in the workplace are generally not rewarded. Lois Frankel very specifically chooses the phrase “nice girls” in her title. Her argument is that women need to re-examine the skills they learned as children and work on asserting themselves as adult women. I personally don’t have a specific ambition to have “a corner office” but I think this book should be read by all women, regardless of whether or not they are even working outside the home because at it’s heart this book is not about ambition it’s about asserting your self-worth, something that women are taught to value too little.