In case you are wondering, "D" is my husband -- Dave Liu! As you've probably noticed, I don't update this blog often but I may post more as I've linked this to my Google+ account.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Girl Wisdom

Elisabeth Watson to 1999 Graduate Women in Business National Conference

  • Don't take cost center or support jobs. The big bucks do not lie there. If you are drawn to this work, be the boss. Take commission based or any quantitatively reviewed position because the numbers don't lie when it comes to reviews and bonuses.
  • Decide how much you want and ask for more. Women never ask for enough money or perks. Be tough. It's just like dating. If they can't have you, they'll do damn near anything.
  • Sexism exists, and the higher you go, the more there is of it. Don't talk about it, but expect it and handle it.
  • Speak up. Don't question your instincts or judgment. They certainly do and don't, respectively.
  • Take a "lesser" job for a better boss. If you want to confirm this, call my former assistant. Good bosses clear many obstacles to success and get you noticed. Women bosses are no better or worse than men bosses.
  • The higher you go, the more you have to communicate to more people.
  • The industry and the product matter considerably less than the people and the culture. If I told you what my last company does, you wouldn't stay awake through it. I didn't the first time.
  • Go to school. It's more important to go and to learn than it is to figure out exactly what you want to be when you grow up.
  • Do community work and meet other people who get off their butts. Great experience and contacts, not to mention perspective.
  • Write. As much as possible and better than everyone around you. If you can't, learn. Hurry.
  • Silicon Valley is not glamorous. Software is buggy. Customers know this.
  • Too much travel is deadly. Boring destinations make it worse, but only marginally.
  • Say no.
  • Try to read. This is hard to do.
  • Work on deals, the bigger the better. Don't wait until you know how to start. In Q3 98, I did my first one in the power industry on no sleep, 5,000 miles of travel a week, in a room of full senior execs where I was the only girl AND I was doing the pitch. I did the strategy write-up, after I'd spent 4 days on the account and 4 months with the company, almost. I needed a passport to get there. It was the $4.5M initial round of a potential $100M US deal, and the contract would generate predictable cash flow for 5 years. We won. It was cool.
  • Get a housekeeper and a catsitter. Don't bemoan publicly that you have no wife and everyone else does. This stinks btw.
  • Wear interesting clothes that say who you are. Clones are not VP's.
  • Shoes count.
  • Your first priority is the people who work for you. Their first priority is the customer. If they do something other than manage, they are the experts. Trust them, they know what they're doing. YOU aretheir last priority. Always. Especially around bureaucracy.
  • Girl businesses like flowers, temp agencies, PR,catering, and head hunting make the same US dollars,and lire, and francs, as guy businesses. It's okay to like that stuff.
  • It may be a sign that you are too busy if you choose your eye pencil based on its ability to survive your electric pencil sharpener.
  • Don't leave your baby on the bus. Do have one. We need to maintain competitive advantage here. Try to have a girl. Don't give her a fluffy name. Don't worry if you have a boy. Brothers greatly aid in life skills development for girls, aka survival skills.
  • Return your phone calls.
  • Get a husband or a wife before the good ones are gone. I hear they help a lot. They will be gone before you think they will.
  • A good book will get you through anything.
  • Exercise. Play. Play sports, both those you are good at and those that you aren't. Stay healthy. If you can't, quit. Get a mentor. Either gender.
  • Network with the girls. 'Sfun.
  • Always be yourself. Then everyone else knows what to expect and doesn't waste time. This is true for your own expectations of you as well.
  • Have fun. If you don't, quit. Don't wait. You'll only make yourself miserable and disappoint your colleagues. You all deserve better.

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