What Women Can Learn from Men
Tamela Edwards, Action News Philadelphia anchor and former journalist for Time magazine
From an early age, boys tend to speak out, without letting a fear of mistakes hold them back, while girls often hide their intelligence. Then, in the adult world, the accepted norm is that men are aggressive with their opinions. Even if their ideas are belittled, they'll rally back. They also carry themselves with an air of expectation—a sense that they have worthy contributions and should be mentored and appreciated. This certainly is a behavior that women would be smart to emulate. People pick up on how you feel about yourself, and if you have an air that suggests they should take interest, they will.
When I first got to Time, as a 22-year-old intern, I was assertive in sending e-mails asking people out to lunch and building relationships. I was persistent, perhaps pesky, in badgering higher-ups about giving me chances to report and write. There were people who thought I was too aggressive and cheeky, and no small part of their pique was because I was a woman behaving this way. But when I looked at people who had built successful careers at the magazine, they were those who had pushed themselves and found ways either to enter or work around the boys club. Even if women can't be part of the boys club, we can search out individuals we feel an affinity for and build one-on-one relationships with them.
Katy Sparks, professional chef and author of Sparks in the Kitchen
One way that I adopt a male attitude is by shelving a lot of feelings while I'm in the kitchen. After hours, you get to hash it out. But during the service, you just have to suck it up. You can't be a crybaby if you cut yourself. (Although for major burns or cuts, even the men go to the emergency room.) I've had everything happen to me—cuts, burns, heart palpitations on the line when the pressure just got to me. You just have to keep your head.
When you reach the level of chef, you're like the conductor of an orchestra. You have to modulate everyone while allowing your cooks a certain amount of self-expression. I think women are probably better cooks than men, but because of the time, the energy, and the personal sacrifice that the profession demands, more men have done it.
What I've learned from men is to keep disturbing emotions away from the workplace. I don't share my trepidation if I feel it at work. I'll wait and go home and share it with my husband. And I try to keep my sense of humor intact, which is very male. Crying is more natural for women—it's how they blow off stress. Men tend to use a sense of humor—or do it through aggression, which I don't think is right. One concession to my female side is that I would never be aggressive, except in extreme situations.
Amy Finnerty has written for the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Magazine, and the Financial Times of London.
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