As I have been preparing my return to work the past weeks / months, I have used the talks I have had to test a new me in terms of behaviour: communication from a woman in a man's world.
I either under-do being firm and put in the don't-worry-she-will-handle-it-anyways-box - gosh and now the mom word will also come in that box - or over-do the strict thing, hello arrogance.
So for my recent interviews to come back to work, I have had talks about this with a close circle, aka my coaches and have tried to apply their tips.
LFSTYLT husband gets credit for a lot of those as well as wined-up evenings discussing our very different man vs. woman point of views. ("You are so mean! I would hate working with you", "You can't always be so enthusiastic or people will just use you" as a small extract - thank you, dear Tempranillo for accompanying and helping calm those discussions).
Essentially and you might have guessed, a lot comes down to the wording that I use that, apparently, to "play the game" - just this annoys me, boys always like to play games and compete, girls would rather enjoy themselves and have a good chat - isn't good enough. Or let's say gets misinterpreted.
Either I am the only one here and in this case, you are all playing the game correctly and this post is useless for you.
Or - please pretty please, glimmer of hope - there are some of you out there who also think they are playing the game and somehow when communicating the end result goes all wrong or not like you had expected and planned.
So here is what I recently tried to apply:
1. When in the interview / discussion...
...it is not I would rather not work on blabla or with blabla...
...it is I wish to work with / discover new projects / divisions.
And no babbling from the beginning where Eve and Adam met. If they are smart, they will get the message. If not...well then you don't want to be working together anyways.
I must admit this was tricky and I didn't quite pull it off as some of the negative stuff I still blurted out in a recent chat because I just wanted to make my point.
And honestly, I pretty much regretted as soon as it came out. It just didn't add anything to the conversation and made me feel thrown back a few years behind, Me Junior, You Senior. Next time I will kick myself beforehand.
2. When thanking for an interview....
...the interview was not positive or very good or kind or you had a great discussion...
...It was "ok".
Haha I know this sounds like caveman language to me as when Jane tries to communicate with Tarzan.
Plus I actually find this sounds impolite.
But...I did try it...and it actually worked!!! No hard feelings, the person opposite must have thought "Wow, this woman knows how to play the game!"...or just didn't even notice - unfortunately more likely.
In any case, this seems the way to go.
3. Giving feedback after an interview...
...is not I am really interested in this super challenging job - with EAGER written all over - ok and even worse would be with desperate!
...but: I am interested in further discussions.
That is it. No matter if just interested, pretty interested, very interested, absolutely out of my mind interested.
Just facts, no blabla, no pretty writing, no adjectives...
I also tested this one, actually with 2. and it went pretty well. No it went well :).
Meaning I actually got a positive response PLUS: it gives me the liberty whilst chatting with other to not over-commit and get myself in an uncomfortable situation. (Oh, I had understood that you really really wanted this position and this was your preferred scenario blabla).
4. Requesting feedback...
(you don't want to put yourself too much out there maybe they didn't enjoy the bubbly chat as much as you did)
...is not an unsure "so, if your feedback is positive as well, please let me know the next steps blabla"...
...it is a crisp, before signature, "I look forward to your feedback" FULL STOP.
The tone...always the tone, I always fear I am being too harsh, impolite, dry...but again: tested and approved!
5. Discussing next steps...
...is not "please let me know the next steps in the process blabla from your point of view blabla"...ok I am exaggerating. Slightly. But you get the point.
...it is a demand: "I would like to meet the team".
After all, we are not in a supply / demand context. They want to find out if you are a good match for the team, you want to find out if the team suits you. Win-win only or else no one will be happy.
Granted, those offering a position forget this a little too often...
6. When transitioning to the new position...
...it is not: "oh don't worry I will juggle between childcare and getting home and preparing Baby Lifestylette's dinner and dial in the call and I can even send the presentation in the evening if you really want me to"
...unlike in my recent post, you are allowed to say "no".
What is impossible, is impossible. Otherwise, you will go nuts, insane, be stressed, and no one will be happy starting with yourself. So if this really is what is expected of you, start asking yourself if this really is the dream job / team / boss...
I have started doing this as now, with Baby Lifestylette, some things really are impossible and funnily enough, people accept it. And they still want to speak with me for the position.
But I also must admit, the "I can also" slipped out in a chat yesterday.
So if I sum-up my lessons learned from the cavemen who play the game:
- Always turn things in a positive manner, they will get the message
- Do not blabla, stick to facts and the essentials - even if it seems to dry, strict...
- Down-play any kind of enthusiasm
- Do not send eager / desperate signals
- There is no one in the supply position, the other one in demand. Both need something so both are on an equal footing
- It's ok to say no
I long enough did the impossible to get that one job because I really really want it and its great and challenging and, and, and...
One day, someone just told me: "You need a boss who will take you exactly as you are and appreciate the job you do" - it sounds so easy...but it completely changed my perspective.
So lets see what happens in the upcoming weeks :)