Tag Archives: competition

From Ear to Ear

Some weeks ago, I posted an observation someone shared with me that small(er) town folk smile at each other whether they know each other or not. 

Back in  Chicago now, I noticed not one person whom I encountered on my walk this morning initiated a smile.  Only about 30% responded to mine.  About 1/3 of those who responded saw my smile and raised me a “good morning.”

It was very curious to me.

For one, I wondered how my random smile impacted their morning, or if it did.  Even if they didn’t respond, did they wonder why the girl in the Wrigley shirt smile at them?  Did they analyze why I was in work-out clothes at 7:30a instead of a suit?  Did they wonder if they knew me?  Did they settle on the idea that my smile was just a gesture of friendliness? 

Did they pass that gesture on later?

I remember why I stopped smiling at random people.  Too often, it ushered in unwelcome attention.  Some people are idiots.  This is an unavoidable truth.  They cannot distinguish “Hi.  Good Morning.  Nice Day Isn’t It?” smiles from “Hey, you’re hot, wanna do it?” smiles. 

I say, don’t let these fools stop you from being a smile-slut. 

But, there’s one caveat.  Do not, under any circumstances, accompany your smile with the up-down glance.  You will either look skeevy or judgemental. 

Women do this all the time.  We dress up for each other and then eye one another over like cannibalistic sharks in a tank.  Here’s the thing… we don’t need to fight over chum(ps).  It’s not a competition, ladies.  There is enough beauty, charm, grace, sex-appeal, wit, humor, and fun to go around.  Honest.

The other thing I wondered was why it was easy for me to smile at strangers and hard for me to smile at my husband or other family members when they happen to be irritating the goodness out of me.  (I have clearly not yet tackled my “Accept Others” month on my Happiness Project.)

Hub pointed this out the other night after a particularly nasty look, saying, “You don’t treat people you love like this.  You may think what I’ve done is personal and deserves this, but it doesn’t.”

I hate him when he’s right.

I should probably show him a smile today.  No, the other kind.

This One’s for the Girls

I once had an interviewer tell me that his favorite hires were single women.  Why?  Because they had to support themselves (necessity is the mother of invention) and they were hell-bent on proving themselves (ambition, competition, workaholism).  I wanted to be offended but couldn’t be.  In my case, he was absolutely, bang-on right. 

It’s hard to argue with the truth.

My career was one manifestation of “Fake it until you make it” after another.  I own this; I don’t even hide the fact anymore because I actually did ‘make it’ in some sense. I’m also reasonably sure that 92% of people are full of crap so what’s the use of impressing them?   I know that I have a particular set of qualities and experiences that might be interpreted as skills to some.  I also know that those skills are pretty damn valuable. 

So when I was recently offered a consulting role in addition to my full-time position with Technorati, I had no problem turning down the opportunity because it didn’t pay enough. 

What is ‘enough’?  That’s highly subjective but my calculation went as follows: 

What is my hourly wage for my full-time job?  Easy enough:  Salary + Commission / 50  weeks / 40 hours.  But consulting would be in addition to those 40 hours.  It would be subtracting from time spent with my daughter and  husband.  They’re worth every bit as much as I am so the answer is 3x(hourly wage) = HIRED. 

Do I need three times my hourly wage? No. 
Would I do work for less than that?  Probably. 
Do I deserve to be paid that much?  You bet your @ss.  And so do you. 

Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge your value before discussing your bargain rate doesn’t KNOW your value. 
Why work for anyone who doesn’t know your value?

But what absolutely bewilders me is that women who are wildly accomplished in their field still feel that tape-worm of doubt gnawing away at their moxie.

Last night I enjoyed a social media event here in St. Louis that was well-attended by some such women.  These women have marked achievements in marketing, journalism, social media and the like.  They are successful writers, speakers, strategists, and entrepreneurs. And every single one of them said some version of the following:

“I don’t know what I’m worth.”


There’s no easy way to say this:  If you don’t know your value, don’t expect anyone else to know it.

Now that I’m back in the comfy embrace of my media world, the reciprocity switch has been firmly locked in the upright position.  Peers, colleagues, strangers, clients, and headhunters have all materialized with ideas, projects, jobs, searches, requests, and business. 
The universe has affirmed my decision with a dance in the end-zone.

When connecting some industry friends to one particular job opening, I heard it again – the hushed tone that ordinarily uninhibited women use when admitting some perceived shortcoming.  This time, that shortcoming was social media knowledge.  This branch of marketing is so nuanced with tentacles in search, design, writing, word-of-mouth, reputation management, and CRM that nearly everyone I have ever met in my entire life has some kind of knowledge to contribute. 

Yet, these women were essentially counting themselves out because they hadn’t written the book, or any book, on the topic.  This is just crazy talk.  Everyone can’t be Chris Brogan, and even the man with the plan makes mistakes.

Me thinks there be a branding opportunity here:  The Dove Self-Esteem Project  for business women? 
No?  Ok, well we’ve gotta do something because y’all are too damn talented to keep underselling yourselves. 

Next time you forget that, call me.

I’ll tell ya.