Your “Aggressive” is Probably Their “Assertive”
Articles for women always talk about being “assertive.” This is a weak word that offends no one. It’s not good enough. “Assertive” will keep you a basically obedient mid-level employee forever.
If you’ve been socialized to be pleasant and accommodating, what you think of as being “assertive” probably doesn’t even register. Even what many women think of as “aggressive” is only barely assertive.
If your social circle is made up of excellent people who care a lot about being respectful to others, that’s great – for your friendships. But it leaves you unprepared to stand up for yourself (and others) in a work world that doesn’t play by those rules. You need to recalibrate.
Spend some time around the most entitled, privileged, hard-charging business bros you can get access to, even if you hate them. Attend venture capital information nights or investment club meetings. Learn from them. Don’t be afraid to get aggressive.
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