How Women Can Remain Professional in The Workplace

November 7, 2009 by Julie Kovacs  
Published in Issues

How women can be professional on the job.

More women are entering the professional ranks than ever before, and while this is a good sign, women must also keep in mind how they can maintain their position without risking it. Since women are expected to play the same game as men do, it is worth keeping in mind what sort of activities, behaviors, and especially appearance, has influence in the workplace. A professional woman has credibility, which is important in the workplace. Below are some of the essentials a woman should consider when entering the professional ranks in a corporation:

Apparel. The way a woman dresses strongly influences the way a boss and her superiors treat her. Skirts and dresses sinply do not belong in the workplace. Stick those on one side of the closet and bring out any formal business pantsuits owned. If only one or two is owned, then that means it is time to go shopping for more. Colors to stick to: black, navy, brown, beige, tan. Keep on hand several clean button down shirts in the front. Shirts with small patterns are okay; avoid wearing anything that is loud in pattern or color. As for shoes, closed toes with a small heel is professional. At least one pair of pumps belong in every women’s wardrobe. Again, stick to basic colors here.

Family. It is unfortunate how this has become a taboo topic in the workplace, although some people draw the line at discussing things like spouses or children in the workplace. This does not mean that any photographs of loved ones must be removed from the cubicle or corner office. What it does mean is that it is unneccessary for one to mention any personal problems with a husband or child. Special notice for women: yes, it is the most important thing in the world to you that your newborn child has just finished reading the complete works of von Mises. Guess what? You boss doesn’t care, and chances are the rest of the people in the company do not care, either. Avoid talking about your child’s accomplishments; your boss and fellow workers only care about your accomplishments in the workplace. Learn to compartmentalize and you will be on your way to climbing the corporate ladder.

Demeanor. The professional workplace is no place for drama queens. It is an unnecessary to make a mountain out of a molehill if something goes wrong. Avoid being overly emotional in any given office situation.

Gender relationships. This is an increasing problem, even though by law sexual harrassment is illegal. Most workplaces prohibit such relationships between men and women. Women are more likely than men to start acting as if they are seeking a pick-up in the workplace and give the impression they entered the workplace for one reason only: to catch a man. Many men in the workplace are already married and have children at home. Even though many men cheat on their wives in the workplace, this does not mean that the green light should be given to women. Women should avoid being giggly, giving the eye to men, and chatty with men. In fact, studies show that the more often a woman talks to a man in the workplace means that she is moving in on him. Physical contact is another no-no and should be avoided at all costs. The exception: when giving a handshake to a superior or being introduced to a new person in the office.

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