I kind of hate to reveal this “secret,” but for the good of the greater generation and perhaps gender — I suppose I should.
When I worked as a freelancer in the film and television industry, I was almost never hired through job sites or lengthy application processes.
I almost always learned of openings, gained interviews or was even offered positions through informational interviews.
Informational interviews: Also known as networking, meetings over coffee, business lunches, online introductions, etc.
When I started to realize my time was much better spent speaking with someone already higher up than I in the industry — even if it resulted in nothing but a nice afternoon learning about the business — I stopped applying to jobs altogether.
Now, this was not a new concept whatsoever — but regardless of how easy it is now to sit in front of our computers at Starbucks researching companies and applying to current openings, it’s much easier to buck up, email someone at the company you’re interested in working for, and ask them if you can buy them lunch in exchange for learning more about how they got the job you want, and what you should be doing to be more like them.
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So when Sally Glick, principal at Sobel & Co. and president of the Association for Corporate Growth in New Jersey, invited me to lunch, I immediately responded, “Yes.”
No, I’m not looking for work. (Yes, I love my job at NJBIZ).
No, I’m not interested in accounting or consulting.
But yes — I am always happy to network because I will always be curious about the possibilities.
Good thing I made lunch with Glick a priority — because in more than an hour, I walked away with six additional contacts, more than eight new ideas to research for the blog, an enlightened perspective and a fantastic new networking partner.
I believed our conversation to be so productive that I thought I’d share some of its highlights on “Breaking Glass” in an effort to encourage not only women, but also men, to expand their networks in the same way.
“There isn’t ‘a man’s blog,’ because there doesn’t need to be,” Glick said. A quick Google search for “men in business blogs” results in quotes from “Mad Men,” tips on men’s fashion for the office, how to write a blog and one extremely interesting read about why men work more hours and why we need to fix that.
Search for “women in business blogs,” however, and you’re bombarded with articles much like what I post on “Breaking Glass.”
That right there, Glick said, proves business is already established as a man’s world and why men don’t feel the need to converse about continuing men’s success in the workforce.
Glick would like to see companies get to a place where diversity quotas cease to exist.
So how do we collectively reach that goal?
Glick says that when women join women’s groups within their organizations, they should view and use them as stepping-stones to then join — and focus their time on — collective co-ed business groups within their organizations.
She also hopes that as the generations move forward and continue to assume equality, change will automatically happen.
“The baggage will be gone, but they also need to remember the reality,” Glick said.
While most millennial women (like myself) have never faced the years of inequality, gender discrimination, or any real Rosie-the-Riveter dilemmas at work — and therefore see their statuses as more, if not already, equal — Glick warns against complacency.
“Younger women accept things as they are because it comes easy to them,” Glick said. “But issues — such as the persistent pay gap — can then fly under the radar.”
Glick also said that she still sees a future for women’s groups in business because women feel more comfortable sharing issues in them rather than in collective co-ed business groups. Therefore, women’s groups will always be available as safe spaces to network and problem-solve.
Glick pointed out that men have been present in the traditional full-time workforce substantially longer than women — so the leaps and bounds women have made in, let’s say, 100 years, are huge.
It may not feel that way, however, to the individual wondering why her colleague got a raise or promotion instead of her.
Glick said that overall, women are not moving up the ladder as fast as men.
One reason, she says, is that men may be more likely to back up their salary negotiations with research, while women are more likely to simply say, “Thank you.”
So if you feel like that might be true, read this article to learn how to be a better negotiator.
Thank you again to Sally Glick for extending the knowledge, invitation and networking partnership to myself and NJBIZ! Looking forward to many more meetings in the future.
Also on NJBIZ's Women in Business "Breaking Glass" blog: