Powerful women on what impresses them in the workplace.

Sometimes in life you just want to feel like you’re the shit.

You know the feeling. Like when you get someone a really thoughtful gift and their face changes into that “oh my god how did you know” look. On the outside you’re like “whatevs”, but on the inside you’re like ‘F**K YES I NAILED THAT.’

Or when you run into your ex and his new girlfriend, straight after you’ve had a blowdry and she’s probably a 5/10 and you’re a solid 7/10 but with Kate Middleton hair you’re an 8/10 or maybe nine.

Or when you bake a chocolate cake and it turns out awesome and everyone is like “You are the the tits. The actual tits.”

Not from Woolies. (via instagram/moniquebowley)

Impressing people is fun.

But how do you do it in the workplace?

Given that we’re all about to spend the next 40 years of our life working at least eight hours a day, that’s a LOT of time to spend at work. And there are two ways you can spend that time. You can slip into a funky slump, and just watch the clock for the next 40 years, or you can slay it.

I don’t want to tell you what to do with your life, but I reckon you should slay it.

Here’s a guide to what impresses powerful women, and other advice from women who kick arse on what impresses them.

1. Wake Up Early

Gail Kelly, the former Westpac CEO, only slept 4 hours a night.   Longtime Vogue editor Anna Wintour is on the tennis court by 6am every morning to smash some balls before she even steps into the boardroom.

Starbucks’ President Michelle Gass wakes up at 4:30 every morning to go running.  These women get a jump on the day.  And now, you’re one of them too. And if you’re not, just lie about it. Schedule some tweets to go at 5:30am that say “Morning world! Just popping out for a quick 8k!”.  Easy.

2. Be The Strong, Silent Type

Hillary Clinton said once in an interview that when you first start out in a job, to listen more than you talk. Then when you say something, people will really pay attention.

3. Ask questions. 

Michelle Obama says putting yourself out there and asking questions is a great way to show you’re engaged and interested.  She says ask all the questions, even if they’re stupid ones, because it shows that you’re “driven by curiosity”. And a curious worker is a good worker.

What she doesn’t mention is to be selective about the types of questions you ask. For example, asking your boss when the next smoko is, why there’s no God damn almond milk in the fridge, or how you can claim your iPhone 6 under “stationary” supplies is probably not that smart.


4. HTFU (Harden the f**k up)

Julia Gillard wrote in her political memoir that resilience is key to success. That like a muscle, it gets stronger the more you use it. So the more arseholes you deal with in your workplace, the better.

“Needing to persevere in pursuit of a goal provides the work-out that muscle needs. It is one of the many reasons that I believe schools should have a high-expectation, high achievement culture. It will breed resilience,” she says

So when your boss is a sociopath, don’t crumble. Respond.

5. Be a bloke about it 

Tina Fey says in her book Bossypants that she likes it when women are decisive and then own their decisions. So often women apologise for what they do, and you never see blokes doing that.

“Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”

Yes ma’am.

6. Pull your shoulders back and pretend you’re awesome.

Gail Kelly, Australia’s highest paid banker and the best paid woman says we need to stop doubting our mad skillz and back ourselves. That so many women want to be 100% ready before they are prepared to put their hand up for something. What’s impressive is someone who is  prepared to have a go. ‘Cos that a darn good attitude, missy.

“Be prepared to put your hand up, before you even think you’re ready for a role.” she says. Back yourself. Ask for the opportunities. And dig deep when they come.

And if all else fails, if no one will be impressed by your early-rising, question asking, strong silent type who handles things with the cool calmness of our first female Prime Minister and can dig deep when she needs to, take the advice that Amy Poehler dishes out in her book Yes Please, and:

7. Treat your career like a bad boyfriend

We’ve all had bad relationships with boys or girls. You know, the types that don’t call you back, that don’t love you, that continually don’t give anything in return. Poehler says the idea of a ‘bad boyfriend’ can be mirrored to your work.

“Your career wont take care of you. It won’t call you back or introduce you to its parents. Your career will openly flirt with other people while you are around.” she says.

She also says, actually, if your career boyfriend is shit you can always leave it. Or like she says, “you can always leave and go to sleep with somebody else”

Yeah. (via tumblr)

More career advice:

You need to stop thinking of your career as a ladder. Instead, think of it as a jungle gym.

Nine women on the smartest career moves they ever made.

When it comes to your career, this is the best way to work.

What career advice has worked for you?

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