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How Can I Make My Voice Heard at Work?


Dear E. Jean: I have a quiet personality. I speak softly. I’ve tried to talk louder. I’ve tried saying, “Please hear me out.” I’ve even raised my voice and said, “Please listen!” And yet, 9 times out of 10, men interrupt and talk over me. They even go so far as to tell me to “calm down” when I’ve raised my voice and am in the middle of saying I would like to “finish my thought.” Why can men use a firm voice and talk over people, yet if a woman does it, they want her to shut up and listen? If a woman is assertive, she’s considered a bitch or told to calm down. I’m beyond pissed. —It Just Happened to Me Again!


Again, Mon Amour: As I write this answer, millions of male half-wits are interrupting women. Nothing seems to stop ’em. Even if women keep talking, or interrupt the interrupter, or say, “Let me finish, please,” the chumps interrupt again two minutes later. I have an unorthodox but practical solution: When you’re interrupted, let the chap get four or five words out, and then declare, “You are brilliant!” Add, “I can’t wait to hear what you have to say after I make my point.” There’s not a man alive who will continue yammering when a woman—particularly a woman with the genial expression of a raconteur—praises his genius. Try it. It’s never failed me.

This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2018. Send questions to E. Jean at E.Jean@AskEJean.com.



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Lifestyle

How Do I Get My Boss to Respect Me?


Dear E. Jean: My boss hates me! I just can’t please her. She favors the men in the office. When they do something wrong, she says nothing. If I make the slightest mistake, she storms and reprimands me. She says I don’t follow directions, but I think she misconstrues my initiative as insubordination. Does she hate me so much that despite the time and effort I’ve been putting in, she will hinder my chances for promotion? —Entry Level Forever?

Entry, My Eaglet: Of course your boss hates you. Depending on the hour, the day, and the situation, your boss hates everyone on her staff, in her department, in her building, and in her city who dares thwart her rise to the top. Here’s your plan:

1. Don’t flatter. Don’t cajole. And for gawdsakes, don’t be inventive. Follow her instructions and finish your assignments in a smart, swift manner that makes her look good.

2. Tell her superiors that she is a passionate, wily leader. (And if you don’t let management know this in such a way that it gets back to her, you are not the woman I take you for.)

PS: Read Robin Green’s badass book The Only Girl: My Life and Times on the Masthead of Rolling Stone. It’s chock-full of advice!

This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2017. Send questions to E. Jean at E.Jean@AskEJean.com.



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