August 7, 2014
A sad reality of Hillary Clinton's career advice for women is that it's all about men. How to navigate the sexist taunts that arise in the workplace, how to be less of a perfectionist (because men don't bother), and how to handle double standards surrounding appearance and dress.
The former secretary of State presented this guidance in an interview with Glamour Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive, which will appear in full in the magazine's September issue. In it, Leive tells Clinton many young women don't want to run for office, that they think it's a blood sport, to which Clinton easily replies: It is. Below is her best advice on how to do it anyway.
1. Play the long game.
"It doesn't have to all happen when you're young—I mean, one of the most powerful women in American politics is Nancy Pelosi. She had five children. She didn't go into politics until her youngest child was in high school.... That's one of the great things about being a woman in today's world: You have a much longer potential work life than our mothers or our grandmothers did."
2. Practice public speaking.
"If you're not comfortable with public speaking—and nobody starts out comfortable, you have to learn how to be comfortable—practice. I cannot overstate the importance of practicing."
3. Ask for help.
"Too many people ... have this deep-seated fear that if they ask for help, they will be thought less of. In my [view], they'll be thought more of."
4. Don't be perfect, be willing to learn.
"You don't have to be perfect. Most men never think like that. They're just trying to figure out what's the opening and how they can seize it."
5. Don't be rattled by sexism, but do stand up for other women.
"I have generally not responded [to sexist comments] if it's about me. And I have responded if it's about somebody else, because if women in general are being degraded, are being dismissed, then I can respond in a way that demonstrates I'm not taking it personally but I'm really serious about rejecting that kind of behavior."
6. Your appearance shouldn't matter, but it does.
"I mean, clearly people should meet an acceptable threshold of appropriateness!... But I think that for many women in the public eye, it just seems that the burden is so heavy ... it takes a lot of time."
7. Listen to others in the workplace.
"Keeping your head down and doing the best job you can in the beginning gives you the opportunity to be evaluated on the basis of the contributions you are making. I often would listen more than talk in my early meetings with people."
8. But not too much.
"At the same time, you cannot be afraid to present yourself."
9. Forget insults.
" ... You just have to decide you're going to follow Eleanor Roosevelt's maxim about growing skin as thick as the hide of a rhinoceros, and you have to be incredibly well prepared—better prepared [than a man], actually ... and you have to have a support group around you, because it can be really a brutal experience."
10. If you think you don't want to run, think again.
" ... There are many ways to be influential. I mean, you can work for politicians ... or in government and make a difference."
Marina Koren contributed to this article.
(Image via JStone / Shutterstock.com)
August 7, 2014