We've all heard relationship advice like "follow your heart" and "don't give away the milk for free." Turns out that these old adages are not just for landing Mr. Right -- they can also help you find the right career path. Lemondrop talked to Nicole Williams, founder of WORKS by Nicole Williams
and author of the recently released "Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules Into Career Success,"
to find out more.
1. Don't Tell Him You Want Kids on the First Date.
This one is obvious when you're on a date with a new guy, but not so obvious when you're interviewing for a new job. Technically, employers aren't supposed to discriminate against women who have kids or want to have kids. But if you sound too eager to start a family (and possibly leave the company or ask for flextime), it could backfire.
Williams recommends asking about company policies in a vague, abstract way. "That's such a hard question to ask, because the fear is that you're asking because you want to work a three-day workweek," she explains. "You have to be delicate. If it comes up, talk about in the future tense 'yeah, maybe one day.' You can ask them about their family life. You're not asking because you want a kid. You're asking about the culture of flexibility."2. Don't Bash Your Ex.
Sure, we know it's bad form to dish about your egotistical boyfriend, but it's just as bad to speak ill of an over-critical boss. "It's never good form to talk negatively about a past employer," says Williams. "If you're seen bashing someone, the expectation is that you'll do that to them as well."
Still, sometimes nerves cause us to overshare. When new prospects ask why you're on the market, Williams suggests playing a little coy. "There are ways of couching it," she says. "'We both decided it was the right time to move on.' 'We grew apart from one another.' 'I wanted to take on a new challenge.' Be evasive. The employer picks it up that the relationship didn't work out."
3. Keep the Fire Alive.
Just as romantic relationships have their highs and lows, many people experience boredom or burnout on the job. However, Williams says it's your
responsibility to stay engaged and interested, not your boss'. "In order for there to be chemistry, you have to be excited by it," she adds. "Take a meeting in a new location. Ask questions. Brainstorm new ideas. Have fun with it, so that it doesn't feel like such a drag."
Of course, sometimes it takes some distance to fan the flames and reignite passion for your work. "Sometimes the solution isn't to work more hours," adds Williams. "If you're finding that you're hitting a bit of a crossroads or a crisis point, sometimes you need to spend more time with friends or by yourself. Step away and do something you enjoy instead of working seventy hours a week. You'll go back to the relationship refreshed."
4. Have Others Sing Your Praises.
Having a friend talk you up to that hottie at a Halloween party can score you major dating points, just as positive feedback from colleagues or clients boosts your boss' opinion of you. Williams recommends forwarding your boss emails from satisfied customers or clients so the praise has credibility.
"Whomever can speak to your dedication, drive, and commitment [is a great promoter]," says Williams. "Oftentimes you're doing your own PR. You need to sell yourself continually. If you just lay low, how are they gonna know you're doing great work?"
5. Be Willing to Walk Away.
As Williams points out, "too many women stay way too long in the wrong relationship or the wrong job because they don't think they have options. I call total bullshit on that. If you're not being treated well in your workplace, you need to be willing to walk away." After all, the longer you stay with a company or a relationship that isn't working, the worse it gets!
So, what should you do? There's always another job opening (even during downturns), but Williams suggests that some women are better suited to being entrepreneurs than working at a company. "It's a difficult step to make," she says. "But it can be highly rewarding financially and emotionally."
For 15 more dating and career lessons from Nicole Williams, check out "Girl on Top."