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Bookworm: Help for women execs to know their value

Bookworm: Help for women execs to know their value

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Today was one of those good thing/bad thing kind of days.

Finally — after all this time — you got the promotion. You’ve been doing the work anyhow, so it was about time, and you’d be walking on the clouds except for one thing: The money wasn’t behind it.

You know your (male) coworkers are pulling in bigger paychecks. Instead of speaking up, though, you actually thanked your boss for the measly salary increase, and now you’re angry at yourself for it. On the other hand, you feel lucky to have this job.

So instead of kicking yourself around your fancy new office, get reading. Now’s when you need “Knowing Your Value” by Mika Brzezinski.

As co-host of one of MSNBC’s most popular programs, it looked like Brzezinski had it all: a wonderful family, a job she loved, great co-workers and an interesting life. Brzezinski was one of a trio on “Morning Joe,” and while she’d resisted taking the job, she was ultimately glad she did. It was high-pressure, yes, but it was fun, too.

But what wasn’t fun was that Brzezinski’s paycheck was inadequate, she had to fund her own wardrobe, and her co-host was making 14 times her salary. She asked for raises, but was turned down.

Did other women have this problem? Looking around, it didn’t seem so… until Brzezinski started asking women in C-Suites about their experiences. That was when she learned that what happened to her is all too common.

So if you’re in the same situation, what can you do?

Learn, first of all, to ask for what you want. Raise your hand and keep it up.

Though the word “lucky” is all over this book, take it out of your vocabulary. You worked to be where you are. Get over feeling “lucky.”

Take emotion out of the process; business is just business. Nurture your strengths as a woman and stop trying to act like a man. Be authentic, forget about “being liked,” learn to say “no,” and don’t be embarrassed about sticking up for yourself.

And if you’re a woman in a C-Suite position, reach back and pull another woman up. As Brzezinski says, “… let’s get it done.”

A tall order? Absolutely, but “Knowing Your Value” is also an eye-opener for women who are wallowing in a seemingly dead-end job, watching their male co-workers zoom up the ladder.

By using her own experiences (as well as wise words from dozens of other successful women), Brzezinski forces readers to start thinking about their own situations. More importantly, she calls for us to stop being wimpy, to stop apologizing and kowtowing, and to stop denigrating other women who are struggling with the same experiences.

This book — now available in paperback — is a little shocking, mostly because it bluntly points out what, for many women, is the obvious. If that angers you and makes you want to change the way you work or do business, then “Knowing Your Value” is a good thing to start with.

‘Knowing Your Value’

By Mika Brzezinski

Weinstein Books $15.00 194 pages


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