February 8, 2012

News & Opinion: Sharpen Your Heels

By: Sally Haldorson @ 9:38 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Mrs. Moneypenny, long-time Financial Times columnist, concludes her book, Sharpen Your Heels: Mrs. Moneypenny's Career Advice for Women, with this:

One more piece of careers advice.

A final word to all the ambitious women who will read this book. When you get to the top -- and if you follow my advice, you will do so -- remember to turn round and reach back to help the generation of women behind you.

As Madeleine Albright once said, 'There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.'

At the risk of 'giving away the ending' I thought it was critical to highlight this section because Mrs. Moneypenny is doing just that -- reaching back, or rather, reaching out -- to women who need a hand up or a way through the obstacles that might appear in their career path. While a common refrain in this book is that a woman can't have it all even if she is doing it all, she is very clear that women can have success. At any age. By any personal definition.

If you are still in school, or university, or halfway through your career, or even retired and wondering if you have left it too late to try for success, read this book and see if it inspires you. There is no specific time in your career when you will need more, or less, help and support--at every age and at every stage women do better when they have the right ideas, the right focus, and the right advice.

In her signature witty and pragmatic style, Mrs. Moneypenny encourages ambitious women to first believe that it is not too late, whether you are making a career change, coming back to work after giving birth, or even in retirement. Then, she advises: build and utilize your network relationships; learn to say no (even if it means choosing a board meeting over your child's concert); allocate your time and energy wisely by deciding what matters to you most; become financially literate (you need not be an accountant or MBA to work your way up, but you should be able to talk like one); promote yourself; and ask for help.

Perhaps the most intriguing chapter she offers is titled "The Third Dimension" which is "all about doing voluntary work in order to further your career." She cautions that some "may find that [suggestion] rather mercenary..." but "[f]inding a third dimension that benefits you, your career, your business or your family in some way at the same time as you are able to volunteer your skills creates a virtuous circle from which everyone profits."

And so it comes full-circle that Mrs. Moneypenny has dedicated herself to helping other women achieve success both as an example of success--in addition to her work as a columnist, she is a "TV personality, owner of a small successful business, wife, and mother to Cost Centers 1, 2, and 3"-- and an author of Sharpen Your Heels.


About Sally Haldorson

Sally Haldorson's job as 800-CEO-READ’s General Manager is to make 800-CEO-READ a great place to work for our employees, and a consistently high-performing customer service organization for our clients, authors, and our partners in the publishing industry. In addition to her General Manager duties ensuring collaboration, integration, and quality, she reads, writes, reviews, curates, and edits for the company. Helping craft The 100 Best Business Books of All Time used parts of both skill sets. Outside of work, she is most likely to be found hitting a tennis ball around or hanging out with her boys (husband, child, dog) at home.