HUMOUR

Why Maria Clara Wasn't Management Material

In a book called 'Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office', there are sections written as if the author was talking directly to the Maria Clara kinda Filipina. Spot the pitfalls before they trap you.

While the world has moved on since 'the corner office' was the definitive symbol of work success, the book 'Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office' by Lois P. Frankel still contain nuggets of wisdom on how to clinch that elusive promotion.

There is one slight snag: if you are a true-blue 'Dalagang Pilipina', brought up to uphold the virtues of Maria Clara (the ideal woman in traditional Filipino culture), unconsciously or not, you are doomed to fail. 

But salvation awaits should you choose to become a non-practicing version of her.

Stunning, but is she CEO material?
Stunning, but is she CEO material?

In the book, Frankel lists the 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers. Here are seven of them that are categorically Maria Clara-ish:

Mistake #1: Waiting to be given what you want.

Ask for that pay rise. You deserve it. If in doubt about your negotiating skills, read "Essential Managers: Negotiating Skills" by Tim Hindle and Robert Heller.

Mistake #2: Feeding Others.

Don't bring brownies to work. If you must bake, share them at family or friends' events.

Mistake #3 Obediently Following Instructions.

This is okay, if you are a dog competing in an obedience show. But upper management spot management material from those who ask questions before taking on a task then spending time thinking about how to do that task faster, cheaper and smarter as opposed to diving in straight away.

Mistake #4 Being Modest.

Completely, totally and permanently delete the sentence "Oh, it was nothing." from your vocabulary. Today.

Mistake #5 Wearing Inappropriate Make-Up.

Maria Clara never wore them. Wearing too little can diminish your credibility as wearing too much. 

Mistake #6 Speaking Softly.

Volume impacts body language. You don't have to be annoyingly loud but be loud enough to project an air of confidence. 

Mistake #7  Grooming in public or touching your hair in public.

It may look endearing in movies when the girl flicks her hair or tucks it behind her ears as she speaks to the love of her life but touching your hair in public, especially at a work meeting is a big no-no. Never comb your hair or apply lipstick in front of other people, especially workmates.

Frankel has been an executive coach for decades and wrote the book based on her first-hand experience of what made some women tick and what made others falter. If Maria Clara took her on as her mentor, she could have been the first Philippine president!

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