March 30, 2012
It's hard to ignore a tip from one of the media's most avid and successful self-promoters, the indefatigable Jeff Jarvis. The man tweets from the desk, the sofa, the plane and probably the car. He teaches, he blogs, he writes books, he travels around the world giving talks, all in the service of his belief in the future of media – the future media can have, that is, if we all think differently. So when, while sitting in his office at CUNY this morning, he urged me to blog about starting up my media business, it seemed churlish to refuse. Even though, as I've said here before, I loathe self-promotion. My distate comes with the territory of being a) female and b) British. A double-whammy if ever there was one.
But at Jeff's urging, here goes. One of my greatest interests for some years now has been the various issues that crop up around being a 21st century woman, particularly in the office. We know only three percent of US Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs, and that there are very few women on company boards. There are fewer female than male entrepreneurs too. And women are increasingly dropping out of the workforce at a certain point rather than trying to juggle work and family. I want to look at WHY this is: not just the big stuff around the glass ceiling and the extent to which institutional bias exists, but why women are less apt to speak up in various situations, whether advocating for themselves or speaking at conferences or talking in meetings. I want to look at why they're less comfortable with negotiating than guys. And I want to talk about how we can get over some of this cultural/societal stuff that clogs up our lives, sometimes without us even realizing it. I know what I'm talking about because I've done all this – or not done it – myself. There's a lot I wish I'd known more about when I was younger but that even Gen Y women don't necessarily know now. Women are *still* sold the idea, subtly or otherwise, that we need to please, to conform, to keep the waters smooth and not put ourselves forward. I say forget that. That's exactly what my show will be about. First episode coming soon.
But to do this I have to get over all my own issues – not just the horror of self-promotion and the tendency to be self-deprecating but understanding the numbers (see above). Not to mention other things I'm lousy at or have barely done in my life, such as presentations, networking, selling myself and so on. From now on I'll be blogging reguarly about how it's all going, and whether I'm managing to shed my old skin. (Actually, I'd love to shed my skin since I've been dealing with acne since I was 12, but sadly that seems unlikely.)