Title: The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate
Author: Fran Hauser
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: April 17, 2018
Genre: Non-Fiction, Business, Leadership, Personal Development
Let us take a minute to appreciate the cover of this book.
I have picked up and read many leadership/self-help books in my short millennial life mainly because of the buzz around an author’s great accomplishments. In addition, I am not one to judge a book by its cover but I have to admit this was sourced from Netgalley purely because of the cover. I had never heard of Fran Hauser in my neck of the internet woods until I got through this book. You can read her accomplishments on her website.
In The Myth of the Nice Girl, Fran unpacks from her extensive corporate experience how she was able to harness her ‘niceness’ into a superpower and achieve her career and general life goals. Drawing mainly from her own experiences and the women that she has mentored over the years, she gives specific examples of how colleagues (because we tend to spend most of our lives working) can easily mistake ‘niceness’ or ‘kindness’ for weakness. Women are caught in a double-bind because if they are nice, they are labelled pushovers, mediocre and people pleasers. On the other end of the spectrum, if they are firm and speak up, they are regarded as arrogant, selfish or rude.
One of the major issues that Ms Hauser tackles in the book is saying no especially when you feel that it could strain a relationship. Popular career advisors will state that is important to go above and beyond one’s call of duty so that you can not broaden your skills and portfolios but also increase your visibility in your company. However, what they may not openly state is that when you say yes to a new project, you also say no other things like time with your loved ones or “self-care” time.
In the chapter titled “Set Boundaries and Be Caring“, Fran shares how she came to prioritise boundaries in her professional life as a nice person. Fran learned this first hand when she became known as the girl who volunteers for everything until her boss automatically assigned her additional tasks. So she mustered the courage with the following script :
“I’ve been struggling with how to talk to you about this. Over the past two weeks I’ve had to change my personal plans three times at the last minute to stay late. I’m afraid my boyfriend is going to break up with me! But truthfully, I wonder if this is a good opportunity for someone else on the team to step up and pitch in.”
Examining this response, Fran was respectable with her boss but still got her point across with a touch of humour. You bet that she not only gained her boss’ respect but also from her colleagues. Since she was able to get him to spread pending work more evenly among her team members in future instances, giving them opportunities to shine.
Some people regard books in the female leadership space as propagating male-bashing. This book is nothing of the sort. Fran clearly shows through examples from both male and female colleagues that it is important to correct people especially when they are inappropriate or acting like bullies. As humans, we are prone to err. That said, it is important to use that situation as a learning point and know when it is time to escalate the issue.
Aside from the stunning cover, readers will appreciate Fran’s seasoned advice and the step by step strategies on how to establish boundaries, negotiating “win-win” deals while being nice, up your networking game and to speak up at meetings. For self-help junkies, this book might have very familiar content but you will appreciate the anecdotes and help you muster the courage to make small but life-changing styles. With endorsements from heavyweights like Arianna Huffington and Randi Zuckerberg, The Myth of the Nice Girl poised to be a bestselling hit, so keep it on your radar.
You might also enjoy:
- Reach Out by Molly Beck
- Worth it by Amanda Steinberg
- The Glass Wall by Unerman and Jacobs
- Mastering Civility by Christine Porath
- 6 Books to Tweak Your Career Outlook
Note: This book and its cover photo were sourced from Netgalley in exchange for a free review.