Date Published: 1/17/13
This novel is a scandalous tale of the bad behavior that goes on in the world of high finance. In the background, the nation's economic crisis is unveiling as the banks play a central role. It is told through the eyes of 30-something Leigh Boyer, who is thrilled when she is hired as Director of Corporate Citizenship at a major Wall Street firm, Metropolis (Metro) Financial. Leigh feels that she has finally "made it," successfully hiding a provincial inferiority complex by reinventing herself as a "real" New Yorker, replete with Jimmy Choo shoes, full-body aggression on the subway, and a Wall Street job where the everyday madness would shock her polite Midwestern family. Unfortunately, her dream job turns out to be a nightmare, as the Wall Street of Leigh's imaginings is eroded by one eye-opener after another. Leigh quickly learns that she is not alone in harboring secrets—the company is riddled with them. While she is responsible for portraying her employer as a good corporate citizen, in reality, Metro is anything but. Instead she finds herself dealing with infidelity scandals, embezzlement crimes, cad-like behavior, unethical financial schemes, and "accidental" customer deaths. Further complicating matters is her love affair with a hated New York Times business reporter, who publishes the exact secrets Metro is trying so hard to keep hidden. Leigh's escapist James Bond fantasies and a few hard-won allies help her bear the insanity that is business as usual at Metro.
Talk about a subject that I am not at all familiar with. Wall Street. I mention this because that being said, Leigh Boyer has managed to write this story in a way that I learned a ton while being entertained. Lets be honest, Wall Street does not exactly scream love and humor. Leigh Boyer has managed to create a main character who is witty and funny and will entertain you til the very end. Reading about Leigh was just plain fun!
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Entering a male dominated workplace, it’s easy to assume that learning how to fit in and communicate effectively with the “guys” is the biggest challenge. Surprisingly, it’s equally tricky navigating the political waters with the other women in the office. Dynamics in almost any office, regardless of level, can sometimes seem more like recess in Middle School or a high school lunchroom. While it’s always tempting to be “one of the girls” and join that clique you may or may not have been a part of in high school, professionals need to choose their friends carefully in the office. How can you navigate these waters successfully? These are the five things that have helped me the most in navigating sticky office politics with women:
1. Dealing with the other executive women: Women are much harder on each other than anyone else in office politics. The women executives have all worked very hard and often made many sacrifices, personal and professional, to get where they are today. They aren’t eager for any more competition, and while some can be great mentors, you have to be careful, because many are extremely cautious and will assume you may have ulterior motives. Make sure as you look to build relationships with senior women executives, you are honest, forefront, and straightforward. Be helpful, and don’t be the one who always wants something from them in return. Don’t keep score with your superiors.
2. Dealing with the Administrative Assistants: As for the administrative assistants and junior women in the office, you have to learn how to be friendly, but be cautious with your personal friendships with these folks. The Admins are the power behind the throne and have the keys to the Kingdom, so they have to be respected at all times. If they like you, it will be easier to get that meeting with Mr. X, or make sure your work gets prioritized in the queue. If they don’t like you, watch out! I’ve seen more women frozen out of important meetings, or had Admins “forget” to forward information,or simply leave your important work at the bottom of their list, for folks they don’t like. Make sure you are friendly but genuine with the power behind the throne.
3. Threading the Needle with Office Gossip: In any office, information gets passed along the grapevine, long before it comes out in any formal way. While you need to know what’s going on, never be the one known for being snarky or throwing other people under the bus. If you are the one known for spreading malicious information, it’s only a matter of time before you are subject to the same treatment. However, if you are always being positive about folks, you are less likely to be a target of negative feelings in general.
4. Be sincerely positive and complimentary. Take the time to be polite, accommodating and complementary, in a sincere way, to those around you. While dropping off work to a colleague’s assistant, find something nice to say. Compliment her earrings, or hairstyle, if it suits her. Ask about her family, or how her weekend went. These small efforts to be engaging and sincerely nice to others goes a long way in making sure you aren’t seen as the office problem child.
5. Don’t lie or make false emergencies. Women in the office are often balancing home and work duties, and everyone has a moment where they need an afternoon off, whether it’s to see their child’s recital, go to the doctor, or simply get their hair done. However, if you lie about your need to take the afternoon off, citing an emergency and someone spots you at the nail salon, it’s unlikely they will cover for you in the future. Likewise, waiting until the last minute to get a project in before a deadline creates stress and pressure on everyone, and if you are known as the person who never plans ahead or always makes things seem like an emergency when they’re not, the women in the office are the first ones who will make sure when it’s a true emergency, somehow, they aren’t available to help.
In the end, office politics is a lot like poker. You need to rack up favors, real and social, so that people are willing to help you out when needed. Likewise, too much bluffing, and you won’t have any trust left in the bank, leading to folks just lying in wait, waiting to see you fail.
Don’t forget to check out one of the best books on this subject- Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office- 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers by Lois Frankel, PhD.