Women can be extraordinary business leaders. Jane Miller is no exception. She recently schooled us on common misconceptions, mistakes and her new book, too.
Jane Miller has gifted the world a no-nonsense (well, maybe some delightful nonsense) guide to kicking ass in the business world—in spite of all the perceived trials and tribulations that come with having a vagina.
Jane did us the honor of answering five questions about her observations in the male-centric business world and on her new book, Sleep Your Way to the Top. If these answers don’t make you want to take over the world, we’re not sure anything will.
Five Questions With Jane Miller
1.) We’re so excited about this hilariously-titled, super-inspired book. What make you want to write Sleep Your Way to the Top?
I was doing a tremendous amount of mentoring, both individuals and start-ups, and found that the dilemmas faced were the same. In fact, as much as technology has changed over time, human interactions are still complex and have not evolved. People can be mean, want power, create expectations for you that are not your own. So, with over 30 years of experience in the corporate world, I thought I could help navigate some of these troubled waters in a funny, yet practical way. My readers could make their own mistakes, but hopefully avoid the ones I made!
2.) At MeetMindful, we embrace the process of living an authentic life as we feel this is what brings us closer to our ideal partner(s). Would you say there are parallels in the professional realm?
Finding your ideal partner has some of the same parallels to finding your ideal job. I find that many people try to be someone different at work because they think that is the person who is supposed to “show up.”
Instead, by understanding what you are great at and what makes you excited about going to work, you will have a much better chance of finding work that fulfills you. Being authentic in your work life is as important as being authentic in your personal life.
3.) What would you say is the most common misconception for women entering the workforce? Where do you think change should come from?
In my opinion, the most common misconception for women is that we have to be superheroes at work and at home. We must break down two myths.
First, we don’t have to be great at everything. We can’t compare ourselves to that most beautiful gal and the most athletic gal and the best mom and the most awesome CEO. Because when we try to have all these traits, we lose sight of who we are and what makes us unique. We have to focus on our strengths!
Second, we can’t do it by ourselves. So many women want to try to do it on their own. We must surround ourselves with people who can help us and have the courage to ask for help. Asking for help is not a weakness, it is in fact a sign of personal confidence, self-knowledge and ultimately, strength.
4.) What was the most inspiring (or most disheartening) realization you’ve had in your own professional career? Can you share any funny/entertaining personal stories that highlight this?
One of my biggest realizations in my career has been that TMI is just not necessary in most situations. I find that I tend to talk too much when I get nervous and I talk about things that are interesting to me.
My best example came about when I was interviewing for my last position. My interviewer asked me about my personal situation and I said I had two dogs; but, I did not leave it at that. I proceeded to tell him all about the dogs in a level of detail that was beyond his interest. When I realized my mistake, I quickly added, “well, I am not a crazy dog-person. You know, the kind that dresses up their dogs.” His response: “I am a big dog person, too. My wife and I have a miniature Yorkie. In fact, she is also a seamstress and makes matching clothes for herself and the dog.” Gulp.
5.) If you could have women take away one important lesson from Sleep Your Way to the Top, what would it be?
You are more in control of your life than it may seem. You can create your serendipity by being clear on what you want and having a plan to get there. Yes, your goals will change over time—but continuing to prioritize about what is important to you will help you create a career, and a life, that works for you.
A little about the book (via JaneKnows.com):
Sleep Your Way to the Top is a manual, a mentor, a friend you can count on to help you figure out whether to be a bitch or a flirt, how much to drink at the holiday party, and what to do when you get an x-rated email from the VP. This book will hold your hand through resume writing, acing the interview for your dream job, asking for the promotion, learning to love the job you hate, telling your boss to shove it (or not), and having a friend with benefits at work. Here is your road map through all those difficult situations from female bosses that remind you of Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada to feeling like your voice is not being heard to deciding whether or not you should sleep with him!
Most of all, this book is about a better you, allowing you to capture your own power and reach your highest potential. It is about YOU creating YOUR path to success. By the time you turn the last page, you will understand your choices, what you most want and at what cost you will go to achieve it.
Jane Miller: Jane is the founder of a career advice website, JaneKnows.com, and the author of Sleep Your Way to the Top (and other myths about business success). She is a board member of the Leeds School at the University of CO, Unreasonable Institute, Justin’s, Natural Food Works, El Dorado Springs, Madhava and Rework. She has 30 years in the corporate world, holding c-suite positions at PepsiCo, Bestfoods, HJHeinz and Hostess. Most recently, she was the CEO of Rudi’s Organic Bakery. Jane has a Russian Studies degree from Knox College and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.