How Men Can Get Ahead at Work

Last Updated May 17, 2011 11:50 AM EDT

Right now more men are unemployed than are women. And young men in their 20s who have jobs are not earning as much as young, single women. This is the logical result of the problem of schools favoring a female way of learning. In fact, girls outperform boys in school to such an extent that some universities have lowered their admission standards for boys.

So, what's a guy to do?

Here are some ways men can get back to equal footing with women.

1. Work for women. First, men do better when they are working for women than men. (This cross-gender advantage is true the opposite direction as well, by the way. ) So if you work for a woman you will have an advantage over men who have male bosses. But also, women have more fluid, less hierarchical careers. Women are more likely to leave a job they are great at to take a break. So you are more likely to have a boss you like AND get the boss's job if it's a woman.

2. Put candy in your office. One of the advantages women have over men in the office is a collaborative work style. Women are more chatty, more compassionate and more likely to be team-oriented. You can't turn into a woman, but you can sort of encourage the same behavior at work that women encourage by putting a candy dish in your office. According to Sam Gosling at the University of Texas, author of the book, Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You, people make lots of (accurate) assumptions about people based on their surroundings, and a candy dish tells people, "I'm friendly. Sit down and talk with me."

3. Don't look at porn at work. Men who look at porn at work are more likely to subconsciously objectify women at work for the rest of the day. it's subtle things that women are aces at catching but men don't know they are doing --looking a woman up and down before speaking, for example. It's primal that men do it subsconsciously and it's primal that women catch it. So it's not that it's bad that the exchange takes place, but it's usually bad for men when they cannot control those exchanges at work.

4. Don't hit on the hot young girl at the office. She gets hit on every day. Almost every woman has heard from a co-worker, "I don't know what it is about you. I just feel crazy about you when you walk in the room." The guy who says this is sure he's the only guy who has said this to her. But you know what? You're not. And she thinks you're lame. She thinks you should fix your home life instead of avoiding it with her. So force yourself to keep your secret lusts secret. You look stupid when you confess to a girl half your age.

5. Hire gay women. I don't have any studies to back this up. I am just going to tell you that the men I've worked with who can work with gay women are a thousand times more competent than men who cannot relate to gay women. Gay women are difficult for a lot of straight men. The women don't give a crap about getting the guy's attention in that way. And it puts men off to know that this woman is never going to be interested in him sexually. It scares the guy. I know I'm generalizing but probably very few of you have worked with a gay woman, let alone worked successfully with her. It's a good test for you. If you can get out of your gender comfort zone and still flourish, then you are probably flexible and open-minded enough to compete in a women-dominated workplace, which is, pretty much, where you are finding yourself today.


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image courtesy of flickr user, Mr. Guy F. Wicke