Monthly Archives: March 2017

Why do ambitious women have flat heads?

stolen ideaDon’t you hate it when you a male colleague says the exact SAME thing as you and gets zero pushback?  Even worse, when he gets credit for YOUR idea!

I don’t need to tell the ladies that this subtle (and not-so-subtle) sexism happens all the time.  It is beyond frustrating, as this guy found out when he switched email signatures with a female colleague for two weeks (via  He said he

was in hell. Everything I asked or suggested was questioned. Clients I could do in my sleep were condescending. One asked if I was single.

[ed note: we’re guessing he means clients whose work he could do in his sleep.]

In this great TED talk, tech pioneer Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley says that ambitious women have flat heads from all of the pats placed on our pretty little heads by otherwise well-meaning but patronizing men.

She tells the story of how she got tired of the constant rejection and second-guessing, so began to sign her business correspondence with “Steve” instead of Stephanie and voilà.  Attitudes adjusted.

It costs companies big bucks to continually doubt and dismiss the ideas of their female employees (and account managers, advisors, directors…)

Just one of many examples I could give from my career in finance: I contracted for a company to advise them about an upcoming transaction.  I duly researched the options, assessed the risks and opportunities and presented my recommendations in a report.  Then they did nothing.

A month later the company proceeded to hire a Big 5 accounting firm who told them exactly what I had told them.  The (male) account manager at the Big 5 firm even told me that he didn’t know why they had been hired, as they had proposed the same conclusions with the same plan of execution as I had recommended four months earlier.

Then he chuckled and said “but we’ll take the fee!”  I knew their fee was 20x my fee for the same advice. I feel no shame in admitting I wanted to throttle him (& the company execs) at that moment.

You can bet this six-figure mistake is being repeated daily at firms far and wide.

What to do?

This article by Jessica Bennett (via has some good strategies for dealing with common career underminers as

  • the Manterrupter (women are interrupted twice as often as men, even worse for women of colour),
  • the Bropropriator, and
  • the Womenemy.

For example: to deal with the Bropropriator (aka the guy who ends up with the credit for your idea), reclaim ownership of your great idea with the “thank & yank”.

You yank the credit back by thanking the person for liking your idea: “Thanks so much for picking up on my idea!”  A little public appreciation for him, original credit back to you.

Did you know we’ve put together a resource page full of helpful advice and strategies like these?  Check out Movin’ On Up here.   One of my faves for getting that raise: before beginning, remind them that being good at negotiation is a required skill for success in your role.  It makes them less likely to penalize you for negotiating (as research shows women are both less liked and penalized for negotiating salaries).

Unfortunately, it takes conscious thought and strategy to navigate these problems successfully.  Grinning and bearing it simply isn’t effective.

We hope these tactics are useful to you in your quest for equality at work.

To your success,

Melanie Love, CFA
Founder & CEO

When getting the F*ck to sleep isn’t that easy.

I don’t know about you but falling asleep is just about impossible for me, even since I was a kid. It’s like there is a switch on my pillow that puts my brain into overdrive and I. Can’t. Stop. Thinking. This sleep onset insomnia sometimes lasts for hours.

Turns out brain injuries need sleep to heal so I needed to get serious about the zzzs.

Now I wear blue-blocking glasses at night (Uvex safety-style, trés chic!), as blue light has been shown to interfere with our sleep cycles (& it can trigger migraines for me lately).

I avoid anything stimulating after 8pm. From chocolate to interesting podcasts/TV or even washing my face, I do it before 8pm or I skip it.  (For the face wash obsessed: yes, I at least do an oil cleanse to wipe makeup off with a tissue.)

I listen to soothing music.  I’ve always been a jazz fan so listening to Tim Tamashiro’s Tonic on CBC is a treat.  (nightly at 8pm on CBC Radio2 or free streaming anytime here. Also a free app on iTunes.)  Tim says there is thinky jazz or drinky jazz.  Tonic is drinky jazz.

Speaking of booze… red wine or a cocktail works – sort of. The alcohol relaxes me but then the sugar rush kicks in later and is counterproductive to sleep.

Even with a wind-down routine, I still need help getting the brain to slooow down once my head hits the pillow.

I rotate between these to help me go the f&ck to sleep! I can’t listen to the same one every night or my brain tunes it out and it generally doesn’t work. (sigh)

  • Bone-melting relaxation in this yoga nidra session.
  • Drift off to sleep self-hypnosis, as recommended by FR staffer Sho
  • White noise app by TM Soft (free on iTunes). I like the campfire one.
  • I have a ~20YO guided meditation CD from Puja Thompson’s Roots & Wings series. It isn’t this one but same idea: a lovely voice giving my brain something else to do other than think.

If I’m already wired at bedtime, I listen to a half-hour of an audiobook (since I still can’t do a lot of reading) and then listen to one of the above.

Yep.  It is a frigging process for me to get to sleep.  Worse – the more tired I am, the harder it is for me to get to sleep.  That tired/wired thing we all know and hate.

Please share if you’ve got any good sleep hacks!  I can always use fresh ideas to add to the rotation.