Do you want to go for a drink?

A simple sentence, which can be said at the end of a hard day’s work, when we reckon a little beer would be nice before heading home.


A while back, we were talking about it with a friend, who was telling me that her colleagues often went for a drink together after work – without inviting her. And she goes on to tell me: how do you invite a male colleague for a drink without it being ambiguous?

In fact, I have never asked myself that question. It’s probably due to the fact that, from the beginning of my career, the tradition of going for a drink after work was so anchored that it seemed natural to invite my male colleagues or to be invited. However I must say, as I was telling you in the previous article, I’ve always set the boundaries very early on.

Also, for expatriates, becoming friends with colleagues is very common. We arrive in an unknown country with a new culture, and often the first friends we make are the ones from work. On the first night even, we invite the newbie to the local pub to better welcome her and help her settle in.

I then asked myself, once the topic had been brought up, where this problem was coming from. Clearly, not everyone is comfortable with the idea of inviting a colleague from the opposite sex.

Google is my friend, and I looked up articles on the theme of « having a drink with a colleague »

“Best of” of answers:

« 10 signs that show that your colleague has a crush on you…

Inviting a colleague for a drink – Seduction forum

First meeting with my colleague… and after?

Accepting to go have a drink, does it mean agreeing implicitly to go further/

Flirting at work: 4 steps to flirt with a colleague without…

Note: if we go for a drink outside, it’s not to talk about work, huh. »

After an hour of research, using different key words, I give up.

This isn’t too reassuring! Was my friend right to avoid seeing her colleagues outside of work? Having a relationship outside of work, is it bound to become ambiguous?

In studies showing the difference in career advancement between the two sexes, women’s lacking network often comes at the top of the myriad of causes. But how are these infamous networks created? Often times, while going for a drink with colleagues after work.

But if going for a drink is, in popular beliefs, synonymous with seduction, changing the status quo will be difficult. How can you develop a friendly relationship with a colleague? After all, it’s quite nice to have someone to unwind with at the end of day, and thus be able to criticize the boss, the boss of the boss and all the other departments.

It’s 2018, it may be time to make a little effort to change current mindsets.

Yes, Magali, nice story, but you still haven’t answered the original question which was… how do we do it?

Several solutions exist. We can start by inviting someone that we’re comfortable enough with and that we talk to often. We have a few coffee breaks together so that the invitation to go out for a drink doesn’t come out of the blue.

But before that, we can establish a few things… if you’re in a relationship, mention the significant other (without repeating it 45 times a day). Same thing, if he often talks about his kids/spouse… etc. It’s great, there’s very little chance that things will become ambiguous. Also, we can invite several colleagues at the same time to make sure there’s no misinterpretation.

Finally, try to set up a routine, such as the Friday night drink to celebrate for the upcoming weekend… after the third week, it won’t be uncomfortable anymore.

And of course, if we notice that out male colleagues often go out for drinks… Well, we tag along. As they’re leaving, we simply say: « Hey, I’d love to have a drink, mind if I join you ? » Maybe they’re just afraid to make the first move. Do it for them.

Come on, good resolution of the week… Tomorrow, I’m inviting a colleague of the opposite sex to have a drink.

And if I’m afraid of misunderstandings, I subtly leave this article on his or her desk during the day.

How to start as a female in a male dominated industry

A woman starting out in an almost exclusively male environment may sometimes feel the need to impose herself and to be aggressive in order to avoid coming off as “weak”. We often hear “you must have quite a character to work in this sector!” That is the attitude I myself adopted when I first started, which I’ll describe and explain in further detail. This will also allow me to give you a few key elements on a successful entry into a new company (spoiler: don’t behave like me at 22).

I started at Schlumberger in the training center – we spend four months there, before going on the field. The formation allows you to learn about the job, but also serves as a method of selection, with only half of the applicants staying. Stress is at its paroxysm and we all look at each other wondering who will make it.

Being the only woman, I feel like I need not only to succeed, but to succeed brilliantly, to prove that the presence of a woman is not a mistake. In 1989, women only account for 1% of recruits. Thus, I have the impression that I am under a microscope, as a part of a laboratory experiment called: “What can a woman do in this role?” Failing would show that the trust invested in me was not deserved.

Added to this is a deep belief that a woman has to prove herself, show that she belongs here. Perhaps the vestige of a mother with the baccalaureate, working at a time where most women were full-time housewives? An unconscious bias that originates from our societal system? To be honest, I don’t really know, but it’s clearly a bias that resisted to the past decades and that I find in a lot of women today still.

Thus, during this training, I constantly have to do more. Except that these beliefs, this feeling of having to legitimize my place, aren’t without consequences.

I automatically consider every sign of attention towards me as a sign or paternalistic sexism. I bite every hand that comes my way. And quickly, it backlashes and hits me back in the face, in boomerang mode. My colleagues stop talking to me. They are tired of my constant anger and have better things to do tan to take care of an irascible woman/hungry lioness in a cage.

It’s a vicious circle. I’m very aggressive, the others answer hostilely, comforting me in the idea that I was right to be that way… Etc.

And then, one day, I start questioning myself. I realize that, although I’m always right (of course), the fact that everyone is against me shows that it might actually maybe, possibly be my fault… and that I need to change my behavior – especially since isolation is weighing me down.

In doing this analysis of conscience, I realized that I became very unpleasant to live with, so it’s not surprising that others hate my company.

After deciding to change mindsets, it became easier than I thought. How did the change occur exactly? First, I had to stop comparing myself to others. In the end, no one but myself had asked me to be the best. Secondly, instead of attacking every colleague offering help – to show that “no, sir, I can manage on my own! It’s not because I’m a woman that you should think I can’t do it!”, I kindly accept any good soul willing to help me. Thus, my colleagues quickly become friends, and I become a part of the group.

Being a woman in a male-dominated environment is hard enough, there’s no need to make things more complicated. Companies offer a job to a collaborator because they think he/she is the most qualified for the position. They usually don’t do it out of the goodness of their heart. Once the person has accepted the position, all that’s left is to work and excel at the job, as expected. But the person has nothing to prove, and just needs to focus on doing the job to the best of his or her ability. It’s by doing the job well that people show everyone that they are the right person for the mission. Thus, wanting to prove your worth as a woman, as I’ve done in the past, is completely counterproductive and unjustified. If she’s been offered the job, then she’s entirely legitimate.

Unfortunately, this trend isn’t dead yet. There’s still a long way to go before it disappears fully. Women still are (or feel) more tested than men. It’s important to resist and not get sucked into the game of colleagues, who have no right to judge our credibility and capacity to fulfill a position that company executives have trusted us with.

At 22, having the strength to question myself is what allowed me to continue and find my place and eventually end up where I am today. But for one person that finds a fit, how many give up? How many end up depressed?

Just like me, maybe their erratic behavior kept others away, without having the chance to fix things. Or a lack of confidence in their legitimacy got the best of them. That’s why it’s important to take a step back and remember that if you are in this seat, it is because qualified people believe that you belong there. An endless comparison won’t get you anywhere. Keep your head high and work with confidence and pride!

Kids Benefit From Having a Working Mom

The research that we were all waiting for:

“There’s a lot of parental guilt about having both parents working outside the home,” McGinn says. “But what this research says to us is that not only are you helping your family economically—and helping yourself professionally and emotionally if you have a job you love—but you’re also helping your kids.

Women whose moms worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time, according to research by Kathleen McGinn and colleagues.

by Carmen Nobel


Here’s some heartening news for working mothers worried about the future of their children.

Women whose moms worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time, according to a new study. Men raised by working mothers are more likely to contribute to household chores and spend more time caring for family members.

“There are very few things … that have such a clear effect on gender inequality as being raised by a working mother”

The findings are stark, and they hold true across 24 countries.

“There are very few things, that we know of, that have such a clear effect on gender inequality as being raised by a working mother,” says Kathleen L. McGinn, the Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, who conducted the study with Mayra Ruiz Castro, a researcher at HBS, and Elizabeth Long Lingo, an embedded practitioner at Mt. Holyoke College.

McGinn’s previous research, with Katherine Milkman of Wharton Business School, found that female attorneys are more likely to rise through the ranks of a firm (and less likely to leave) when they have female partners as mentors and role models. McGinn, Castro, and Lingo wondered how nontraditional role models influenced gender inequality at home—both in terms of professional opportunities and household responsibilities.

“The link between home and the workplace is becoming more and more critical as we have two-wage-earning families,” McGinn says. “We tend to talk more about inequality in the workplace, and yet the inequality in the home is really stuck.”

In developed countries, employed women in two-parent households report that they spend an average of 17.7 hours per week caring for family members, while employed men report devoting about 9, according to the researchers. At the same time, women report spending an average of 17.8 hours per week on housework, while men report an average of 8.8 hours.

The Global Effect Of Working Moms

To gauge the global effect of working moms, the researchers dug into data from the International Social Survey Programme, a global consortium of organizations that conduct social science research, and studied 2002 and 2012 responses to a survey called “Family and Changing Gender Roles.” They supplemented these data with data on employment opportunities and gender inequality across countries.

The survey included several pages of questions related to gender attitudes, home life, and career path. The researchers were primarily interested in the answer to one key question: Did your mother ever work for pay, after you were born and before you were 14?

“It didn’t matter to us if she worked for a few months one year, or worked 60 hours per week during your whole childhood,” McGinn says. “We weren’t interested in whether your mom was an intense professional, but rather whether you had a role model who showed you that women work both inside and outside the home. We wanted to see how that played out.”

The research team aimed to find out whether growing up with a working mom influenced several factors, including employment, supervisory responsibility, earnings, allocation of household work, and care for family members.

Survey respondents included 13,326 women and 18,152 men from 24 developed nations. The researchers based their analyses on responses collected from the 2002 and 2012 surveys. They categorized the countries by their attitudes toward gender equality, both at home and in the workplace.

“Liberalizing Egalitarians” were those countries where respondents’ attitudes toward gender were already egalitarian in 2002 and became even more so over the following decade (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany, and Slovenia). “Stagnating Moderates” leaned slightly egalitarian in 2002 and remained stagnant in the following decade (Israel, the United States, Great Britain, Spain, Australia, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, and Taiwan). “Stagnating Conservatives” started off with conservative attitudes toward gender roles in 2002 and stayed that way (Chile, Latvia, Mexico, Philippines, and Russia.)

Men tended to report more conservative gender attitudes than women-with the exception of Mexico, where women were more conservative than men, McGinn says.

The researchers controlled for factors including: age; marital status; religion; years of education; urban versus rural dwelling; average Female Labor Force participation in the respondent’s home country during the years the respondent was 0 to 14 years old; Economic Freedom Index in the respondent’s home country during the survey year; Gender Inequality Index in the respondent’s home country; and Gross Domestic Product in the respondent’s home country. Stripping those things away, they focused on the effects of being raised by a mother who worked outside the home. “The direct effects are significant across the board,” McGinn says.

The data showed that men were just as likely to hold supervisory jobs whether or not their moms had worked outside the home. But women raised by working mothers were more likely to supervise others at work.

Effects On Income

The data also showed that while being raised by a working mother had no apparent effect on men’s relative wages, women raised by working moms had higher incomes than women whose moms stayed at home full time. The one exception: women who reported conservative attitudes toward gender equality. “It’s only for earnings that having conservative gender attitudes reduces the effect of a working mom,” McGinn says. “For all of the rest of them, having had a non-traditional role model at home has a direct effect on the outcomes, regardless of attitudes.”

As for men whose moms ever worked outside the home, they were more likely to contribute to household chores and spent more time caring for family members. “Growing up, what was being modeled for sons was the idea that you share the work at home,” McGinn says.

Women spent about the same amount of time caring for family members, regardless of whether their moms worked outside the home. However, “When we segmented just for people who have children at home, we found that women who are raised by a working mom actually spend more time with their kids,” McGinn says, adding that this includes women who grew up to become working moms themselves.

“There’s a lot of parental guilt about having both parents working outside the home,” McGinn says. “But what this research says to us is that not only are you helping your family economically—and helping yourself professionally and emotionally if you have a job you love—but you’re also helping your kids. So I think for both mothers and for fathers, working both inside and outside the home gives your kids a signal that contributions at home and at work are equally valuable, for both men and women. In short, it’s good for your kids.”

The Work Conversations We Dread the Most, According to Research

When we need to have a difficult conversation, we tend to postpone it.. Letting the situation worsen.. Why?

Having been on both sides of the barrier, I can tell that a dreaded conversation is difficult for both sides. For example, you might find difficult to ask for a pay rise, but in general, it is also difficult for the manager to answer such request.

The best scenario is when both come out of the discussion happy. Winning and make the other lost is never a victory. The battle is won, but the chances of winning the war are now fading dangerously.

As the article says it very well, in fact, most people strive for this win-win.

Article here (with graphs):

The next time you head into a conversation you’re dreading, rest assured that the other party is probably equally uncomfortable. Better yet, your counterpart may even go out of his or her way to make you feel at ease.

These findings come from a recent survey conducted by Fractl in which we asked nearly 1,100 people about difficult conversations at work.

Approaching tough conversations with a combative mentality, where one person wins and one loses, is a common mistake that often results in neither party feeling satisfied. Yet our study found that most people actually plan on being agreeable and considerate when walking into a difficult conversation — nearly 66% of respondents told us that they’re likely to go out of their way to make the other person feel comfortable. The same number said that they’re likely to concede that they played a role in creating an uncomfortable situation, while 81% will acknowledge that there are multiple perspectives. More than 75% of respondents said that they’re likely to be direct and concise. That’s all good news for someone who’s about to have a difficult conversation; you can rest assured that most people are starting from a collaborative mindset.

As you can see, taking a combative approach and assuming the other person is “out to get you” is probably misguided.

What’s more, your counterpart is probably just as nervous as you are. Which conversations really make people squirm? Negotiating a raise was the most distressing: 58% of respondents feel uncomfortable having this discussion. We found people feel most comfortable apologizing for a mistake or discussing a lack of clear direction.

Women reported more discomfort around negotiating a raise than men did, with more than 66% of female respondents feeling very or somewhat uncomfortable. Just over half of men shared that sentiment.

Managers should take particular note of the data showing that even if you walk out of a challenging discussion feeling good about the outcome, your employee may not share your outlook. Our respondents were significantly more likely to feel satisfied with the outcome of a difficult conversation when they were the higher-ranking employee. More than 75% felt satisfied with the outcome of a conversation with a direct report, compared to 46% feeling somewhat or completely satisfied with the results of a discussion with a supervisor.

So how can you have more productive conversations that end with both parties feeling satisfied?

A majority of people (85%) told us they are likely to prepare for a tough conversation. This is a step in the right direction, but how you prepare is important. Be sure to:

Determine what you want to get out the conversation, but “don’t go in planning to ‘win’ the conversation,” says employee relations consultant Fran Sepler. “If you want a raise, for instance, you may need to start with other goals, such as having your work fully appreciated, having input into your compensation, and making sure you’re being paid equitably.”

Do your homework on your worth. Knowing how valuable and marketable you are will give you more confidence to ask for a raise and alleviate fears around negotiations. Make a strong case for your pay increase by coming to the table armed with a list of your contributions to the company and salary survey data on comparable roles.
Treat the conversation as two people working together to solve a problem. Executive coach Kristi Daniels recommends using this simple framework, from the book Powerful Conversations, which gives both sides ownership over the conversation and outcome:

What’s Up: Tell your side of the situation and ask the other person how they see it.
What’s So: Get to the facts, and remove any emotional charge from the conversation. Discuss the impact on each of you, the team, and the larger organization. Ask the other person what they think.
What’s Possible: Discuss possible solutions or alternatives, and ask the other person for the same.
Let’s Go: Commit on both sides to taking action with accountability included.
Notice how each step of this framework includes input from the other person, which will ensure that both parties feel heard and understood. This applies to your pre-conversation preparation too, when you should look beyond your own perspective and think about how the other person views the issue. You’ll have greater success by showing that you’ve considered several perspectives.

During the conversation, pause your own agenda to really listen to the other person’s side. Karen Hough, CEO of ImprovEdge, says, “When we’re nervous or scared, we rush to tell, fix, or manage.” Aim to diffuse the emotional charge, hear the other person, and come out with a solution. According to Hough, “It’s amazing how often a quick reset on the approach totally changes the way a person deals with their boss and creates incredible outcomes — raises, promotions, and strong relationships.”

Kerry Jones is the Inbound Marketing Manager at Fractl, where she specializes in content marketing featuring their proprietary research.