Pursuit: stop being a flirt, advice from a project manager

Divya Pahwa writes about young-lady career advice in the weekly series Pursuit, here on the McGill Caps Blog.

Today is the first of a three part series spotlighting three very different professionals, and their advice to young people entering the workplace.



Today’s focus: is young women in the workplace. Summer break for the “real world” is usually marked by the presence of young(er) people. An influx of interns and eager students infiltrate government jobs, companies, and businesses. As we saunter from the beach to the office, celebrating the end of another school year, the lines of appropriate behaviour and appropriate clothing blurs for many young people (especially women) in a professional setting.

 Enter Mary P.

Mary P. has a serious background in event planning and more recently with project management. She has worked with people of all ages, and I
have asked her to comment specifically on the mistakes young women make in the workplace.

Ladies, “Flirting is totally inappropriate…”

Mary doesn’t approve of flirting in the workplace.  She sees it at all levels but more predominately amongst young women. She comments, “girls think they have to be like that [flirtatious] … they think that is the way it’s always been: so they flirt.” She says, people get so caught up in how they think they should behave. Either way, Mary believes that, “flirting is totally inappropriate to get things done.” She says, “it show’s a lack of respect for yourself if you have to do that…” she pauses and adds  “…I mean, unless they want to do it.”

Boys Flirt too!

She also believes that boys flirt – just not in the same way. “Not sexually, being chummy – ‘bros with the boss,’ with  the department they want to be in, in meetings with executives [they want to be], they want to be heard and be seen. It is like flirting.”

Check the sexy at the door.

Amongst young women, Mary notices a lack of awareness about how to dress for the workplace. We had a good discussion about this being reflective of a two things; a student budget and not yet having a good sense of your personal style. Mary says to avoid the “too short,” “too tight,” and “too revealing.”  She laughs and adds, “If you feel people are looking at you – they probably are, and it’s not a good thing, don’t wear it again.” She encourages young women to take the time out and learn how to dress their bodies. And dress in “outfits” – she says you can put a decent work-wardrobe together if you learn to match up pieces of clothing that go really well together and keep them exclusive.

Know your stuff.

Mary, not exclusively for young women, has some solid advice about speaking with senior management. “Know your stuff.” She says, if you go in to a meeting and someone asks you a question you should have the right answer and be able to respond immediately (See: Pursuit: You can’t ignore this.)

Send in your questions/suggestion to Divya at divya.pahwa@mail.mcgill. See her past posts here.

image from: domesticgodesque.com 

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