Word to the working girl

September 24th, 2012

The New York Post
By Brian Moore
Sept. 24, 2012

It’s easy to think of Kate White as a modern-day Moses, shepherding women through the seven signs they’re ready to pull a Blake Lively, the 13 easy ways to beat a bad hair day and the 30 things you need to do to a naked man.

As editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan for 14 years, White held sway over one of the most successful magazines in publishing, shaping the content to suit the tastes of new waves of 18-to-34-year-old women.

But White’s closing the book on all that, having just retired from Cosmo to focus on her writing — she’s the author of a series of mystery novels — her motivational speaking and a digital-media business.

ONE FOR THE BOOKS: Former Cosmo editor Kate White just published a career advice guide for women.

Michael Sofronski
ONE FOR THE BOOKS: Former Cosmo editor Kate White just published a career advice guide for women.

Michael Sofronski
THE WRITE STUFF: Kate White’s new book provides insight on tough-to-navigate career topics: how to ask for a raise, finding the right mentor and more.

As if she’s not busy enough, on top of that, she just published a career guide aimed at women, “I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know.”

“We’ve made incredible strides, but I think there are challenges that women face that are not the same for men,” says White, 61.

“I think sometimes we can still have that good-girl tendency not to grab the seat next to the boss at a meeting or not to talk on that project,” she adds. “We sometimes worry about what other people will think. I think men are maybe not as prone to that.”

In the spirit of Cosmo’s famous lists, @work chatted with White to get her 10 best ways women can get ahead in the working world:

1. Ask wisely: It’s not enough to ask for what you want. You have to ask for it the right way.

First, understand that asking for something is not a punishable offense.

“We’re afraid we’re going to be seen as too greedy or they’re not going to like us,” White says. “So you have to know that they’re not going to think bad things about you.”

Second, don’t personalize the request.

“You have to do it in a very neutral way — not emotional,” White says. “Sometimes women make it too personal. They think in some way it’ll make it a little easier.”

So don’t frame your request as a response to your husband being out of work or around a sky-high mortgage for your new apartment.

Third, demonstrate your value: Bring a list of your accomplishments, and show how you’re investing yourself in the company. Chances are your boss doesn’t know the half of it.

“Don’t make it, ‘You owe me.’ Make it about, ‘Here are some things I’ve done,’ ” White says.

2. Show me the money: Your starting salary is the base from which future earnings grow, so women who don’t ask for as much as they can get from the get-go are literally giving away money.

“You have to ask for what you want in terms of salary,” White says. “Everything builds on that.”

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