Jill Abramson suggests you ask your boss to have coffee and a chat. Abramson made news in May when she was abruptly fired as executive editor of The New York Times. And she’s fine with the word “fired.” In an interview with Cosmopolitan, she said isn’t ashamed of having been fired. “I don’t think young women — it’s hard, I know — they should not feel stigmatized if they are fired. Especially in this economy people are fired right and left for arbitrary reasons, and there are sometimes forces beyond your control.”
Abramson, who teaches undergraduate courses in narrative nonfiction at Harvard University this fall, offered several interesting tips for career women. One was that she liked being asked by staff to meet over coffee. “There’s a way to do networking that isn’t overly brown-nosing. I was fine if someone just said, ‘I want to have coffee and talk about my career.’”
Like many other women who have reached the top in their fields, Abramson advises women to push for the salary or promotion they deserve, just as men do. “My advice on getting a raise is what everybody’s advice is: to become a confident negotiator, but that is so hard…Men never chalk up their success to luck but women often do,” she tells Cosmopolitan. “In my experience, men more often than women brought up money and talked about it and pressed for what they wanted in terms of salary before they agreed to be promoted.”
And even the future executive editor had moments in her career when she felt marginalized or invisible. “I remember being in story sessions, and so many times, I would have an idea and I would talk about it. Then the convener of the meeting would say, ‘And as Jerry was just saying …’ and they would remember the idea as coming from a male colleague. I didn’t pipe up in real time. I did grouse about it with other women in the office, which in some ways is safer and more cowardly but is very comforting and kind of gratifying.”
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