Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Build an 'Old Girls Network'

 By Kenia Perez

Boys club
Picture this: Rookie walks into the bar for a beer after work. He strikes up conversation with Mr. Career Man while watching the football game. They talk sports... and they talk business.
Mr. Career Man thinks the kid’s got potential, gives him advice, and they continue to meet. Eventually, Rookie meets Mr. Career Man’s other pals. Without forcing anything, they form a friendship—along with a mentorship and a helping network for the Rookie.

How often do women do this for each other? Rarely.

Flying solo
I posed the question to some female colleagues at my job recently: “Why don’t women reach out to each other more?”

The answer: “Oh, haven't you heard of the women’s organization here at work?” Ugh. That’s not what I meant. Why don’t women cross generational and professional boundaries to develop relationships that mix business and pleasure? Why, in short, don't we have an "old girls network"?

Although I know older women who could be mentors, our connection stops at friendship. We all seem to obey an unspoken rule: It's not cool to mix personal and business. Now that I've been out in the working world a few years, I see a wealth of missed opportunities because women don't buddy up like men do.

Read more of Kenia's essay here.

Bottom line
Tell us about the mentoring relationships in your life (or the lack of them). Do you think we have an "old girls network" the same way guys enjoy an "old boys network"—or not? Do we need one?

Kenia Perez works
in the aerospace
industry in California.

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