Dear Bossy #5: Should I remove my grad years from my resume because I'm older?

Dear Bossy

I am over 40. I am looking for a new job (scary), but reality. Do you think I should remove the year I graduated from college from my resume? It will definitely date me.


Elder Job Seeker


Dear Elder Job Seeker

I’ve been there, literally. And though you are older and wiser, you are also at risk of being seen as just older to prospective employers. This can hurt your chances. I do think somewhere around 40something, it makes sense to leave dates that could age you off your resume. This includes years of graduating as well as saying something like “I have 30 years of experiences in…”

This may be the time to switch to a functional resume instead of a chronological resume. Functional resumes highlight skills and experiences, but not chronological jobs. I would suggest this type of resume if you are switching fields or looking to make some sort of transition. If you are staying solidly in the same field and your work history and places of employment and titles are relevant, then you could just focus on that last 10-15 years of jobs, not your entire life history.

A resume isn’t meant to be every job, it is meant to show you in the best possible light to prospective employers (and screening computer programs), so focus on relevant skills and experiences and don’t list everything you’ve ever done.

One caveat - those pesky applicant tracking systems will make you put a date (including year) for everything, so even if you leave it off your resume, it is likely going to be listed somewhere.

Remember - you have years of experience, so be proud and confident that you are a seasoned expert and the right next job will be one that values that experience.

Good luck!


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You can't have it all, but you can have all that matters

I have always thought the idea that women can't have it all is ridiculous. Who has it all? What does that even mean. My amazingly talented friend Bonnie Wan uses that phrase - You can't have it all, but you can have all that matters.

And she has a great way of thinking about how to figure out what matters to you. Called the Life Brief. This is a workbook and methodology to figure out what is important to you and how to be intentional about manifesting that in your life, career, relationships.

I’m inspired by her story, her openness to change and share that change with the world. In my work teaching negotiation techniques, I share a similar philosophy - negotiate what matters. I think of the Life Brief as a very important first step to figure out what matters, and then negotiating (with your boss, yourself, your life partners) to make those things happen for yourself.

She is taking The Life Brief on the road - first stop - Portland, Oregon in June 2019. If you are thinking about your life’s purpose, your goals, your mission (and who isn’t?) - this is a workshop you should not miss.

Register here.


Dear Bossy #4: I don't like my boss, but I like my company

Dear Bossy,

I’ve been with my company for 2 years. I really like it. I have friends at work, like the culture, I like the job. It has been great. About 5 months ago, we hired a new leader for my division. I was excited at first and tried to make a good impression, but now I’m really bummed. This guy is a terrible boss. He is a micro-manager. I can tell he doesn’t really like me and he is making my day to day job really stressful. So much so that I don’t want to go to work and I avoid him at all costs. When he misses our 1:1s I’m thrilled. I know that each 1:1 he will pick apart everything I do and ultimately it will ruin my whole day.

At this point, I think I should look for a new job, but I’m annoyed, because I like this company and would be sad to leave. Why are there so many bad managers out there? Any ideas for me?

Bad Manager Blues


Dear Bad Manager Blues

We’ve all been there - things are going along great at work and then a re-org or a new leader and it shakes everything up. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes not so much. I wouldn’t rush to do anything. 5 months may feel like a long time, but this guy is still getting the lay of the land and figuring out all the people on the team and co-workers and how to make an impact. Maybe you can manage up in a way that works out.

Here are a few things to try:

  1. Be direct - Have you asked him why he wants to spend so much time in the details? There could be an underlying concern he has about your work or the deliverables or pace of results. Can you probe to find out what he is worried about? Micro-management is sometimes used to keep track of under-performers. Do you think he doesn’t trust your work or doesn’t think you are doing a good job? If that is the case, over-communicate, show results, agree on deliverables and timelines and execute well and make sure he knows you are meeting objectives.

  2. Take control of your interactions - managers have different styles and figuring out your new bosses style may take time. But it can really help. Now that you know he is a micro-manager, can you provide him lots of detail, but redirect the 1:1 time? For example - tell him that he seems to care about the details of the project, so you have shared a detailed project plan you’d like his feedback on. See if you can move some of the detail review into a shared document he can review outside of your in person meeting. And then ask for what you need in the 1:1s. “I’d love if we could use 15 min of the meeting to talk about the blockers I had this week and your advice for how to proceed.” You need to take control of the agenda of the meeting and keep to the schedule - if he is rat-holing on details - up level him…”Bob, I know you are worried about xx getting out on time, but I think the bigger issue is that yy and zz are not moving forward. Do you have advice for me on those bigger issues?”

  3. Find some allies - Have you talked with anyone else about his management style? You seem to have a lot of good relationships at this company - so lean on some friends (and maybe friends in high places) to see what they think. Is he treating everyone like this or just you? If this is his style, then ask for advice (from HR or a more senior mentor) for how to deal with him more effectively. Sometimes when you discover that you aren’t the only one feeling these things. it gives you a little more confidence to face it head on or to ask for help in making it better for everyone.

  4. What can you do to help? Before you throw in the towel, can you see the situation from his perspective? Are there issues he is dealing with that make his job really hard (and shit is running downhill)? Are there things he is asking you to do that you aren’t doing? As a new boss in the company - he is trying to make an impact - is there anything you can do to help him (given you’ve been there longer)? See if you can empathize with him a bit (maybe right before you walk into your 1:1) and try to change the dynamic. Ask more questions in your interactions with him to see what is really going on and how you can help him.

If none of those things help - you should look around the company and see if there are any other jobs you can transfer into before you totally abandon ship. But, sadly, people leave bad managers more than companies and sometimes, it is time to move on.

One other unsolicited note - don’t tell someone you are leaving because of a bad manager, no new hiring manager wants to hear that - so have a better story at the ready if you do decide to interview elsewhere.



write to me at with your questions.

Dear Bossy #3: I'm pregnant, when should I tell my boss?

Dear Bossy,

I’m pregnant. it is kind of early in my first trimester. I haven’t told anyone at work (just our close family). I know that after the baby is born I don’t want to go back to work full time and I may not want to go back at all. When should I tell my boss I’m pregnant and when should we talk about my returning to work?

Baby Bump in Boston


Dear Baby Bump in Boston,

Congratulations! So excited for you. Big life change coming at you. This is a great question and one I think most women who have children grapple with. Here are my thoughts for you.

I wouldn’t tell your boss about the baby until mid-2nd trimester. Lots can happen in your first trimester and you don’t need to share this news so early. Once you are solidly in your 2nd trimester you will definitely start to show and I would disclose to your boss about your baby and your due date. That said - if you are suffering from any first trimester health issues that require some workplace accommodations, then I would tell your boss sooner. But if you are managing just fine right now, then keep it your business for a bit longer.

I assume you are a woman of child bearing age, so your boss (male or female) has probably already made the assumption that you are going to get pregnant some day. So the news you are having a baby shouldn’t be a huge deal or a big shock. When you are ready to tell your boss, I’d focus on the due date, the maternity leave policy and making sure there is a plan in place to cover your workload while you are gone. More time for the team to plan is good, so don’t wait to start this conversation for too long.

However, I feel very strongly that you should not plan beyond the maternity leave with your boss right now. You don’t know what adding a baby to your life is going to be like and I wouldn’t make life plans that far in advance in collaboration with your boss. You should make all these decisions together with your family (partner, etc). My suggestion is to plan for a regular maternity leave, taking advantage of whatever policies your workplace has to give you. You do NOT need to start negotiating about part-time or not returning at all right now. Give yourself the full pregnancy and maternity leave to make these plans known to your boss.

Again, most bosses, make assumptions about women and babies. They assume some aren’t coming back or aren’t going to be as engaged when they do come back. So instead of tipping your hand about that - tell them you are planning on coming back on xy date and at full time.

Then once you’ve made up your mind about what you want for your family (once the little one has arrived), you can begin the negotiation process with your boss. If you are planning on not returning at all, you still want the maternity leave coverage and benefits through your labor/delivery and post delivery phase (this stuff costs a lot of money) and you may have a better sense of your availability and needs once you know about this kid and your needs.

If you decide you want to return to work in some part-time capacity, this is a different negotiation and depending on your workplace and flex time policies it may be hard or easy to have that conversation, but I’d wait until you know what you want.

I have one other piece of advice I give to ALL women who want to have families and have jobs and I stole it from Sheryl Sandberg - lean in to your work before they know you are pregnant and/or before your maternity leave. Get the raise, the promotion, the interesting project before you depart. If you do want to come back to work right away or later, you want something interesting to come back to. Don’t assume you will be less engaged or less productive and don’t let your boss assume that either. Get the raise and if you leave, you will have little more in your pocket for your time with your family and if you decide to go back to work you will have a higher salary expectation.

Good luck with the pregnancy. When you are on your maternity leave and decide what you want to do, write back and we can talk about the negotiation!



Dear Bossy #2: I'm a teacher and want a new job

Dear Bossy

Quick note. I’m a teacher. have been for 20 years. I’m about to walk into a ed-tech career fair. Any advice??

Thanks for any advice

Teacher in NY

Dear Teacher

20 years as a teacher - you have experience. My advice

be upbeat - no one wants to hear how burnt out you are as a teacher or what little shits your kids are or how this new generation is lazy. Keep it upbeat and positive.

Remember your experience - you have 20 years of experience. Anyone building an EdTech solution would be lucky to have you. You know what actually works in the classroom and with learners. Lots of this will translate.

I truly believe that anyone who can get up in front of students and get their attention day in and day out can do anything. You got this!

- Bossy

Dear Bossy - my new advice column

I have been called bossy my whole life.

I take it as a compliment.

I’ve decided to share some of the advice I’ve given (and been given) over the years about being overworked, always on, dealing with co-workers, re-org’d (again), poor performance reviews, changing managers, downturns, promotions, crying at work… and share it in all in an advice column format.

Let’s learn from each other.

Please send me your letters at

On International Women's day 2019 - Give me the effing ball

Abby Wambach - Barnard Commencement May 16, 2018

Abby Wambach - Barnard Commencement May 16, 2018

If you haven’t heard Abby Wambach’s Commencement address at Barndard College on May 16, 2018, you should. Watch it now.

As a speaker/coach/consultant to women in business, It makes good business sense to raise up more women into positions of power across industries. There are many barriers to women’s success, but none are insurmountable.

Here are a few goals I challenge each business leader and executive team to adopt in 2019

Promote more women

The pay gap is also a promotion gap. Don’t be fooled. Women are passed over for promotions. We aren’t seen as leaders, we aren’t given chances and we are paid less when we do get the job.

Women in the Workplace study 2018, McKinsey & LeanIn

Women in the Workplace study 2018, McKinsey & LeanIn

According to the 2018 Women in the Workplace study from Mckinsey and LeanIn, “The two biggest drivers of the pipeline are hiring and promotions, and companies are disadvantaging women in these areas from the beginning. Although women earn more bachelor’s degrees than men, they are less likely to be hired into entry-level jobs. At the first critical step up to manager, the disparity widens further. Women are less likely to be hired into manager-level jobs, and they are far less likely to be promoted into them.

in 2019 - I challenge CEOs and business leaders to see potential in your women. Raise them up. Pay them well. Promote them to leadership. Your women are a competitive advantage.

Stop keeping mediocre men in management positions.

Bad managers are bad for business.

According to the HBR article “Why do so many incompetent men become leaders,” “The truth of the matter is that pretty much anywhere in the world men tend to think that they that are much smarter than women. Yet arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent — the ability to build and maintain high-performing teams, and to inspire followers to set aside their selfish agendas in order to work for the common interest of the group.” Women make great leaders.  Can you afford to keep that mediocre man in place when you know how much it will cost you?

The real productivity killers - Jerks.

The real productivity killers - Jerks.

In 2019 I challenge CEOs to scrutinize your under-performing managers. Bad bosses are costing your business. And right behind that mediocre male boss is probably a set of competent and talented women ready for the job.

Believe women

Whether we are talking about sexual harassment, abuse, toxic workplaces, bad bosses…it is time to believe women. Women have been disadvantaged and assaulted and humiliated and de-humanized for long enough.


The brave and powerful Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifying against Kavanaugh.

When an employee tells you they have been harassed or mistreated at work, believe her. The all too common story of the woman complaining to HR and getting no support replays over and over again in our companies. Remember Susan Fowler taking on uber or the big payout google gave to its exec after accusations of sexual misconduct. We can and should do better.

In 2019 I challenge CEOs and Boards to believe women, trust women, support women and remove toxic managers, and build cultures of zero tolerance for harassment of any kind.

As Abby Wambach said “Women, wolfpack, be united, storm the valleys together, and be our salvation.”

3 tips for negotiating more in 2018

I had the honor of being up for an award at the PDX Women in Tech Holiday party last night in Portland, OR. And was invited to give a 3 minute lightening talk. 

In case you missed it, here are my 3 Tips for Negotiating More in 2018

  1. You can't get what you want if you don't know what you want
    • and Money isn't everything
  2. You don't get what you don't ask for
    • Someone else is in your bosses office asking for that promotion right now
  3. Stick with it. No may be just the beginning.
    • If your boss says yes right away, you didn't ask for enough

Here are the slides

What are you going for in 2018?

My Favorite Negotiation in the Movie Hidden Figures...and there are many great ones in this movie

Women in the workplace too often face a double bind between being perceived as likable vs being seen as competent. Push too hard for your idea and you may get what you want, but you'll be called a bitch or be labelled "too aggressive." Help out a colleague or keep quiet in the meeting and in your next review you may be given the feedback that you "don't have leadership qualities." 

In the tug of war between being aggressive and appeasing, women often find they can't find the right way to advocate for their ideas and their own career trajectories.

That is one of the reasons I loved this scene in Hidden Figures. If you haven't read this book, read it. You will be inspired by the African American female NASA Engineers who were smart bad ass women that did the math behind the scenes who sent men to the moon and dealt with extreme racism and sexism in the streets and in the office. And the movie does an amazing job of bringing these stories to life on the big screen.

Want to watch a black woman navigate an extremely tough negotiation? Check out this clip:

Here is one of the smartest engineers - called a "computer"-  initiating a negotiation about "being in the room" where key decisions are made that impact the inputs to her calculations. Here are they key features of this masterful negotiation. 

  1. Find the person who has power - her immediate supervisor is racist and sexist and clearly threatened by her smarts and talents. Don't let a manager like that stand in your way for too long. Find a way to skip level to their manager, where the power/decisions are made.
  2. Bias may be less overt now, but biased people are not likely to help you out - so don't waste your time with biased people, you are unlikely to change their mind.  If you can point out their bias in a non-threatening way, do so, otherwise, find allies who can help you and assume your success may teach them a lesson in the end. 
  3. Make the negotiation about the success of the team, not your success - in order for NASA to send a man to the moon, Katherine needed to be in that room. This wasn't about Katherine getting a raise or about getting recognition or about a corner office. This was about the performance of the team. It is hard for a manager to argue with something they know they need, in this case, quicker results. Connect what is good for you with what is good for the team and your ideas will become more strategic and important to your boss. 
  4. Use what you know about the person you are negotiating with to get them on your side - Katherine knew that her boss was under tremendous pressure to get these numbers, get this right and get a man on the moon. He had no time. She picked this moment well. The hallway, a split second decision, sometimes that is when you get the yes. 

Walking the tightrope between being likable and being competent can be exhausting. Don't let it wear you down. Don't let feedback on your style hold you back. Pushy, aggressive, demanding, abrasive - these are all gendered terms that are used to subtly disadvantage women. 

If someone says "don't get so upset," when you are getting animated about a topic at work, as Katherine is about being in the briefing room, keep your cool and stay focused on the goal. You can be passionate and pushy and right all at the same time. 

Equal Pay Day - Closing the Wage Gap

Research from BLS 2014

Research from BLS 2014

Today, April 4, 2017 is EQUAL PAY DAY.

What is Equal Pay Day, you ask? It is a day where we as employees, employers, advocates, policy makers and concerned citizens can focus our attention on the wage gap that exists between white men and pretty much everyone else who works.

The wage gap has very real consequences for women and people of color for what they earn for equal work compared to men. 

Want some concrete tips on what you can do to personally make a change for yourself, or others, today?



The system has a pay imbalance built into it. Women are promoted less, paid less and given fewer opportunities. Don't wait for someone to take care of it for you. Negotiate for yourself for a new salary, for a new role, for a total, a promotion, whatever you need. Here's a great article from Entrepreneur today with some good tips. Contact us to talk about your own negotiation or bringing us into your company to teach important negotiation skills to your women. 


Be an ally

Whether you are in management or aspire to be in management - see something, say something. If you have a co-worker who is doing a great job, go out of your way to let her and her boss know about it. If you see a co-worker not being heard, amplify her voice. More voices together are powerful. Vocal allies can often say something for or about us that we can't say about each other. Read about the Women of the Obama White House who amplified each other's voices in meetings: 

Support businesses who support this cause

More than 300 businesses are offering a 20% discount today as a protest #20PercentCounts. See the full list here at And that isn't limited to retailers. Last year Salesforce spent 3 Million to close the gap between what women and men make.


Need more tips? (as if we aren't busy enough?!?)

 Here are 10 things HuffPo says you can do to dismantle the wage gap.