Your gender shouldn't define your success at work. It's not about your sex, it's about you and your ability to learn certain skills and behaviours to help you step up in your career.
In the new book, No Sex at Work (Major Street Publishing $29.95), author and founder of Financial Executive Women, Judith Beck, provides a no-nonsense guide to career advancement and inspires you to see yourself as an individual not a gender. Drawing upon extensive experience as a leading recruiter in the financial services industry, Judith explains what the top 10 percent of high achievers do well, and how to increase your chances of success by eradicating the barriers holding you back.
Judith explains how the skills needed for business success are the same for everyone, and shows how to keep sex out of work by focusing on:
1. The soft skills you need to handle certain situations in the work environment
2. The business skills you need to help progress in your career
3. How to highlight your capabilities as one of the 10 per cent of high achievers
4. How to stop defining yourself as a gender, race, religion, and any other label
Filled with practical advice and personal insight from the author, No Sex at Work empowers readers of any gender with the tools needed to take greater control of your professional and personal lives.
About the author:
Author Judith Beck had a stellar career in recruitment with Financial Recruitment Group, an executive search company she founded in 1995. Over her career, she has successfully placed thousands of candidates at senior to managing director level within the finance industry. What Judith learnt from recruitment led her to start Financial Executive Women (FEW) in 2013, an organisation that promotes the positive progression of women in the finance industry through experience, guidance and support. Judith passed the FEW business to the next generation in 2020 and her passion remains to ensure women have the right support systems to advance their careers.
Question: What originally inspired the idea of No Sex At Work?
Judith Beck: For over 25 years I ran my own executive search firm and during that time I could clearly see the reasons that some people succeeded and others didn't. I saw so many things that led me to believe that what holds people back in their career is more about behaviours and lack of support systems.
My belief is that you are a businessperson first. The path should be the same for everyone regardless of gender, race, religion, or any other label people try to apply.
I wanted to be able to share the do's and don'ts that I have learnt from my own experiences and from mentors and people I respect, on how to get from A to B successfully in your career.
Question: How did you develop your approach to gender equality at work?
Judith Beck: In both my businesses and for the clients that I worked for, I made sure that the hiring process was fair. By that I mean looking through a lens that has no label bias or preconceived ideas about a person. To always see the person as an individual and what they can bring to the table.
Secondly, I developed a culture that was always inclusive of everyone and everyone was encouraged to have an opinion and to feel free to speak up. No one is better than anyone else and everyone is filling an important role.
Question: What did you learn, about yourself, whilst writing No Sex At Work?
Judith Beck: That something you have always wanted to do can be achieved, even though it has been on your to do list for ages. If you set your mind to it – it will happen. When I finished the last line in my book – I couldn't believe it and felt so happy that I finally completed what I always wanted to do.
Question: What's the main message you hope readers take from No Sex At Work?
Judith Beck: I would like them to see that being successful is not hard if you look at what the top ten percenters do and be consistent in your behaviours (in a good way). Don't put a label on yourself or let others put a label on you – be an individual and focus on what you can do as an individual to get from A to B successfully in your career. Seek mentors - don't try to do it on your own.
Question: Can you share some tips with us, featured in the book?
Judith Beck: One of things that always comes up in sessions that I facilitate is – 'How do I state my achievements?'
When you talk about or list an achievement, make sure you follow the 'so what?' principle. If someone needs to ask, 'So what?' after the statement, you haven't said enough.
For example, if you put on your resume:
I developed a new technology platform for the company.
So what! It could have been the worst platform in the world. In other words, you haven't completed the story.
You need to say what the result was:
I developed a new technology platform for the company that improved productivity by 50% and saved the company $100k.
Look at your resume right now and do the 'so what?' test with your achievements and put in your results for each statement. This will get you use to thinking about results and when you need to verbalise it you will be ready.
Question: What research did you do, prior to writing No Sex At Work?
Judith Beck: I have more than 25 years' experience in recruiting at senior levels and have interviewed over 20,000 professionals. For 10 years during that time, we conducted salary surveys and specialist interviews on behaviours. In addition, I founded FEW in 2012 where I was able to conduct surveys and speak to hundreds of women of all levels within financial services.
Question: What advice do you have for aspiring writers or artists?
Judith Beck: Don't overthink it and even if it has been on your to do list for years, it is never too late. I would always suggest going to a publisher instead of self-publishing as they have the experience to guide you and help in so many ways. Don't be afraid to reach out to authors for advice. Mentors are so important, and most people are willing to help.
Question: What or who inspired your love of reading/writing?
Judith Beck: I don't remember what inspired me exactly, I always knew that I liked writing and one day I would find the time and the time would be right.
Question: What's next, for you?
Judith Beck: I am passionate about helping people achieve their goals and passing on experience to the next generations. This year will be about passing on that experience through the book and my book club – Next year – maybe another book!
Interview by Gwen van Montfort