09/25/2013 02:57 pm ET Updated Nov 25, 2013

Here's This Thing I Wrote About Women And Self-Promotion


It's no surprise Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In movement includes small, women-only support groups: The minor acts of aggression and self-promotion that are required to earn a seat on the private jet are terrifying to undertake. But what Sandberg's manifesto neglects to fully acknowledge is that leaning in is no longer restricted to semi-private conference rooms and power lunches. Owing to the tandem rise of the freelance economy and part-personal, part-professional social-networking sites -- thanks, Sandberg -- workers are in annual review mode 24/7, in public.

"It's getting harder to tell people you can separate your personal and professional lives," says Dan Schawbel, the 29-year-old author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success. If Schawbel and the TED Talk-ing class are to be believed, all industries now require workers to present themselves online as a competent and collegial staffer-at-large, as if the Internet were one big dating site -- employee seeking employer with benefits. In fact, when asked how a person should go about boosting her personal-professional brand, Schawbel takes on the infuriating Zen of a romantic self-help guru. "What you put up is what you're going to attract," he says.

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