By Maggie Bellville Have you yet seen Nan Mooney’s new book, ‘I Can’t Believe She Did That! Why Women Betray Other Women at Work?’ Let me sum up her premise: Why is it that men help each other and women don’t? Why, when a man comes on board is he shown the ropes, asked to go for a drink by his male peers, and embraced as the newest member of the "team," while a woman is held by other women at arm’s length and forced to prove herself? I know broad generalizations are dangerous, but I’ve been in this business long enough to see this scenario is more often true than not. Women simply do not, as a rule, help each other like men do. I’m not speaking of backstabbing, sabotage and vicious gossip – all of which are, unfortunately, a reality. I’m referring to something that even good women fail to do regularly — help each other. Take my cousin Marly. She’s president and owner of a marketing firm that works with large international companies. She recently helped her friend Susan get a big job as CMO of a Fortune 500 company. I don’t mean she made an introduction and backed off — she dug-in and really helped her friend develop a presentation whose vision for strategy and marketing wowed the board. In her first days on the job, Susan called Marly and said, "Boy, do I need you and your company here! We need your services – send a proposal right away!" Marly was flattered, and worked to clear her calendar and make arrangements to meet her friend’s urgent need. But Susan never called back. When she finally reached her, Susan side-stepped, "You know corporate wants me to use this other firm, and I want to be politically correct. And…" That was it. Marly didn’t get any work and wasn’t recommended for or to anyone else. My cousin was furious, and with good reason. But in truth, for me it was just another example of something I’d seen play out in the workplace time and time again. Two men would go to the mat to support each other for the help they’ve shared, wouldn’t they? So why don’t women? There are so few top spots for women. The sniping can get fierce, even though they are publicly supportive of each other. That nice syndrome is a big problem — boys are taught to compete, girls are taught to get along and be nice. What does this mean for women in the cable industry? It means it’s time we step up to help each other in a significant way – not just through words, speeches, and gestures, but by pulling each and every one of us, up and through the glass ceiling with support, giving work, or an opportunity to each other. If it’s acceptable for the new guy to come in and bring along his buddies, why can’t women do that, too? Recently I encountered a lot of women college students carping about then-Supreme Court nominee Harriet Myers, saying she would set women back 100 years. Yet as I listened, I knew that many of them would graduate, enter the workforce, and by behaving the very same way they were in front of me, help contribute to an insidious malaise that hurts women more than any glass ceiling. Maybe you can’t change the world, but you can change yourself. Help one another land the big job or get the promotion, never badmouth another woman to the boss, and always try to support woman-owned companies by hiring them for big jobs. While this may sound simplistic, keep in mind, men do it. And I think it’s about time we did too. Maggie Bellville is a partner in the Atlanta-based executive search firm CarterBaldwin. She can be reached at mbellville@carterbaldwin.com

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