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Making networks work (plus digression on lingerie)

The sales are on in Paris at the moment. The sales are government-controlled, so all shops have a sale at the same time and sales at any other moment are forbidden. On my way to the bus stop each morning I walk past 5 lingerie shops, full of plastic models with drawn-on stomach muscles and tiny breasts with ‘-70%’ attached to the bits of silk wrapped around them. Despite the fact I know I’ll never look like them, I am attracted to the window display in Orcanta.

I have the perfect dress to go with it: a scarlet shift dress which somehow manages to make my stomach look flat, my calves look toned and keep me from losing my lunch in my cleavage all at the same time. It’s a fab dress. And it was … £5.50 from Oxfam! I have no idea who made it (pity); the label has been cut out. I just wish there were charity shops in Paris; with all the well-dressed people here I’d never have to shop anywhere else. Anyway, if I need to wow some project sponsor or power-dress, I wheel out my Oxfam bargain and I can conquer the world.

I had my half-year review on Thursday and I started the day wishing I had had the foresight to wear the red dress to give me extra confidence but actually it went OK and I didn’t need it.

I said I’d let you know what I thought the author of the article on Tech Republic I pointed to last week has left out.

It’s something I use a fair bit: networking. There is a great deal of power to be gained from pressing the right buttons with your network, even in relation to getting your boss or sponsor to do the right thing. They can and will be influenced by the performance and comments of others. They do care what their peers think of their department. So get a high-level set of friends and apply peer pressure wherever it is required.

Working a network takes a bit of practice. I can’t say I’m an expert but I get by. On another note about a different type of networking: Paris is getting a wi-fi network (thanks Francis for this link). Whether I’ll still be here when it’s implemented is another matter. I’m not holding my breath…

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About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin FAPM is a professional project manager and award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.
Elizabeth lives in the UK with her family. She uses her organisation and project management skills at home, and also to help other bloggers at Totally Organised Blogging.


  1. Elizabeth says

    12 August, 2006 at 1:55 pm


    I completely agree. Both women and men should be judged on their ability to do the job. I have never heard of anyone working in project management who has used sex to advance their career or get a contract but I agree it is not a good tactic.
    If you thought that was what I was implying by this post, I just want to reassure you that it wasn’t. There is a cavernous difference between feeling confident and acting confidently because of what you wear and, as you say, using sex blatantly in the workplace.

  2. Tam Hanna says

    7 August, 2006 at 8:56 pm

    attention with using sex to get a contract.

    Many managers feel very fast that a female is trying to use sexual appeal to get the contract. Then, they usually are reinforced in their anti-female prejudices and press you extra-hard to see what you really can do.

    IMHO, its better to keep away from using sex to get contracts or jobs as this can backfire easily!

    Best regards
    Tam Hanna

  3. Penina says

    18 July, 2006 at 11:42 am

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Besides the ever-helpful PM notes, I was delighted to see the news about Paris going wireless. I posted a link to the article, and to your site, on my personal blog. I’m sure I’ll be referencing you on my pro blog, too, before long!


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