Women, Stop Using This Word at Work

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2015 12:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Women, enough with the word "just." In a post at LinkedIn, Google alum and entrepreneur Ellen Petry Leanse makes the case that women use the word much more often than men in the workplace—to their own detriment. It's a weak word, she argues, and it makes women seem weak when they use it. Phrases such as "Just wondering if you'd decided between ... " or "I just wanted to check in ... " may sound harmless enough, but they deliver an underlying message. "I began to notice that 'just” wasn’t about being polite: it was a subtle message of subordination, of deference," writes Leanse.

"Sometimes it was self-effacing. Sometimes even duplicitous. As I started really listening, I realized that striking it from a phrase almost always clarified and strengthened the message." Her evidence that women use it more is admittedly anecdotal, but she's sure of it. Leanse tried an experiment with colleagues at work to excise the word from their vocabularies, and that small change improved decisiveness and self-confidence, she writes. And she encourages women everywhere to be conscious of it: "Help take the 'J Count down." Click for the full post.

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |