It’s a man’s world

October 20, 2011

James Brown was right when he sang, “This is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.”

It’s unfortunate that corporate America hasn’t come to that same conclusion when it comes to promoting women to their top ranks.

A new study by research firm Catalyst found that while doing all the right things to get ahead in the workplace is effective for men, being proactive did not provide as great an advantage for women.

Conventional wisdom says that women are outnumbered by men in the boardroom because they fail to negotiate for themselves, opt out of certain tasks, or put the skids on their careers for family,reports Eve Tahmincioglu of MSN.com. But, as Tahmincioglu reports in her story about Catalyst’s study, those assumptions are bunk.

The firm looked at commonly used career strategies and whether the gender gap persists because women and men adopt different methods to advance their careers. The findings revealed that men benefited more from adopting proactive strategies. However when women used the same tactics, they still advanced less than their male counterparts and had slower pay growth.

Regardless of the chosen career strategy, men outpace women in job advancement and pay from the get-go. There’s a $4,600 pay gap in their first post-MBA jobs, and that widens to $31,258 by mid-career, according to the study.

“This study busts the myth that ‘women don’t ask,’” said Ilene H. Lang, Catalyst’s president and chief executive. “In fact, they do. But it doesn’t get them very far. Men, by contrast, don’t have to ask. What’s wrong with this picture?”

Here’s this week’s Color of Money Question: “In your opinion, is it still a man’s world in corporate America?” Send your response to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Be sure to include your full name, city and state. Put “It’s a man’s world” in the subject line.

Tipper Tantrum

A waitress who wanted to get back at a customer, who failed to leave her a tip on his $28.98 tab, ended up having to apologize for her behavior.

Victoria Liss, a waitress at a Seattle restaurant called Bimbino Cantina, used her Facebook page to berate the non-tipper, who instead of leaving a tip left a scribbled note on the receipt that said: “You can stand to lose a couple of pounds,” reported ABC News.

Liss blasted the customer, Andrew Meyer, calling him a “yuppie scum.” Except the Andrew Meyer she berated was the wrong man. She lambasted another Andrew Meyer from Texas, who got a slew of nasty notes, according to a Seattle Post Intelligencer blog post.

“Beyond sorry, believe you me, just tried to make a point about the [expletive] way food service staff are treated,” Liss wrote on Facebook. “Threw the wrong guy under the bus.”

While the real Andrew Meyer has not been found, another Andrew Meyer of California decided to give Liss a tip.

He sent the waitress $28.98.

Waitresses Gone Wild

Seems there’s been quite a bit of revenge via social media for scorned wait staff.

Last year a Charlotte server lost her job for posting the wrong thing about the right person on her Facebook page.

Ashley Johnson, 22, was fired from her job at Brixx Pizza after writing an expletive laced post about a customer who only tipped her $5 after she worked an hour over her work schedule, reported reported the Charlotte Observer.

“Thanks for eating at Brixx. You cheap piece of (expletive) camper,” Johnson wrote.

Johnson’s venting apparently violated the restaurant’s policy against speaking disparagingly about customers.

“It was my own fault,” said Johnson. “I did write the message. But I had no idea that something that, to me is very small, could result in my losing my job.”

What do you think? Should employees insult bad customers on social media sites? Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com.

Celebrity Cash

Chris Tucker, comedian and star of the “Rush Hour” movie franchise, may lose his Orlando mansion to foreclosure, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Tucker purchased the property in 2007 for $6 million and according to foreclosure papers, owes SunTrust Bank more than $4 million. The home has an assessed value of $1.6 million. Tucker’s monthly mortgage payment was $25,812.50.

Last year, the Internal Revenue Service placed an $11.5 million lien on his home to collect federal income taxes, according to TMZ.

The Miami New Times blog reported that Tucker’s been using his financial woes in his comedy routine. During a recent comedy show, Tucker joked about calls to him from bill collectors.

The Times reported that these one-liners were part of his routine:

-- “That’s the last time I let Wesley Snipes help me out with my taxes.” Tucker was referring to fellow actor Snipes, who was convicted of failing to file tax returns in 1999, 2000 and 2001 and is now serving a three-year jail sentence.

-- “They [bill collectors] calling you acting like you owe them the money personally!” he said. “I don’t owe you (expletive)! This is between me and the company!”

Guess we’ll be seeing “Rush Hour 4” soon.

Debt Defeaters

Did you finally defeat the debt monkey?

If you’ve paid off some debt lately, tell me about it. How does it feel to get that monkey off your back? Send your Debt Defeater story to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Be sure to include a statement describing your debt success. Put “Debt Defeater” in the subject line.

If I read your story during my video chat, you will be sporting a free Debt Defeater T-shirt.

“Occupy Wall Street” Responses

Last week’s Color of Money Question was, “Is the Occupy Wall Street movement overdue or overdone?”

Here are some of your comments:

The Occupy Wall Street protests are long overdue, wrote Sue Park of Philadelphia. She said: “This country and the world economy has been jerked around long enough by the financial establishment.”

Lynn Moulton of Eddyville, Ky. agrees. “I believe the Occupy Wall Street movement is long overdue,” she said. “I taught in an inner city public school in Chicago for 19 years. I reached the point where I could no longer tell my students that if they worked hard, got a good education (something unavailable to them) and played by the rules they could succeed. I know that’s no longer true. The system is rigged against them, and against most average Americans. Upward mobility is fast becoming a myth.”

Ruth Jilka of College Station, Tex., sees things differently. “]The protestors] have chosen a simple target and now are seeing how far they can get away with it and how violent they can be under the guise of simple protest. There is nothing noble about this group.”

C. Vass of Silver Spring, Md. says, “Forget defining success, the occupiers are so disorganized and present so awfully, it is difficult to take any of them seriously.”

Upcoming Events

--On Saturday, November 12, I will be speaking at the YWCA of the Hartford Region’s 10th Anniversary Money Conference for Women. The organization will be “Celebrating 10 Years of Giving Women the Power to Prosper.” The event will be held at the Hartford Marriott Downtown located at 200 Columbus Blvd. in Hartford, Conn. The event is from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. I will discuss the challenges women face personally and professionally, provide money management tips, investment advice and retirement strategies. The event is free. For information, click here.

- Tuesday, November 15, I will be moderating The Washington Post’s “Sweet Savings” event, a lively discussion about finding bargains and stretching dollars. Panelists include Travel section staff writer Andrea Sachs, Local Living staff writer Terri Sapienza and deputy editor of the Food section Bonnie Benwick. The event is from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at The Washington Post, 1150 15th Street, NW in Washington. Registration is currently available on the PostPoints Web site. Platinum and Gold PostPoints members are able to register online. Silver members and all others must pay at the door. The cost is $20. There will be light hors d’oeuvres provided.

Tia Lewis contributed to this e-letter.

You are welcome to e-mail comments and questions to singletarym@washpost.com.. Please include your name and hometown; your comments may be used in a future column or newsletter unless otherwise requested.

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