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Work Smart: Becoming A Better Leader In A Post-Pandemic World With Dr. Jennie Byrne

No Woman Left Behind | Jennie Byrne | Work Smart


Feeling drained by endless Zoom calls and struggling to connect with your team? This episode dives deep into the science of leading with empathy in a post-pandemic world, especially for women. Dr. Jennie Byrne, a brain and behavior expert, joins Rosie Zilinskas to crack the code on creating a psychologically safe space where everyone thrives. Learn how to manage Zoom fatigue, overcome societal pressures that hold women back, and unlock your full potential as a leader – all while fostering a team environment that embraces change and human connection. Whether you’re navigating remote work or climbing the corporate ladder, this episode is packed with actionable tips and insights from Dr. Byrne’s acclaimed book “Work Smart” to help you work smarter, not harder, and become the leader you were meant to be.

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Work Smart: Becoming A Better Leader In A Post-Pandemic World With Dr. Jennie Byrne


I have the pleasure of talking to Dr. Jennie Byrne. She lives to connect the dots between people and ideas in new and unexpected ways. She has strong people skills and she enjoys bringing psychological savvy and emotional intelligence to complicated problems. That is why I decided to ask Dr. Jennie to come on our show because of her psychological savvy.


In this episode, we’re going to do a variety of things, but the main thing that I wanted to focus on is we’re going to talk about leaders and what key characteristics leaders must have to foster a positive team environment. When you are trying to deploy something, a new process to your team, how do you get the team to buy into that process? What are some unique challenges that women face compared to men and how can they be addressed? We’re going to talk about all that and much more. Stay tuned.

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Dr. Jennie, how are you doing?


I’m doing great, Rosie. Thank you.

Become Better Leaders


Obviously, you are a physician. You are a brain and behavior specialist. You’re an author. As you know, the show is focused around women in the corporate space trying to advance in their careers. You have a book that you wrote actually during the pandemic. Is that correct?


Yeah, that’s right.


It’s called Work Smart. One of the things that I think we still need a lot of help in the corporate space is helping leaders become better leaders. As you well know, leaders are stuck in the middle. They have to report up and then they have a team that’s reporting to them, but they, in turn, have a responsibility to develop their team. Let’s start there. How would you suggest a leader become a better leader?


First of all, you’re right. Leadership is hard, especially when you’re caught in the middle. Even if you’re the CEO, the reality is you typically report to a board or everybody has somebody that they have to report up to. I guess one of the things I hear leaders struggling with the most recently, especially during the pandemic, has been around empathy. Everybody wants to show up with empathy and that’s become a buzzword, which is excellent as a psychiatrist and therapist. We totally believe in the power of empathy.


What I see most leaders not realize, and this is something that we train in as psychotherapists, is that you only have a limited amount of empathy in a given day. Some people naturally may have more than others because of their temperament, but in reality, even a psychotherapist who uses empathy for a living has a limited amount and they have to learn how much they have to give in a day. Honestly, as a leader, it requires a lot of self-awareness and self-care to show up in an empathetic way. It takes a lot and there are no shortcuts.

No Woman Left Behind | Jennie Byrne | Work Smart
Work Smart: As a leader, it requires a lot of self-awareness and self-care to show up in an empathetic way.


If you show up sleep-deprived and tired and maybe hungry and irritable, you cannot flip a switch and become an empathetic person if you’re not in a good space yourself. This idea of having an awareness of yourself and how much empathy you have on a given day because you have life going on in the background some days are going to be better than others and then think very strategically about where you’re going to use your empathy for the day. You might only have a little bit. You might have to be very careful about where you use it some days.


That makes a lot of sense because I used to be a manager in the corporate world and you’re absolutely right, especially when you start your day and you think you have your day set or scheduled and then some fire happens and then everything goes sideways. That puts you in a frazzled state. I know with your book, Work Smart, is there maybe a thing or two that the leaders can do when they’re running out of empathy, almost running out of empathy and they still have half a day to go or maybe sometimes a full day depending on when this fire happens?


Definitely. I also see most leaders aren’t comfortable with taking a couple of minutes away. As a leader, you do have the power to say, “I need 30 minutes to myself.” Most leaders don’t feel that they have that power. In reality, once you’ve reached leadership levels, that’s one of the benefits. You probably have 30 minutes that you could take, whatever helps you get in a better state of mind, whether petting the dog at home, taking a walk, closing your eyes, lying on your couch, or reading, anything that works for you.


First of all, fires happen almost every day. A good practice is to build buffers for fires into your day. If fires get in the morning, maybe every morning from 10:30 to 11:00, you have a block of time putting out fires. That would be your best practice, but if that fails, you can take a couple of minutes to yourself. That’s one thing, time management. The other thing would be, let’s say you only have a little bit of empathy because there’s so much going on and you’re totally frazzled. You took 30 minutes. You’re still frazzled. Show a little vulnerability and modeling as a leader to others. How can they cope when they feel frazzled?


If you feel frazzled, they probably do. Say, ” I wanted to let you know we have our one-to-one schedule. I have a lot of stuff going on here in the background. I want to be fully present for you. If you prefer, we could reschedule a little later, and I will probably be able to be a little bit more present with you.” Modeling that vulnerability, but in a way that’s not breaking down and crying with your direct reports but saying, “I have stuff going on in the background. It’s not relevant or important for you to know all the details, but I may not be 100% right now and I value you and I want to be 100% for you.”


I love that so much because one of the things that is lacking in the corporate world is showing humanity and vulnerability. Sometimes, I think when people become managers or leaders, they feel that they have to portray a certain persona, that they’re tough, and that they can lead and whatever. I like that suggestion of being vulnerable. Who wants to have their one-on-one when their manager is frazzled or they’re not there? You shouldn’t want to. You’re like, “Let’s reschedule. we’ll take it from there.” I like that suggestion.


Yeah, and I think the vulnerability piece is something I’ve certainly had to work on over time. I had trouble with that at the beginning, especially as a doctor and physician. We have this idea we’re supposed to be perfect all the time, with zero mistakes. Every day, you have to be 100%. That’s been hard for me. I think if somebody’s reading and they’re struggling with that, like, “Yeah, but I don’t know,” one frame that helped me make progress on vulnerability with the idea that people are watching me and I’m modeling. Whatever I do, that’s going to help them feel like they can do the same thing. When I frame it that way in my head, like practicing what you preach, others are watching you, and that makes it a little easier for me to take better care of myself and be vulnerable.

“Practice what you preach. Others are watching you.” – Dr. Jennie Byrne Share on X

Psychological Safety


I know that I’ve heard the term psychological safety. I know what it means. I know you know what it means, but let’s talk a little bit about psychological safety or you recommend from the therapist’s perspective how leaders can use that psychological safety concept to make their teams feel more that they can approach the manager, that they can actually communicate because I’ll share with you. When I was a manager or when I rolled something out, my kids were like, “Yeah, that’s great. We love it,” and then a few days later, I hear all the grumblings of, “They didn’t like that. What did you do?” I’m like, “They told me they’d like this.” How can we truly establish communication and comfort between the direct reports and the leader?


Some things that I have found helpful for that because you’re right, and the higher you go, the less people tell you the truth. It’s hard to be a CEO, if anyone’s reading who’s a CEO. When you’re the CEO, people don’t tell you the truth, and that’s a problem. As a manager of any level, getting honest feedback is going to be tough because there is a power differential. That’s natural human behavior, and there is a power differential at corporate, especially ladders and all that. How do you get around that? There’s a couple of things. I recommend, first of all, modeling. If you find an opportunity to model that, like when you’re saying, “I had to go talk to my boss, the CEO,” and it was a hard conversation.


There was something they said, and I had a different point of view. That was hard for me, and I had to figure out how to do it. Sometimes, sharing stories proactively and modeling it, again, makes you more human and a little easier to approach. Also shows that you have to work on that. You realize it’s hard, so you’re validating for them that it’s hard for them to come to you. If you find opportunities to tell stories, I think that’s good. A practical thing to do is bake in the assumption of not agreeing.


Giving people choices that are not binary, like we’re doing this and we’re not. If there are opportunities to say we could do this or this by changing it from one option to 2 or 3 options, that will automatically foster a more balanced feedback of what are the pros and cons of each. When you present it as a binary, like, “We’re doing this or we’re not,” that automatically shuts down that conversation. If you can provide choices, that’s a good way to do it.


Another good way to do it would be going through a semi-structured exercise of feedback where you say, “Okay, on my team, I have four people. Two of you, I want you to think of all the positive things about this, and two of you, I want you to tear this to pieces and tell me all the things that are terrible and that are going to come back.” Actively tell someone that you want them to tear it down. Sometimes, that opens up the door for people to give you more honest feedback. That’s another trick I’ve done sometimes.


A third way would be when you’re going through something new that you are going to do. You’re not giving them a choice. You’re saying this is the way it is, which we have to do sometimes. Giving people the opportunity to share their concerns and how confident they are that this will be successful and giving them a place to register their concerns, like even document it like, “Here’s a decision I have made as the leader, but I want to hear everybody’s concerns and then we can document that for posterity.” Sometimes, that gives people permission to be skeptical and to feel like they can document it, so then there’s less of that behind-your-back chitter chatter because you’ve at least given a venue to put it on the record.


I love your suggestion of giving them at least three choices if you can if possible, because you’re right, like when you say, “If you do this or this,” then they feel stuck, but if you say, “This, this or this,” and then posterior to that, now let’s go once further and you three look at it positively. You three look at all the possible pitfalls. I love that because, again, not only does it give them the ability to communicate back to you, but they’re buying into the process.

Psychological Safety


When they buy into the process, then, “We collectively came up with this together.” They cannot be like, “You implemented this or they implemented this.” I like that. I know you work with both men and women. One of the things that I’ve always asked people is what is it that women don’t do in their career development that men automatically do or do naturally? Have you been able to ascertain 2 or 3 things that women are not proactively doing the way men do in their careers?

Women And Their Careers


I’m not the first person to think this. I’ve thought about this for myself, but a couple of things I’ve noticed in my career, in particular, have been men typically are brought up to have a growth and opportunity mindset and women are brought up to have a risk mitigation and budgeting mindset. This shows up for me in my finances, and it shows up at work. When they are interviewed, men are asked questions about growth, and women are asked questions about risk mitigation. For example, this was back in the day. Hopefully, this doesn’t happen anymore.

“Men typically are brought up to have a growth and opportunity mindset, and women are brought up to have a risk mitigation mindset.” – Dr. Jennie Byrne Share on X

When I was interviewing to do an MD or PhD program, more than one of my interviewers asked me how many kids I was planning to have and when I was planning to have them. I hope that doesn’t happen anymore, but it is an example of risk mitigation. They’re already thinking about me as a risk and how to mitigate me as a risk, whereas I don’t think they would ever ask a man that. That’s one thing.


The other thing I noticed that women struggle with is, I don’t say asking for help. There are a lot of societal expectations and assumptions around women and their role as a mother, wife or a daughter. I see women feeling that societal pressure very heavily and not thinking of alternatives. For example, a common one is cooking. What’s the impact of grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking, and cleanup on your career?


If you love cooking, maybe you want to do that. If you don’t, most women are like, “What’s going to happen? We’re going to eat out, maybe my husband, my partner is going to do it.” They don’t take the next step. It’s like, “What are the other options?” For example, in our household, we have someone, a household employee, and part of the job is to do all that. It has a significant impact on my ability.


I don’t like to cook, first of all. It has a significant impact on my ability to be successful in my career. There’s a lot of this household labor or traditional roles that women don’t. They assume they have to be responsible for it, and they don’t get out of their own way. A benefit of moving up is that, in theory, you make more money, and you have the ability to have more options when you’re making more money. Women tend not to think about that. They still assume that they have to do everything. That’s one.


I guess the third one, which has always been hard for me, is around pay, around salary, bonus, raises, asking for money, and negotiating money. I was very uncomfortable with that for many years. It probably did stunt my earnings for a number of years, where now I’m trying to catch up in some ways. I think a lot of women, it’s not taught to us. We’re very uncomfortable. It’s hard for us to find the right way and something that feels good to us that doesn’t feel aggressive.


Yeah, I agree with everything that you said. I also think there are so many food services out there that you can select maybe two meals a week or whatever and people forget about that. They send you all the ingredients and you might have to buy the meat or whatever. That’s also an option. What is interesting, there are seasons when I’m like so focused on cooking and then it’s like, after a while, it’s so much work. You’re absolutely right. It’ll take a whole Sunday for me to do the whole meal prep for the week, and that’s literally 4 to 5 hours that I’m cooking. Not that my husband doesn’t do anything, but he’s doing other stuff around the house.

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Work Smart


Tell me a little bit more about your book. Work Smart, tell me how you came up with the idea. What prom did it? Tell me about what are the like 2 or 3 main things from your book.


No Woman Left Behind | Jennie Byrne | Work Smart
Work Smart: Use Your Brain and Behavior to Master the Future of Work

Yes, it was a fun adventure. It’s my first book. I did hybrid publishing, which is another story, but the idea came from pre-pandemic, like most people. I went to offices. I worked in hospitals. I had started to do work at home with some travel actually, pre-pandemic. My sister had been doing this for many years. I knew that there were other ways to work, but she seemed in the minority. When the pandemic hit, like most people, I was like, “What do we do now?”


I was looking for answers. I was reading. I was like, “IT is going to give me the answer, or HR is going to give me the answer, or somebody’s going to tell me how to do this thing.” There were no answers. Out of a practical need to figure it out, I started researching from my lens, which is a brain and behavior lens. In the process of doing that research and then applying that research to what I was doing and a company that I co-founded during the pandemic, I geeked out on the topic. I did some interviews with other people and I got passionate about it and then the opportunity came and someone said, “I think you should write a book.”


I said, “Okay, I’ll write a book.” I somewhat impossibly said yes to writing the book, but since I’ve written it and talking to people, everybody is still reeling from the massive acceleration of how work has changed. The reality is it’s never going back. Most of these trends were already happening, but the pandemic put it into super drive. I think the key parts of the book, the thing that everybody misses and wants in work and this was pre-pandemic, it’s human connectedness and empathy. I think that’s what people crave deep down.


When you ask them, “What do I need help with?” It’s more practical things like, “How do I communicate virtually? I cannot sit on Zoom meetings all day long, but I cannot go back to the office.” Those are the questions that come up to the surface first. I think that the two big things that are foundational to getting to the good stuff, the connectedness stuff, are around time management and communication. I think those are the foundational pillars upon which you can build the connectedness and empathy that everybody is craving. The book breaks it down in that way, which I talk about time management. Where did our concepts of the 9:00 to 5:00 come from? People aren’t even aware of where that came from.


Where did that come from?


It turns out 9:00 to 5:00 came from the turn of the century, the early 1900s, at the Ford factory. Prior to that, people who worked in factories worked around the clock seven days a week. There were some social anthropologists who proposed an eight-hour work day and everybody laughed at them. They said, “That’s absolutely absurd.” When Ford came, he looked at those ideas and he thought, “I want to get top talent for my factory. If I reduce the work hours to 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, I bet I can get good talent.” That’s what he did. He was successful.


The 9:00 to 5:00 was born at the Ford factory. Before that, if you go back and look at the 1800s, for example, first of all, if you were wealthy, you didn’t work. Leisure was considered the pinnacle of achievement. Working was considered low class. That’s obviously totally different now, In our cult of busyness world. The factory workers were slaving away, working around the clock.


You had this society where everybody wanted to escape work and not work at all, but most people were in these terrible working conditions. Nobody was 9:00 to 5:00. By the way, nobody went to the offices. In the 1800s, unless you were in the government, professionals worked at home. Physicians might have a home office and then go do house calls. Lawyers probably had a home office. This idea of going to the office also came from the Ford Factory floor.


Thank you, Ford. In a way, yes, thank you, because obviously, they were able to identify problems where people were being abused. That’s a good thing. I agree that connectedness is the main thing that people crave because I know people who go to work specifically to socialize because otherwise, they’re isolated. We talked to this a little bit. I did want to ask you about Zoom meetings, when you’re from meeting to meeting. Interestingly enough, before COVID, we had teleconferences and saw each other. It was a phone call. The pandemic came and all of a sudden, everybody’s on camera. I’ve noticed that unless you’re specifically needed to be on camera, people turn their cameras off. I heard you say that that’s a good thing. I’d like to expand a little bit about why you think that’s a good thing when you’re in meetings with cameras off.


As always, the devil’s in the details. The reason that Zoom calls are so overwhelming to be on a Zoom, Teams or video calls all day long is that your brain is reacting to a very unnatural situation. Right now, for example, I have you on speaker view. I’m sitting more than an arm’s length distance. I see you’re not super close, and I can see your body language from here on. When you’re on video, that’s the healthiest version of the other person that your brain can process. Most people use video calls where you do you see everybody at the same time.


Basically, your brain has cells that are designed to look at human faces. It is very alarming to your brain to see twenty faces staring at it from very unnatural positions all the same time. You’re setting off a cascade of pathetic activation and chemicals to your body telling you that something’s wrong. Your brain is using a lot of glucose to try to manage the stimulation and then your body is getting flooded with fight or flight chemicals because you imagine an animal in the jungle and all of a sudden, you see ten eyes right at the top of you.


We’re animals at the end of the day, so it’s very alarming to your body. Zoom fatigue or video fatigue is a real phenomenon, and there’s some research in the book about it. Your brain is using a lot of resources to try to manage that dissonance, and then your body is getting negatively impacted. The best practice for video, I would say, is to get on the call on video, say hello, and then give permission for people to go off video. Maybe come back on right at the end to wave goodbye.


That’s the best of both worlds. You get to see everybody, wave, and go off. Now, there are some exceptions to that. Some research has shown that women, in particular, and other underrepresented groups tend to feel more scrutinized visually on camera as well as in person. If you put your self-view on, for example, that’s bad for your brain. I always recommend to turn it off. Maybe look to make sure you don’t have food in your teeth, but then turn the self-view off because your brain also has mirror cells and you will not be able to not look at yourself.


Especially it’s been shown for women and other groups that feel very scrutinized with their appearance, that will also trigger that stress response in your body. Having said that, think about your team. If you have women or other people who may feel very scrutinized visually, you may want to switch to audio-only for many of your meetings. It’s a little bit more about your team. If you have a team full of experts who love being on camera, you might want to stay on camera. It’s more about who’s on your team and what is the purpose of the meeting.


If you’re showing the slides, do you need to see people’s faces? Probably not. You have to understand the best practice but then take it to the next level. What’s the point of this meeting? What are we trying to do? Who is here? Explicitly say at the beginning, “For this meeting, I’m going to say we go off camera because we’re going to show slides. I’d like you to use the raise hand,” if it’s a big group of people. You spend a minute and go through the norms of the meeting right at the beginning. That’s also very helpful.


I want to know if you agree with this or not. When you are on Zoom, your brain is so taxed that it cannot think or you’re not as creative as if you had the cameras off. Is that something that you would agree with?


I’ve heard people say that you cannot do creative work remotely and I would definitely challenge that. Whether the camera is on or off, for creative work, I like to use some collaboration tool that both people can be doing simultaneously. I personally love to whiteboard. If you use Zoom, there is a whiteboard feature that will take the faces off, and you can do a whiteboard together. I also like to use Miro, which is a tool.


I’m obsessed with it. They make fun of me. I’m a little obsessed with Miro. If you’re not a whiteboard person, you can do other interactive things that don’t require looking at faces. I think it’s probably dependent on the person and what works best for them and the team. To be creative, I would probably use some interactive tools.

Work Struggles


I know that with the men that you work, men still have struggles. Are their struggles that much different than women’s? Strictly, when we’re talking about career advancement, what are some of the struggles that they deal with that women don’t deal with?


I think in the same way that women have assumptions and societal pressures to do certain things. Men are the same. Some of the ones that they would tell me were there’s a culture with men typically like going to the bar and drinking or playing golf or doing these other guy activities to build trust and relationships. For people who don’t drink, that’s not great. Maybe you don’t like to drink, maybe you do not want to have an addiction, so you don’t want to drink, or maybe you’re trying to watch your diet.


Sometimes that’s hard for them. I also think it’s interesting now that more companies are offering family paternity leave. That can elicit a very strong reaction. If men want to take family leave or paternity leave, I’ve seen that. Men stigmatize each other for that, which is interesting. I think right now, a lot of the men I work with are probably a little older, in their 40s or 50s, maybe White men typically who were maybe in leadership positions, I see them struggling to be empathetic with how others want to work together and in a very kind way.


They’re like, “I don’t understand.” They’ll call me, and I’ll say, “Jennie, can you explain it to me? I don’t understand. Why don’t people want to come to the office? I’m planning a big dinner. Why doesn’t everyone want to come?” In a kind way, they’re trying to wrap their head around this new way of working and people having their own needs and speaking up about I don’t have childcare because before, childcare was always a problem, but nobody talked about it.


I laugh because we had our kids when they went to Pre-K and this isn’t great as a doctor, but there were days when they had a little fever and I gave them some meds before they went to school because it would buy me four hours. That’s not great. That’s how it was. I never went to work and said, “My kid has a fever. I’m struggling.” No, I was like, “How can I rearrange my day if I can get it all done in four hours?” It’s always been a problem, but now people are talking about it and they’re saying, like, “I don’t have childcare. I don’t want to come to the office. I don’t want to go on a trip. I don’t want to go to a dinner.”


The men are like, “I don’t understand. Why is childcare such an issue all of a sudden?” A lot of them came from traditional households where their wife or partner stayed at home. They have never, honestly, thought about it. I see them struggling in a way and in a kind way often, sometimes in an angry, frustrated way, but more than often in a kind way.


“I don’t understand. What do people want? Why are things so different now?” If you go higher up, people don’t tell you the truth. These White men who are in very high positions and people aren’t telling them the truth. They say other things. I always try to be the messenger of the truth bearer, whatever you want to call it, but I try to explain it to them in a way because I know that they’re doing it out of like a kind place. They’re not doing it to be mean.


It gives me a lot of comfort that the men that you’re working with are trying to understand that. They’re calling you and say, “Jennie, explain this to me because I don’t get it.” I think that’s a good thing that’s happening. It’s good to know that they have struggles. I had never thought about the alcohol, like if someone doesn’t for whatever reason and they’re expected to go and have a couple of beers and they drink whatever soda or water. The question is like, “Aren’t you drinking?”


I’m not a drinker and I even get that question very often. I’m like, “No, I don’t drink for no particular reason at all, but I just don’t care for alcohol.” I used to like my margaritas, but as I’m getting older, they’re don’t agree with me. I can appreciate how they would have different struggles. Dr. Jennie, well, this has been a great conversation. Is there maybe one tip that you want to leave with the women that are struggling in the corporate world to try to advance? What’s one thing that you think they can focus on to get them to at least start taking action?


I know a lot of women may have had this happen. I’ve had it happen in my life. Sometimes, you have these moments where you’re like, “Life is short. How much time do I have? How much time am I going to be working?” Time moves quickly.” Sometimes, that frame helps clarify what matters? Is it advancement on a corporate ladder like getting a title? Is it money? Is it respect? Is it flexibility? Is it autonomy? What do I want? I think American corporate life has created these ladders of titles.


The reality is they’re all made up. Let’s be honest, I know my husband and his company, he literally was in charge of making them up. They’re artificial. That may be your ticket to what you want, whether it’s for money or freedom or whatever, but the ladder in and of itself is an illusion. If you buy into the ladder, you’re handing over the power to the organization to tell you what you’re worth. I think my biggest tip, my biggest a-ha, would be this ladder is an illusion. What do I want and what’s the best path to get there?


Is it going up this ladder, or should I go sideways? Maybe I say, I want to do something totally different and throw it out there. Advancement should be something that it means something to you. If you imagine, I only have this many days left in my life. What matters? To say, “Is this ladder what’s going to get me there or is this ladder going to slow me down? I need to veer off in a different direction or try something different.”


That is pure gold right there because you’re absolutely right. The concept of the corporate ladder is artificial. It is man-made. It is made up. What I heard you say is that it comes down to the individual and what’s important to them because it could be that they want to make a contribution and feel fulfilled while being able to take care of their families comfortably. It could be that.


I think the dirty truth that you don’t hear is, and I hear this from women who have made it to the top ground, and then there are like, “I’m here,” and I’m like, “I don’t feel the way I thought I would feel.” They spent this whole time getting to that top rung, and they’re like, ” I don’t feel respected. I don’t feel autonomous. I don’t feel like I have money.” The dirty secret is that the people at the top, it may not actually look or feel as great as it may look from the bottom. I do believe know thyself is the first step and knowing how you want to feel and what’s important to you. That is different for different people.


I love to work. I’ll be honest. I know you’re not supposed to say that, but I love to work. When I’m doing fulfilling work, I feel great. I don’t want to retire. Maybe I’ll do less work or maybe I’ll change my mind, but I think there are women out there too who like to work and they’re not doing it for the money. That’s totally fine. You don’t have to pretend that we don’t like work if we do and vice versa. We don’t have to pretend we do like it if we don’t. Know thyself, and as you get older, I guess that’s one of the nice things. It’s a little easier to get to know yourself and ignore what other people say.


As you also said, we don’t know. Life is so short. You think the average lifespan is like 70. I’m like, “I have 25 more years. What am I going to do with the next 25?” I will tell you, my mom is 1 of 10 and all 10 siblings are still doing fine. They’re doing beautifully. I think the oldest one is 88 or so, and my mom’s 84. All ten of them still get together for breakfast. It is absolutely amazing. Thank you so much, Dr. Jennie, for all the good information that you shared with us and all the stories that were so relevant to women in the corporate world. Now, I have a different perspective on that. What is it that you want in life and figure out what’s good for you? That’s fantastic. Any final words, Dr. Jennie?


No, it’s been a pleasure. All the women reading out there, it’s tough out there. I totally get it. At the same time, you probably have a lot more within you, a lot more power than you realize. See what’s the best way for you to feel that power and to use it in a way that’s right for you.


Thank you so much for your time.


Okay, thanks.

There you have it. That was my conversation with Dr. Jennie. One thing that I wanted to mention is that I agree with her that time management and communication are the foundational pillars of building connectedness and empathy within your teams and the workplace. Dr. Jennie’s key takeaway is that we should focus on what truly matters in your career journey and not climb that corporate ladder, which she says is an artificial corporate ladder, just because it’s there.


Question if it aligns with your goals and your values. She says life is short. We all know that. Prioritize what brings you fulfillment. Don’t let those artificial constructs dictate your worth or your path. It was a great conversation with Dr. Jennie. We have all of her contact information. If you haven’t done so already, go ahead and review the Promotion Readiness Checklist, which will tell you where you are in your career and how promotion-ready you are. Also, check out the Unlock the Leader Within. With that, remember to be brave, be bold, and take action.


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About Dr. Jennie Byrne


No Woman Left Behind | Jennie Byrne | Work SmartDr. Jeannie lives to connect the dots between people and ideas in new and unexpected ways. She is a clinical translator between segments of our complex health system – clinicians, finance, operations, data, technology, and research. She has strong people skills and enjoys bringing psychological savvy and EQ to complicated problems.