Hey ForbesWoman – WTF Exactly is a “Man’s Job”?

You may have noticed the rants category has been a little ignored lately.

Honestly? I've been too busy getting shit done.

But, as I checked into Twitter today, I saw a tweet from ForbesWoman in my stream.

ForbesWoman Tweet


Vintage Ad

Did I actually just see that? Did I not only see that but see that coming from ForbesWoman? A magazine that is supposed to help educate and empower women in the workforce?

Even sadder, the article (nofollowed of course) was authored (and I use that term loosely) by a woman – Heather Huhman – who claims to be a:

“career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended. I am also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and write career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.”

The article sets women back six decades in the opening paragraph:

“Being a woman in today’s competitive job market can be a challenge. Not only do we face a wage gap, but also we have to compete with men.”

OMG! Not MEN! We have to compete with MEN?! How will I ever survive? How will I ever fulfill my career dreams when I have to compete with big, strong, smart men?! (No offense to men, you didn't write this crap.)

As I make my way through the drivel, so many words come to mind. Degrading. Belittling. Disempowering (I know that's not a word, but I vote to make it one).

Huhman interviews a man named Alan Carniol who says:

“If women are aware that men may be nailing job interviews at a higher rate particularly in their career field, they should think about changing their strategy. For instance, doing the prep work before an interview is just as important as the interview itself. Conducting appropriate research and tweaking your online and offline brand can present you in a better light than a candidate who didn’t do the back work.” [Carniol] suggests creating a story that illustrates how your motivations, strengths, values, skills, and accomplishments tie into the position.

So, let me get this straight. Should only women perform this prep work? Men don't need to right? Cause they're MEN!

Every candidate should PREPARE for a job interview. If you're not preparing for your job interviews, and you don't get the job, it's not because you're a woman, it's because you're NOT PREPARED. I hire people constantly, and I can tell you that when a candidate walks through the door and tells me – say – that they haven't even looked at our website to see who we are or what we do? They're not getting the job. Whether they're a man, a woman or the Pope. If you can't show potential employers you're motivated, strong, skilled and accomplished then why the HELL would anyone want to hire you?

These are not interview tips “for women” – these are interview tips for PEOPLE who want to advance their careers. The article goes through a ton more interview advice that applies to men and women, yet feeling the need to assume women are at some disadvantage in all of the situations discussed.

Huhman closes with:

“Although being a woman in today’s job market can be tough, using the above suggestions can help you nail the interview and land the job.”

Being a PERSON in today's job market is tough. Are there people out there hiring who have a bias towards women? Absolutely. Those are the same idiots that likely also discriminate their candidates based on race, religion, and sexual orientation.

Could you IMAGINE if Forbes posted a career advice article entitled “How to get a White Man's Job” or “How to get a Straight Man's Job”?

Why the hell then, does Forbes thinks it's ok to title an article aimed at career women on how to get a “Man's Job”? And why the hell are the readers of ForbesWoman accepting being told they're less than equal?

The final paragraph of the article asks:

“What do you think? What are some other ways for women to nail job interviews?”

Well, here's what I think. First off, women should stop reading publications that tell them that they're lesser than their male counterparts. I think that you can teach a woman how to get the career they want without first putting them in a little pigeon-hole that you then graciously offer to help them get out of. Being a woman should never be portrayed as a “hurdle” that WE need to get over. In fact, being a woman is an extra asset as much as it can at times be a liability.

Look, I work in the “tech” industry which is predominantly male. And people have asked me how I can “deny” the gender stereotypes within the industry. I don't deny them. They've just never been an issue for me because I don't ALLOW them to be.

A few months ago, my business partner (who is male) and I went to a meeting with a potential new client. My partner had been the point of contact before the meeting. We showed up and the guy behind the desk never once directly spoke to me. He would cut me off as I spoke and essentially ask my partner to finish the sentence I was in the middle of. My partner said later that he wouldn't have been surprised if the guy had asked me to get him some coffee. We joked that we wondered if the guy even realized I was the CEO of the company. (In case you're wondering, we declined to take him on as a client.)

I'm sure women have gone to interview with “that guy” and experienced hiring bias. But would you really want to work for “that guy”? Would you say yes to a job working for someone who thought you were beneath them for ANY reason? Regardless of your gender? If you are willing to take that treatment or accept that opinion of your self-worth, then I submit to you that the reason you don't get the jobs you want or the raises you want or get the “chances” you want are because you don't believe in YOURSELF enough to demand them – and make bold moves if you're not receiving them.

Ultimately, you have the choice as to whether or not you LET being a woman be an excuse as to why you're not where you want to be career-wise.

Shame on you ForbesWoman. #unfollow


Rae Hoffman aka "Sugarrae" is a veteran digital marketer and SEO consultant. She is also a serial entrepreneur. You can find out more about her entrepreneurial efforts here. Rae is most active on Twitter.


  1. Michelle Robbins on January 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Setting aside how impressed I am with how quickly you responded and go this rant up….thanks so much for bringing the article to my attention! I hadn’t seen it until you mentioned it on Twitter and I still can’t believe it was ever written!

    Your points are all spot on – her tips for interviewing – they apply to EVERYONE. And whenever I read or hear someone say anything that ghetto-izes (I know, that’s not a word either) women, I always say “would you say/write that replacing ‘woman’ with ‘black’ or ‘gay’?” if the answer is “no” (and it always is) then what’s being written is insulting at best, degrading at worst.

    I’m baffled by all the blog posts I see that pretend to be ‘pro-woman’ when all they’re really doing is throwing back in the kitchen, patting us on the head, or pitting us against one another.

  2. Cynthia LaLuna on January 9, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Go, Rae, go.

    I believe the reason the word “woman” was used in place of the word “candidates” is for two reasons:

    (1) Lazy niche marketing. Take something that, as you said, can be used to apply for EVERYONE and then act like it’s somehow “special” so it fits your publication’s niche.

    (2) Because women allow it. They’re too busy picking out their next pair of 6″ heels to totter into the office to pay attention to the larger ramifications of such speech. So many millennial females don’t really understand what feminism IS, but they’re very busy protesting that they’re not that – whatever it is.

    Over the past 10 years, I’ve been watching what’s going on with women marketing to women – and it’s been getting girly-er, and sexier, and more fashionista with every passing year. A colleague said he overheard a young woman at a photography convention, looking at the program, say out loud, “Why is SHE speaking here? She’s not even CUTE.”


    It’s everywhere. Not only is it required that you actually have on matching socks if you have 3 kids, you also have to be super-fit, super-maintained, and aspire to MILF-hood. You know what I’m talking about – a quick blog search will turn this stuff up ad nauseam, so I won’t give them the backlinks. The sick thing is that they wrap it all in the thinnest veneer of “self-empowerment.”

    Women wouldn’t market this way to other women if they didn’t eat it up like candy – the dollars don’t lie.

    We’re in charge of our destiny, and we can shift how we are marketed to by what we choose to respond to and where we put our money – it’s that simple. And, as you noted – the writer of the article was female.

  3. April on January 9, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Thank you Rae. Women are a lot of things – bold, strong, caring, competent, and courageous all come to mind. Not victims.

    • Rae Hoffman on April 17, 2014 at 8:09 am

      AMEN. :)

  4. shauna on January 9, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    She’ll realize everything she wrote after she loses her job over this article and is forced back on the job market….

  5. Nicolette Beard on January 9, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Oooh boy, where to start. As a former ad exec for Ms. magazine selling car ads to the auto industry before they knew women “bought” cars, I see that everything old is new again. In an ironic twist, I author a blog dedicated to men (www.man-o-pause.com). Go figure. I recognize the male bias in the online marketing world, yet for a non-tech-y type, I was still endorsed (unsolicited) by one of the more talented minds in the SEO community. (See http://www.seo-theory.com). Listen ladies and gents: none of it matters! If you KNOW WHO YOU ARE and can face yourself in the mirror every morning, the hell with so-called journalists. As far as competition, on your next interview, tell the hiring manager, YOU are the competition. If he/she doesn’t understand that, w-a-l-k. Life’s too short.

  6. Christiano Kwena on January 10, 2013 at 2:21 am

    The whole point starts with your identification as a woman, thus you tend to notice and process everything with a “woman” on it, either positively or negatively.

    You see what you are.

    Leave aside the concept of woman and you can as well see everything in a different light. So what if the copywriter is biased towards woman, and what if that’s the purpose of the article, to elicit reactions to people with a high flag rate for anything “woman”?

    In life, as a consumer you will be a woman, a weaker sex, an emancipated woman, a mother, a statistic, a whatever, as long as it fits the purpose of selling.

    • Rae Hoffman on January 10, 2013 at 9:09 am

      Christiano… I agree… as a marketer, I “get” why it was written… it just concerns me that it was written at a publication you’d expect more from… but then, after I posted this, someone sent me If I was a poor black kid. [headdesk] Apparently Forbes has been willing to wallow in the gutter for exposure for a while now. Sigh.

  7. DennisG on January 10, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Great rant Rae, and I agree with all your points.

    Forbes has been a train wreck in the making, and this article in particular is not helping building its authority and trust in the long run.

    As I mentioned earlier on Twitter, I do believe these kind of articles being published on Forbes have a hidden objective, link building for certain clients.

    Either the author of the article or Forbes itself is in the market to help who ever would like to get authority transferred.

    Let’s be look at it,
    – Write a catchy article in on a hot topic. With e recession going on, the job market is still hot
    – Be controversial, to secure the attention on social media and get the content in front of a lot of people
    – Add 2-3 links to other ‘journalistic’ publications, so you can add an EMA link to juice up the site for your friend/client

    Lately, I’ve seen so many of these articles on Forbes, it’s laughable.

    Loved to read this rant… keep them coming!

  8. Julie Joyce on January 10, 2013 at 8:10 am

    I love to see you rant a bit…and like you, I own a company with my husband so I’ve had to deal with people only speaking to him as if I didn’t exist. I like your statement about how you just don’t allow gender issues to affect you. Those issues definitely exist as you say, but if women and men keep refusing to let them be a big deal, we’ll all be better off for it.

    • Rae Hoffman on January 10, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Julie… funny story… so about six months ago, I was at our local pub for lunch. I’m a semi-regular there, so a lot of the other regulars chit chat with me. A guy says to me one day “so you and your husband have a company right?” and I answered yes. He asked me if I was the company’s office manager or if I did the books. No. Lie. I was like, “I’m the CEO.” and he said, “Oh… your husband let you be the CEO?” I just laughed. The guy is a nice guy, he didn’t “mean” it rude… he was just chatting… but it was hysterical to me to hear.

      • Julie Joyce on January 10, 2013 at 9:39 am

        did he let you be the CEO…hahahaha!!

  9. Martypants on January 10, 2013 at 10:16 am

    so I picture a scenario where I am in an interview, and it is not going too well. Suddenly, I stand up, point to my crotch, and ask the interviewer:”Didn’t you see THIS?? I am a MAN.” They see the error of their ways and based purely on my ability to properly possess a penis, I am hired. Ahhhh, the good life.
    More rants please, Rae. :)

  10. Keri Morgret on January 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    On Twitter today, a person referred to someone presenting at a webinar as a girl. I mentioned she was well over 18 years of age and not a girl, and that a man of the same age would not be called a boy. We had a exchange on Twitter where this person told me that he thinks of it as “guy and girl” because nobody says “gal” anymore. I disagreed, and was told that most of America would disagree with me, that girl is generic.

    I can’t believe that just happened.

  11. Lisa Stauber on January 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Can’t believe you wouldn’t hire the Pope- he has a Twitter account now and everything! He’d be a perfect fit ;)

  12. Siliva on January 14, 2013 at 5:25 am

    For me it was really interesting to read it because in germany equality on job market is a big topic . Too less women are in leading positions and many people think that there should be a change.

  13. MicroSourcing on January 16, 2013 at 1:14 am

    There are certain aspects in the labor market that are unique to women, such as maternity leave, etc., and these are worth addressing as specific female workers’ issues. However, everything else, such as preparedness and competence, have nothing to do with gender.

  14. Meg Geddes on January 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    I missed this one. Maybe I could have given her a few pointers, back from when I was SELLING MAINFRAME COMPUTERS IN THE 1970s fer chrissakes.

  15. wheel on February 7, 2013 at 10:46 am

    May have been deliberately controversial, negative linkbait. Personally, I’m not a fan of that kind of stuff.

  16. Dana on February 8, 2013 at 11:13 am

    great post and a cathartic rant.

    I was buying a new iPad case at TJ Maxx which they keep them in the Men’s department and the case rings up as a “Men’s Accessory” …seriously insulting, who made that decision?

    Ellen did a great comedic rant on a pen called Bic for Her

  17. Kevin on February 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Good post Sugarrae!! I get a little tired of hearing women this and women that. We are all equally capable of doing whatever we want. Too many classes and seminars on empowering this type of person or that type.

    Realize what you can do and DO IT!!!

  18. Kirsty Trainer on September 12, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Following this trail of thought.. Shouldn’t your tagline be “Never mess with a person who can pull rank” ;)

    No but really, an inspiring post which is going straight to my bookmarks for the times when I just feel too weak and womanly!

  19. Louisa on March 27, 2015 at 1:08 am

    Good post, however, I was expecting something more when reading your response. Everything you say is correct in terms that when you do go for a job interview, every applicant is the same. Unfortunately, there are still jobs that have a higher number of men employee because, until recently, women would have never applied to such jobs (ie. Mining, oil and gas, construction etc). That is what I would refer to as: Man’s job. Male-dominated industries and occupations have a set masculine stereotypes due to lack of diversity making it particularly hard for women to find employment and later excel in such fields.

    Even though you might say it’s up to us to decide whether or not we use being a women an excuse, the sad reality is that with these jobs (my field), women still need to fight and work even harder in order to be taken seriously and given the same opportunities as her man equal.