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A Bit of Friendly Competition Continued

Ok. So you admit you might have one or two evil thoughts about a co-worker or female boss – you’re secretly hoping she’ll stuff up just like the little girl in the middle playing elastics. How do you overcome its limitations?”Empathy and compassion,” is Rachael’s answer. “The key to dealing with competition is to find empathy and compassion and before you can find empathy and compassion for anyone else you have to find it for yourself,” Rachael advises.

“The next really important thing is to accept. To realise you can’t have it all – you can have some of it some of the time and it’s cyclical,” she says.

“The key to dealing with female competition is to acknowledge its existence and be thoughtful, be clear with yourself and set yourself boundaries with girlfriends and co-workers,” Rachael says. “Speak up in a calm and thoughtful way.”

US author Leora Tanenbaum (Catfight: Women and competition) advocates cooperation in a work environment. “If there’s a woman above you, tell her how much you respect her, maybe she’ll see you as less of a threat,” Tenenbaum told a Fast Forward journalist.

“If women were to cooperate on a person-to-person level, we could change things that are inequitable to women. If we felt more inclined to unite with one another, we could make workplaces more women and family friendly,” she said.

Rachael says dealing with female competition in the workplace is about speaking out, which many women are disinclined to do.

” If you’re in a meeting and another woman starts sprouting your ideas and you feel yourself getting angry, Rachael advises you stop and recognise this as a “trigger moment”. Don’t obsess about the comments (sound familiar?), just say to yourself ‘I accept I feel competition, I will deal with it after the meeting, but for now I’ll stay in the present’,” Rachael says. “After the meeting, bring it out in the open and speak to your colleague in non-confrontational language.”

And whatever you do, don’t go and bitch to your work girlfriends.

Rachael says women in the workforce need to be clearer about what they want and what they don’t want. “Ask yourself how far you’re willing to go to support others and realise the point where it becomes self sacrifice,” Rachael says. “Women can give too much and they’re actually cutting off their nose to spite their face.”

And next time you recognise yourself sizing up a fellow female, remember Rachael’s words: “you can’t have it all, you can have some of it some of the time”. Accept that she’s got great legs, but you’ve got a great butt – so move on.

Story by Lisa Bjorksten, acting editor of CareerOne –

Job hunting and workplace questions can be directed to CareerOne by emailing:

December 3, 2002

Movers & Shakers – Kathy Buchanan

Our Mover and Shaker this week is Kathy Buchanan, Features Editor for B Magazine.

The women who appear on this page are selected by consensus of the SheSaid editorial staff and are duly invited to participate. If you wish to nominate an inspiring woman to appear in this ‘moving and shaking hall of fame’, please contact us.

Name Kathy Buchanan

Occupation/Title Features Editor, B Magazine

Company/Organisation B Magazine, Pacific Publications, Sydney

State NSW

Age 29

Star sign Capricorn

Describe your career progression and your current professional position.

When I was 23 I began working as the Advertising Assistant on Good Housekeeping magazine in London while simultaneously doing post-graduate media study. But after working on a glossy magazine and seeing what it was really like I realised that I had to be a writer. I had an empty ache in my heart and knew it wouldn’t go away until I made it happen. So when an internal job came up as an Editorial Assistant on an amazing men’s style magazine called Esquire it had to be mine. I snared it and worked incredibly hard doing everything and anything. I’d sort the post, write film reviews, organise parties, liaised with writers and PR’s, input copy and was the celebrity agency contact for the covers. A few months into the job I did my first ever interview with the musician Sting.

I don’t think they’d ever seen anyone work so hard for so little money, so opportunities came my way quickly. I was given several regular celebrity columns, started writing articles and was promoted within the features department. I had my own radio slot on Liberty Radio and did regular radio interviews promoting the magazine. I was working in the heart of London in Soho and constantly surrounded by creative people. At this stage I was also editing the company in-house magazine. After two years at Esquire I was poached to work as a writer and section editor on a women’s magazine called Company (the third top selling women’s magazine in the UK) where I worked for eighteen months. At Company I was sent to Greece and the Northern Territory to cover stories. But after seven years away and five years working for The National Magazine Company (all above magazines were with the same company) I decided to come back to Australia and settle in Sydney for the beautiful beaches and relaxed lifestyle. I then worked as a freelance writer for three months before being offered the Features Editor job on the glossy women’s magazine, B. I’ve been here for over a year and have already been sent on a work trip to London for ten days.

Describe a typical day? I catch the train and usually start work between 9am and 9:30am. Depending on what stage of the issue we are at I attend meetings, work on feature ideas, talk to prospective freelance writers, set up shoots, speak to readers and PR’s, write and edit copy. I often work through lunch. Depending on how busy work is I’ll usually attend a book launch, launch-party or work late a few nights a week. My job is full on and a constant juggling act. If it is quiet I’ll usually finish work at around 6:30pm otherwise I’ll work as late as I have to, to get the job done.

What’s the best part of the job? Meeting a truly amazing array of people every month and working with inspirational colleagues. What’s the worst part of the job? The stress of deadlines and the late nights.

January 3, 2001