Each year around this time, bloggers put out their holiday gift guides. And when I say "around this time," I actually mean a few weeks ago. So, if you've already done your shopping, I both applaud and strongly dislike you.
Others' guides typically have dozens of gift ideas, and in the past, I'd presented many options too. But this year, all the decisions are too much. My 3 priorities for December have long-ended tails and layers of dependencies. In other words: I'm overwhelmed. So personally, I need less choice, not more. I thought and thought: what could be that one universal gift for any colleague, employee, boss, or client?
And then it came to me.
If you're a male or trying to buy for a male, your reaction may be, "This is for women."
I'm ashamed to admit it, but this was my reaction too. Which is exactly why this is the perfect gift for everyone in your workplace. Seeing a book cover like this shouldn't feel niche-y or even that it favors one sex over the other. It should feel just plain normal. To everyone.
If you're a female reading, can you imagine a colleague walking over to your office at lunchtime to deliver this present, just as you're taking a break from your reading the latest news release about more forced sex in the workplace? Then, this angel-colleague thanks you for your hard work this year and hands you this. How moved would you be? (And honestly, how much would you go out of your way for him the next time he needs something)?
If you're a male, maybe it'd feel surprising to open this gift from your colleague, boss, or subordinate. But picture this: a few months from now this book is sitting in your office, and it's a conversation piece. Males and females alike want to know why it's in your office, and it's the tipping point for some fascinating discussions and a new level of bonding with your colleagues and clients. Without lifting a finger you've set the tone for your personal brand - that you're inclusive.
For all of us: the more that we see images like this every day, the more we acclimate. It's not different after all. At some point, it feels just plain normal... to be In the Company of Women.