Q: I am a 50-something woman with a master's degree and lots of valuable experience in my field, but I haven't advanced as far as I and others expected I would. My industry in general is male-dominated, and my current company in particular is a little like a middle-aged frat house at times. I roll with it but am not an "insider." But if I dig deeper, I think (and am told by several friends) that I'm too nice, and therefore I don't get treated with enough respect. Mostly I just try to do a good job and be as helpful as I can. I'm up for a new job, which seems like an opportunity to change this dynamic. How do I do that?
A: Let's start by digging even deeper into what you mean by "too nice." Niceness covers a wide range of behaviors, so identifying where you fall on that spectrum can tell you more about what you need to do to change the dynamic.