Toolkit for Women’s Success: Lawyer Barbie. How to Combat Being Underestimated, and The Real-Life Legally Blonde

Posted on August 25, 2010 by



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The irony of being underestimated. Part of it stinks, and part of it is just – so – DE-Licious. Have you ever been underestimated? What are your techniques for handling it?

Take, for instance, the tale of Leigh Macdonald who is a lawyer gone blogger. She’s successfully represented the government in some of the biggest land use cases in Florida.

But…and…I mean, look at her:

No, you cannot put her in your purse and take her home. Well that is all a woefully misinformed opposing counsel thought when he walked into court and saw her one fine morning. Her tale goes something like this: Let him think she was “Lawyer Barbie,” and then hand him his tuchus on a plate.  The transition from head-patting to “uh oh” is just hilarious! Read her post here.

Mind you, I am not a vindictive person. But, I do get a giggle of delight when people underestimate others.  I remember the CEO of a major government contractor saying at a dinner party one night, “Oh, I thought Kathy (me) was ditzy, and then I found out she went to Harvard Business School!” Er, thanks…I think. It comes from all angles, people.

Another great one: My mom is a cute little blonde who at one point managed multiple millions, and possibly billions, in a real-estate portfolio and acquisitions. She used to walk in with her hand extended and say “I’m the one with whom you’ll be negotiating” because people would always look about a foot too high, toward a co-worker who was her junior.

Takeaways: These stories all convey an underlying theme – qualifications. Part of being underestimated, is that there is something to underestimate. What are your key skills and talents? Inventory them, and value them.  But the ultimate definition of “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is here, today, with Leigh Macdonald’s (@NiceShuzNoDrama) Lawyer Barbie Story! She didn’t just fend off a negative assumption about her skills and intellect, she turned that negative assumption into a leverage point for success!

Have you been underestimated? Someone you know? Please share! It’s just too DE-Licious not to!


Related links:

Attractive women overlooked for certain jobs? Reuters


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