Forget everything your mother ever taught you and listen to Aunt Kate.
Do. Not. Be. Polite. At. Work.
Hear me out. I am not saying you shouldn't be a kind person. Of course, you should always strive to be a good person and to do the right thing, but I don't have enough time to teach you how to do that. You either have morals or you don't, and you either act on them or you don't. Your mother either taught you to say please and thank you or she didn't. I can't be your mama.
I'm your aunt, remember.
Related by entrepreneurialism.
My parents ingrained in my sisters and me to be polite to everyone. Always say please and thank you. Always be humble. Always be gracious. Never complain. Never make a fuss or be loud. Be grateful for what you have.
But after six years working in the startup world, I have never seen anyone get ahead by being polite, especially women. Instead, I have seen people thrive and get promoted for doing good work (even when it wasn't always pretty), being honest (even when the truth hurt), asking for what they want (even when it made them look ungrateful for what they had), being tough (even if it wasn't always nice), and being a good person (I mean, don't be rude).
In fact, I've watched great employees, including myself, never grow in their role because they take what they get and they don't complain. They are grateful for what they have instead of asking for more. They didn't argue with their co-workers, even if it will have a better outcome for the product. They don't stand up for themselves because they don't want to make a fuss.
Trust me, I have personally made all of these mistakes, and it did not get me ahead. I have politely said, "Thank you for the small raise" when I really should have said, "No, I deserve more." I have politely said, "I'm sorry, but I need a moment of your time," when I should have said, "I need a moment of your time." I have politely said, "This presentation looks great," when I should have said, "This presentation still needs more work."
But being polite did not help me grow. It did not help my co-workers grow. It did not make me a better employee. So now, I just say what I mean -- even if it's a little mean.
And I hope you do too. Stop being polite at work, ladies.
However, you do still need to be polite at a dinner party and tell the host you love their home -- even if you don't.
I mean, we can't be total jerks.
is the COO of Adore Your Walls, an art advisory service that helps people find art they love for any budget or space. She has over six years of startup experience and previously worked at Dwolla as the executive assistant to the CEO. Kate is also the author of the blog "Men Don't Get Cold."