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I have been making observations of some commonly made mistakes that women (myself included) make daily in the workplace. I don’t know if it is a part of our genetics, the way we were raised, or compliance to some sort of social norm. Either way, it is limiting us.
We need to stop.
This list serves as a reminder to myself and anyone else that wants to listen to my soapbox rant. Keep up the habits below if you do not want to get promoted. It is a great way to limit yourself.
Apologize. I do this all of the time. Now, I bite my tongue (literally) if I apologize at work for something I did not do. Frankly, this is something I do in all aspects of my life. I am an “I’m sorry” person. Most of the time, I truly am sorry that such and such happened, whether I was involved or not. The thing is, if you do this at work…there will be someone that will be happy to let you shoulder the blame for something you were not responsible for. Hey, why not?
Reject Compliments. Now, I am not talking about the, “I like your hair today,” “Cute dress!” or “Adorable shoes!” compliments. I’m talking about positive comments about your work. Accept them. Thank the person that complimented you. It is time to recognize that you did do a great job and you earned the compliment. Own it, just like you owned the responsibility to get the work done in the first place.
Be a Wallflower. Do you have a comment during the tenth meeting of the day? (A reality it seems in my world – so many meetings!!) Give your opinion. Have a voice. I’m guessing you were invited to the meeting for a reason. They wanted you there…for your opinion. Voice it.
Be a Doormat. Stand up for yourself. Be confident. Speak up. Make eye contact. Project confidence. Stand up straight. Hold your ground. AND – for goodness sake, learn to say no when appropriate. Of course, I don’t recommend rejecting a project from your CEO, but sometimes it is absolutely necessary to ask questions about a request. What decisions will be made based on the project? How will it help us grow our business? What will you do with the information upon completion? I am a pleaser, so this is a hard one, but sometimes it is necessary to assess priority between projects. This is one way to get that done.
Segregate Yourself. A surefire way to create a negative advantage to being a woman in the workplace is to use womanhood as a way to advance or explain a stagnant career. I work in a man’s world and frankly, you could ask any one of them and they would say I am just one of the guys. I like it that way. I don’t want to be treated differently as a woman, so I certainly don’t want to project that I am different. We are all there for the same reason, to get a job done. It really doesn’t matter whether you wear pants or a skirt (I should say pencil skirt) to work. We have the same goals.
Alienate Other Women. Find a mentor. Be a mentor. Women in the workplace need to support and build each other up. One of my best moments from this week at work was getting one of my interns an interview for a full-time position at corporate. I relish in her success. I feel confident that I have a “society” of women at work that has my back. I have theirs, too.
There is plenty of opportunity for women in corporate America. Know what you want. Set goals. Make it happen. If you find yourself in a rut, seek out a mentor. AND – if you are more advanced in your career, help out a woman who is early in her career. I bet you will both learn…from each other.