Friday, October 5, 2012

How not to get promoted.

It's been a while since I posted about work.  Sometimes I think it is harder to share things about my job.  Or maybe, I think that I already think about work entirely too much - why should I write about it too?  You know, it's like that dream you have where you are at the office all day and you wake up...and you have to go to the office.  It doesn't even matter that you just logged six hours of sleep in the workplace.  Anyway, as usual...I diverge from my point.

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 have 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.


  1. I could use a good mentor - female mentors are harder to find than you'd think though :) great post...Happy SITS Day!

  2. Happy SITS day! Love this true in today's working world!

  3. I'm not a working mom, but I still enjoyed your post! I especially love the point you made about supporting other women. We need to stop being so catty (I live in a very small town...cattiness may not be everywhere, but it's still here) and realize we are all experiencing the same struggles and need each others support. Happy SITS day!

  4. This is all really great advice. I was recently at a women's networking event and we talked about a lot of these issues. Women need to speak their mind, stop saying sorry and learn to say no every now and then! We don't all do it, but we certainly do it more than men.

    Happy SITS Day.

  5. Those observations are spot on! Also, I read that only 7% of females will ask for a raise, whereas 53% of males won't hesitate. I think sometimes we feel like we're asking for this big favor, when in reality, we're just asking to get paid fairly for what we do!

  6. Thanks for the post. Working for women can be tricky. As a high school math teacher near the end of my career, politics in the workplace have increased and become more treacherous over the years. The land mines are everywhere. Enjoy your SITS Day.

  7. Great advice! Very useful for my future considering I've only started working :) x

  8. Great post. I am collecting up my evidence (and nerve) to ask for a raise in the near future, so this was a good read for me.

  9. Happy SITS Day! Great advice. I just finished reading Sheryl Sandberg's book, "Lean In," and it was interesting to see her share insights pertaining to women and how they need to navigate their careers. While I think there were a few mixed messages, I wholeheartedly agree that we need to support one another, self-promote and advocate. Looking forward to checking out your site. Enjoy the comment love!

  10. Totally agree with all of them but especially the doormat. I know way too many girls at work that don't speak up and let their boss take complete advantage of them without giving them the credit.


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