Category Archives: Office
On July 24, Becky wrote an insightful blog using much of the same research that is now getting all the buzz. We thought this would be worth a second look. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this hot topic. Happy Sunday!
What’s Holding You Back at Work?
Posted by lipstickchat
To prepare for today’s post, I did what I thought was an innocent enough Google search, “Hot topics for women in the workplace”. I really, really wanted to write about social media dos and don’ts or water cooler etiquette, something light and super fun. But, the search results surprised me.
It seemed that with the appointment of a very pregnant Marissa Mayer as CEO of Yahoo, cyberspace was abuzz with concerns about persistent gender inequality in the workplace, the glass ceiling. Surprise turned into vague discomfort, like waiting in the gynecologist’s office for an annual checkup, as I read more statistics and reasons for the gap.
It’s not like I am completely unaware, I work in a field dominated by women and as such pay is low, but part of me thought that things must be better in the private sector, it being 2012 and all.
Let me say that this topic is too huge and complicated to cover in a post, or even in a lifetime, but what I can do is present the facts and highlight some of the areas that are within our power to change. If we continue to follow Warren and Kathleen’s advice and take an honest appraisal of where we falter, we can chunk the problem into workable pieces and take small steps to change.
So please read on and when you are done take a moment to share your experience so that we can grow together. “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” ~Henry Ford.
Studies show that women in the workforce are more collaborative, inclusive, flexible, and empathetic than their male counterparts. Sounds pretty fabulous, right? But despite these positives, a gender gap still exists in pay and opportunity. Graduating males make more money than graduating females, upwards of 7%, and are promoted at a faster pace.
Why this disparity? Experts point to the following areas of weakness:
- Negotiating skills. Men are more likely than women to negotiate for not only pay and promotions, but also recognition throughout their careers. Accordingly, the salary gap increases over time.
- Team building. Men are better at building a team around them that accentuates their strengths. They are also better at networking. Men will connect and help colleagues they barely know. In contrast, women feel they need to build a relationship before helping, leaving them with far less contacts.
- Feelings of self-doubt. Ingrained feelings of inadequacy lead women to doubt their ability to lead others. Women are also less likely than their male counterparts to answer difficult questions or volunteer for unfamiliar tasks.
- Lack of self-promotion. Women tend to underplay their achievements and coworkers and superiors believe what they say about their performance. Self-promotion is key and men tend to be better at it.
What’s holding you back at work? What can you do to change it?
Sources & Resources
Laura D’Andrea Tyson, What Holds Women Back: New Views.
Bonnie Marcus, What Holds Middle Managers Back From Leadership?
Anita Bruzzese, Women in the Workplace: Where They Shine, Where They Struggle.
There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure. ~Paul Coelho, The Alchemist
I am just beginning to realize how insidious fear is. Nothing kills ideas quicker. Fear hides behind a million excused for not moving forward with a dream. Do any of these sound familiar?
- I’d like to start a business, but the timing isn’t right
- I don’t know who’d buy my product
- If I quit my job I might not be able to support myself
- A new job might be equally unsatisfying as my present one
So today I offer you the stories of 3 regular people who fought difficult circumstances and fear to see their dreams become very real and very successful.
Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil, was a homeless Canadian street performer when he created the contemporary circus to celebrate Canada’s 450th anniversary. The circus started out on a shoestring but has grown beyond the founder’s wildest dreams. Today it grosses over $800 million a year and Guy Laliberte has a personal net worth of $2.6 billion!
Then there’s Sara Blakely. She invented Spanx, the fabulous shaping undergarments that smooth out many a bumpy behind. She worked out of her living room with only a marketing book from Barnes and Noble to guide her. Growth was slow at first but after an endorsement by Oprah on national television, sales went through the roof. In 13 years, Sara’s net worth has grown to $1 billion!
Finally, Brian Scudamore, a high school and college dropout, is the brains behind 1-800-GOT-JUNK, the junk removal company that has quickly become a household name. Scudamore’s company, founded in 1999, is already classic business school model of a simple idea executed flawlessly. The company is smelling like roses with annual revenues of over $100 million a year.
If they can do it, can we do it too? What would you do today if you weren’t afraid you’d fail?