Career advice for women is same as it for most other people: Work harder than the next person. Be valuable and be seen being valuable. Help your boss achieve goals. be informed about new things about the ob, happenings in the company and what's up with industry. You can fake it till you make it, but make it. And so on, and so forth.
But women face discrimination in any career field. This kills their interest in that field (it is the case in science, technology and medicine, the STEM careers). Studies now find broadly equal number of men and women in jobs, but they also find that women occupying the low-status jobs (nurse, paralegal, waitress) and men have most of the high status jobs (doctor, lawyer etc). It all starts with the discrimination.
Top reasons why women leave private jobs:
- lack of flexibility (51 percent)
- glass ceiling (29 percent)
- unhappiness with work environment (28 percent) and
- feeling unchallenged in their jobs (22 percent).
(Source: Study by a professional group, 1998)
So, what's a woman got to do? Aim for the top, boss, Aim for the top.
Career advice for women who want to be the boss
- Speak about your accomplishments: Let the bosses and those in the industry know about your good works.
- Keep a 'good work' folder: You will find this advice elsewhere in this book as well. Document all the accomplishments and written words of praise from boss/team members/ outside sources.
- Get comfortable with negotiation: Start with finding out what's negotiable in your team/company, step up and ask for more. If the company can afford an extra hand for the team during an important project, ask. You have to negotiate for all stuff that will help you bring more value to the company.
- Find a mentor or two: Have your own 'Advisory board' for professional as well as emotional support- people with experience in your field, former colleagues (they will not be competitive now), friends and family, and some person higher up the chain in your company.
- Be brave: Sometimes, 'fortune favors the brave' is not an empty cliche, you know. When the moment comes, you have to seize the day. For example, an exciting new project has come which may work wonders for the company's future. Do your best to be in that team, even if you may not fully understand the tasks, but you can learn (research, books, asking experts, etc), right? .
- Be selective and smart about assignments: Like men, go for assignments that will bring visibility to your abilities and value for the company.
- Get perspective: Think things from the boss's point of view: Start by asking, ‘would I want my boss’s job?’ Is it all that it is supposed to be. Sometimes, appearances can be deceiving.
- Attend events and come prepared: Go to meetings, ask questions and give suggestions. Don't think that they might be ignored, but raise your hand, you must. It is also very important to go to any event (meeting, presentation etc.) fully prepared- background information, questions to ask, suggestions to give, issues to track, notes for future actions to make and so on. The purpose of these events to help the company make better decisions, helps your company with your suggestions.
- Leverage your communication and interpersonal (people) skills: Studies have shown, and men have long known, that women communicate and related differently, thus having better success at building relationships with customers, negotiating win-win deals with suppliers and partners, among other things. They bring a a feminine understanding touch, a refreshing change from 'eat or be eaten' approach of men.
- Persevere: Grit is said to be the biggest predictor of success. People have persevered, fought for and won rights they deserved- women suffrage, civil rights, labor rights...it will be an unending list. If you want something, you have to work for it. Success is not a birthright. Start with your BHAGs- Big, and hairy goals, for your career, and work at them. Either the mountain will give way or you will a find a way around the mountain.
- Use the language of success: In other words, use assertive communication- verbal, written, and non verbal, such as body language. Avoid saying 'Is it good enough?' or 'Is it okay', sentences that sound defensive.
For example, some useful assertive language in business situations:
When you want to refuse, instead of 'thanks, but...', say
“Thanks, but I’m not interested.
“Thanks, but I can’t make that a priority right now.
'Thanks for thinking of me, but I think I'll pass on this one.'
These two examples will give you some time:
'I'll think about it and get back to you.'
'I just don't know. Mind if I think about it for a while?'
Or just say,
Other examples of assertive language:
“I didn’t appreciate ____ (what you did, your tone of voice).
“I disagree with you. I see the situation this way.
Sometimes, you need a policy statement, where you just express your opinions on an issue. Policy makes everything so formal:
“My policy is ____ (not to pay before delivery, not to discuss results privately.).
The most likeable kind of assertive language is when you express your pleasure about something, almost leader like:
“I liked ____ (that you took time out of busy schedule, you finally stepped up.
Please remember, use this guide not just to advance in your career as an employee, but also as a self-employed person. The principles are same everywhere, more or less.
Thank you for reading.
This guide is from The Success Manual, which contains 200+ guides to succeeding in business, career and personal life. Get the pdf ebook for $12 only.