Some people hang onto the idea that working women are frightened to ask for and reach for what they professionally want, whether that be a higher salary or a leadership position. This cliché is starting to lose its grasp. For instance, a study conducted by The Cass Business School in London, the University of Warwick in the U.K., and the University of Wisconsin did not support the “women-ask-less-than-men” myth.
This isn’t to say that there are absolutely no cases of women avoiding confrontation in the workplace. In fact, until I had become more comfortable with my job, I embodied the stereotype.
It’s almost been a year since I graduated college and, in that year, I learned lessons that have helped me break through my workplace insecurities. I’m not a guru. I’m not a wise Dumbledore-like-figure. I’m a working woman and here are those lessons:
If there is anything that you are uncomfortable with, you have the right to let your supervisor know. I spent six months without a second computer monitor (my job requires two), but it wasn’t until I worked up the courage to ask for one that I immediately received it. A simple problem with a simple solution. Even if you’re the lowest on the totem pole, never forget that you have a voice worth hearing.
Don’t say sorry (for what you can’t control)
I’m addicted to the word “sorry.” If someone were to ram into me with a truck, I’d still say sorry for standing on that particular sidewalk. In the workplace, you have to learn to nip that habit in the bud. My boss called me out on the habit when I said sorry for an IT issue. Fun fact: I don’t work in IT. It was a wake–up call because I learned to take responsibility for my own actions, not for the actions of people working across the country.
Work hard and go beyond
If you want to excel at your job and prove your worth, you’ve got to work hard. That seems like a given for anyone. But, if you want to earn a raise or a promotion, you should do more than the basic duties of your position. Show that you’re taking on more responsibilities. Show that you’re adding or creating something for your organization that hasn’t been utilized before. Show that the work you’ve done has improved the quality of your organization. The more evidence you use to back up the claim that you deserve a raise or a promotion, the more likely you’ll achieve that goal.
As more young women grow up with the notion that they can be whatever they want to be and do whatever they want to do, the playing field can even out if we confidently traverse through the working world. If we keep reaching, keep working, keep asking, and keep confronting, then it’s only a matter of time.