If you’re a woman just entering the corporate sector (or maybe even a few years into it), you may still be optimistic about what’s ahead, or perhaps you’ve already seen quite quickly how competitive of an environment it can be. Regardless of where you are in your career, it’s essential to learn early on that you are as smart, deserving, and able to lead as the men or women in the cube next to you, in the corner office, or those execs you only know from the company website.
My hope is that women continue to grow and elevate so that we as a community can continue to break the barriers and glass ceilings that have hindered some in older generations. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way that have enabled me to keep climbing, and most importantly, experience job satisfaction:
I’ve never been one who waits to be asked, and it’s helped me quickly gain the respect of my peers and those who I report to. Attend meetings, listen in on conversations as appropriate, ask questions, and connect the dots. You’ll soon be the one making recommendations, improvements, and probably some savings to the bottom line. The worst that can happen? You learned something new along the way.
Don’t be a 9 to 5er.
No, I am not suggesting you sleep at the office or check your email from your phone every second you’re away from work. I have always lived by the mantra, “work hard, play hard” and it’s paid off. Sometimes the job dictates a late night or a conference call on the weekends, and you know what, that’s OK. Those who put in the hours when needed also get more leniencies later once they’ve established some credibility. Do your job and pretty soon, you won’t have anyone breathing down your neck because you’ll be known as someone who gets the job done.
I hate to say it, but women sometimes second-guess themselves, especially in a room full of men or superiors. Don’t. Dress the part–put on whatever makes you feel good about yourself in the morning (for me that’s always black on black, a fresh mani and a good pair of suede booties), absorb the information you need to know, and then get your game face on. Respect comes from the inside out.
Advocate for yourself.
No one else will. Plain and simple. You need to be comfortable talking about your position, responsibilities, results, and most importantly, a salary you deserve. Don’t let yourself live with resentment or a “coulda woulda shoulda” attitude. Continue each and every day to improve yourself and what you’re doing for your company, and make sure your compensation reflects your efforts and contributions. Need someone to talk it out with? Find a mentor in your field or rely on professional networks (like this site!) to seek advice.