Defining Your Career Outcomes
Born in the ‘70s and ‘80s, boys and girls were raised with very different expectations of how to behave and how to get what they needed and deserved. Thatcher was in power, so, whilst we knew women could do ‘it’, I don’t remember witnessing too much femininity on her approach. Disappointingly, we seem to have come a full circle 30 years on, and, our current leader still doesn’t enthuse me with her female strengths.
Firstly, play to Your Strengths
Our gender strengths are different, be they this due to nurture or nature (Cordelia Fine’s work “Delusions of Gender” explores this in-depth). So the big question is how do we play to those strengths? Women no longer want to wait until they are offered the opportunities (good girl). Equally Women don’t want to have to “man-up” and abandon their female wisdom. How then can we redefine our career outcomes in today’s professional paradigm in order that we are satisfied with the outcomes?
If equality isn’t going to come from the top-down, maybe we can have influence and disrupt right where we are. Firstly we can override the existing “divide and rule” culture: Let’s practise promoting ourselves and promoting other women too. Let’s drop the competition with each other and take on the real enemy, that of cultural change, together. It’s the culture that does not serve us not any other individual.
“collective and sustained assertion will have a profound effect.”
Secondly, Define Your Own Career Outcomes
Recognise that if you aren’t clear about your career outcomes, you can’t ask. If you can’t ask then you will not get. It would serve all women well to define the sought after outcomes very clearly. When we have defined our outcomes we need to practise putting ourselves forward for opportunities. Practise makes perfect and we may not always be rewarded, but, collective and sustained assertion will have a profound effect.
Thirdly, regularly and in the smallest of ways… Take a risk. Do it every day.
Risk accepting a complement instead of batting it away. Risk giving a complement instead of shying away. Risk being curious about something and asking how it’s done, or even if you can give it a try. Risk raising you prices, even just a little, because what you provide has value and this is one important measure. Risk putting yourself forward for a vacancy you would have assumed was just out of your reach. Even if you don’t get it, the feedback will be invaluable.
Risk inviting someone you esteem for coffee to see if you can benefit each other. Risk approaching your hero(ine) and taking them to lunch. Keep on stepping just out of your comfort zone and your world will grow.
Keep stretching and reaching and supporting and exploring, just a little further, collaboratively and corageously. You will find our own confidence and nourishment will grow every day and you actions will feed into a cultural-shift of gender-rebalancing that will benefit all.
It takes time, and it’s already happening. Join us. This way career network with be as beneficial for women as it is for men. This way our career outcomes definition can be satisfying as those of men.