Say what you will, but in a large sense the glass ceiling still exists in the workspace, and to be honest, I believe that it will continue to exist for the next decade. It will take a lot of effort and work from the millennials to change our work environment.
So to Generation Z, that is currently entering the work place and are still often managed by Generation X managers, here’s a few tips for those ladies to get to the top and stay there.
Many of the things I’ll be mentioning will seem very cliche and typical, but I come from a work environment where I was surrounded by men, working in an industry where they had little space for women, and I drowned. I struggled to get my messages across, and be heard, and these are the things that really would’ve changed the game for me from the beginning, these small things. When I did it, it really made a difference, but I only started implementing it after a few months, and a lot of the damage was already done by that time.
Have a game plan
Often a woman might feel outnumbered by men in meetings, making it more difficult to share your ideas and opinions. But refraining from giving your input can effect your career and the business negatively. You have the job you have, because you are qualified and experienced with a certain skill-set, so when you do not share input during meetings, you are keeping the business from your skills, and you are also missing out on an opportunity to share your value.
So be prepared for meetings, with notes on things you would like to discuss or share at meetings, keeping those points strong and short, and try to speak loudly and clearly.
The moment you start working, you are already considered two steps behind, so you immediately have to establish your role and character in the workplace. So refrain from using uncertain words like “maybe” or “what if” or “Is that okey?” Rather practice using words like “We should”. Learn to ask for things to do, and use a strong tone of voice, especially when talking to peers. Establish your role – that you are under no circumstances beneath them and consider yourself on the same level as them.
Also, do not cross your arms when talking to someone, or look down, push your shoulders back, keep an inviting posture, and look them in their eyes. Pay attention to your body language.
Ask for it
As a woman I find it difficult to negotiate with men, I’m not sure why, but I do, especially older men. Research shows that men negotiate more often than women, so they feel more comfortable doing it, and this can pose a major problem for women, as negotiating is the key to advancing in your career.
So when I landed my first job we had the salary negotiation, which is one of the awkward discussion you need to have. So they offered me a salary that was lower than my previous, way lower, but I was too afraid to negotiate, because I didn’t want to sound greedy. So I’m guessing by my big eyes, and shocked face, he realised that we weren’t in agreement. Without thinking twice he offered me a higher salary, that fit both our pockets. I got lucky. You’re not supposed to “get lucky” when you negotiate your salary. I realised how important it was to be able to ask for what I want, and negotiate, and I realised I didn’t have that skill or confidence. He wouldn’t have thought I was greedy if I stated my points. I wasn’t asking for a beach front mansion.
Write down your achievements
Typically a woman has a million things running through her mind every second of the day. So we tend to forget the things we achieve and our small successes. So I recommend you write them down, no matter how small or big it is. This list will also prove to be very helpful when you have to advocate yourself for a promotion or sell yourself at an interview.
This list will boost your confidence on bad days, and help you remember how cool you really are.
We should stop waiting for our turn to speak, or wait to be asked to do things, and we should take the lead. Women are amazing business people, with great skills and expertise. YOU are an amazing business woman with great skills and expertise. So prove to them how valuable you are, because you deserve it.