10 Mistakes Women Make at Work
Some of biggest mistakes you’re making at work may be subconsciously driven.
Whether you think you’re kicking butt at work, or you are barely able to drag your butt out of bed each day, you’re likely making a mistake or two in the office that could cost you in the long run. Trying to get ahead in your career is tough enough without accidental self-sabotage!
The office environment is a hotbed for all sorts of pressure, and it doesn’t help that certain workplaces carry double standards that place extra loads on womens’ shoulders. While women in the workplace decades ago may have felt the need to mirror men to succeed, that’s no longer the case.
Suzanne Kleinberg, author of “From Playstation to Workstation,” shares her insights on workplace “dos” and “don’ts” in this exclusive article for Urbanette. Whether you’re just starting out or already in management, you should be cautious not to make these assumptions:
1. Using appearance to reflect your individuality
While every girl has her own personal style, knowing how to modify yours could be the difference between rejection and respect. You want people to notice your ideas and contributions, not your mid-thigh mole or bra color.
One of the worst blunders that young women make is wearing overly sexy clothing and excessive jewelry or makeup. You should always dress for the job you want, not the one you have! People’s respect for you will grow once they see you know how to respect yourself through your dress.
2. Thinking that passiveness = politeness
Many people make the mistake of submitting a résumé or business proposal and waiting to be called back. When they don’t hear back, they assume that they are rejected. Not true.
You need to follow-up with the recipient. This demonstrates initiative and confidence. Even if you get a rejection, at least you’ll know that you should move on. It may take a few attempts to get a response. Don’t be a nuisance, but do be persistent. On average, it takes 5-12 times to make a “sale” – most people stop at 3. Don’t lose out because you assume the worst!
3. Thinking that workplace rejection signifies that you’re unworthy
Women tend to take unfavorable responses as personal rejection. Rejection for a job or your project proposal is a decision based solely on business viability. Learn from it and move forward.
4. A little flirting never hurts… right?
The best way to alienate your coworkers is to act flirty. Do it and you’ll send a signal to everyone that you need to rely on your sexuality and not your intellect. Women will resent you, and men won’t respect you. You’ll be marginalized and denied career-building promotions.
5. Not volunteering
You can get the best work experiences and develop great networks through volunteering. Many charities are desperate for volunteers. This means that you may be able to get experiences that a paying job would never allow you. For example, you may start working at an animal shelter scooping litter boxes, but you may offer to help with fundraising, event planning, marketing or graphic design. These organizations can’t afford professionals and don’t require people to have experience to preform these tasks. Sure you won’t get paid, but you’ll get an opportunity to fulfill your graphic design aspirations, add more to your credentials, and build your resume.
6. Thinking that making more money will make you happier
Studies show that money in itself doesn’t lead to job satisfaction. For many people enjoying what they do and having a work/life balance is more important. When you enjoy your work, you excel at it and, as a result, your career benefits.
7. Thinking attaining power will make you more ‘masculine’
Over the years, TV has shown successful businesswomen in mannish suits, short hair and aggressive demeanors. Many women are subliminally influenced by these cues, and fear that as they move up the ladder, they’ll appear more masculine and, in their minds, less attractive. While women in the workplace decades ago may have felt the need to mirror men to succeed, that’s no longer the case. Femininity isn’t equated with weakness anymore.
8. Waiting for opportunities to come to you
Many people fear speaking up when they want something. They wait to be approached for a promotion before showing interest, minimizing their chances for success. If you’re ready for a promotion, more responsibility, or a raise, be proactive and approach your manager. Let him or her know that you’ve earned the opportunity. Leave the aggression and arrogance at the door, and present your case with confidence. Even if rejected, you’ll earn respect and consideration for the next opportunity.
9. Thinking that being liked = being respected
Studies have shown that young women have a stronger need than men to be seen as “likable.” Likability isn’t synonymous with respect. People who make congeniality a priority tend to be indecisive and submissive, which definitely won’t help in earning respect. You need to balance confidence, collaboration, decisiveness and openness. Don’t be a pushover just because you fear stepping on toes.
10. Thinking that nice girls never say no
Many women bring their nurturing side to work and end up taking on too many tasks. While being a team player and feeling needed is gratifying, too many duties will result in failure with a lot of them. Learn your limit and when (and how) to say no.
The workplace is a place of great opportunities, but can be filled with barriers too. Believe in yourself, keep your eyes open for new opportunities and remember to enjoy what you do and where you are headed!