Okay ladies, it’s time for a little honesty. Picture this scenario: You’ve been working in your current position for two years now, and you’re ready for a change. You gone back to school, upgraded to a Master’s Degree and now you’re ready to bring home the big bacon; I’m talking Oscar Mayer’s extra thick, maplewood syrup type bacon. Now, an opportunity for a promotion pops up at your job, but you don’t feel that you have all of the qualification requirements listed for the position. Do you apply for the job anyway? Or do you move on to find something less “intimidating” and more in line with your current qualifications?
Do “high-level” positions intimidate us as women? Do we allow our emotions to psych us out of opportunities for growth? Are we not as represented as men are in high leadership positions because we’re just not as qualified? Or maybe we are qualified, but just don’t want it? According to a research out of Harvard Business School, it’s suggested that women associate leadership positions with more stress, burden and conflicts, and so as a result are less likely to apply for leadership positions. The article also suggests that women have more negative associations with power than men do. So, to sum it up, one of the reasons why we’re not in as many leadership positions as men are is because we essentially don’t want it.
Don’t go giving me a verbal beat down for sharing my opinion with you, but in all honesty, this article called a sistah’ our, like waaay out! Well, maybe not all the way out, but a little bit. After some real thought, I can tell you that the reason that I’m not currently in that “big time” high-level position isn’t necessarily because I’m not qualified or wouldn’t be able to learn and become effective in my role, but it’s because…wait for it…I don’t want it!
Now I know some of us may thrive in positions of power and are truly called to lead and operate in high-level positions within our prospective fields. And to you ladies, I click my stilettos and say continue to go for what’s yours. Allow your experience, smarts and work ethic to shine the brightest light within your workplace. However, I’ve come to accept that it’s just not for me.
For so many years, I moved based on what I thought I “had to do” in order to be considered “successful”. But deep down, I honestly don’t think all the potential responsibilities and stress that comes along with that high-ranking corporate position would be worth a few extra dollars in the bank. So I guess I would be included in that group of women who associates leadership positions with more stress and burden, and that’s quite alright.
For me, it’s all about experiencing genuine fulfillment in my profession and allowing the seeds that I sow to bless me in return. In God’s perfect timing I know that I’ll get to enjoy the fruits of my labor and operate in my passion full-time. But I have no desire to fast-track my professional “success” doing something I’ll dread every morning when I wake up, literally dragging myself to work just to say that I’m “successful” according to the world’s standards.
Now, knowing that you are able and qualified, the question you should really be asking yourself is this: Is this potential new role going to contribute to and/or fulfill my purpose and will I enjoy operating in it? If the answer to this question is yes, then you have what it takes and should definitely apply for the position.
I’m not sure if you knew this but there’s this inherent strength, ability and just straight up know-how built into the structural DNA of a woman. Don’t allow a few missing bullet points on a job posting to keep you from going for what’s yours. Feel the fear, embrace the opportunity for change and apply for it anyway.
But if the answer to that question I asked is a “no”, then don’t force it. Don’t try to be anyone that you’re not. Don’t allow society’s flawed misconception of a woman’s strength to drive you towards a confined view of success. Success is such a personal experience. Instead, be the woman that you dream up on the inside and be her on purpose. What was meant for you will always be yours; and you’ll have no choice but to thrive and succeed in your calling.
We also need to embrace the fact that as women, we may “want it all”, and that’s okay too. Contrary to popular belief, we can have it all, we just need to know and understand what “it all” entails for us on a personal level. Let’s not allow our personal health and well-being to be overlooked on our journeys to personal success.
Trust me, I get it. Woman are just as qualified as men are to hold those high-ranking leadership positions. But I think too often some of us want so badly to prove to society what we already know to be true; that we too can be just as successful as our male counterparts in the workplace. However, we should not compromise our happiness and well-being in order to prove a point.
How do you all feel about promotions for women in the workplace? Are we really sabotaging ourselves out of career promotions? It’s not sabotaging if I don’t want it, right?