Updated: January 2021
Navigating the workplace as a woman isn’t always straightforward. In this blog post I will share some lessons I’ve learned from being a woman in the workplace and how they can help to serve your career.
“Hindsight is 20/20” is a total understatement. How many times have you looked back on life situations and noticed that everything in your past can be seen through a crystal clear lens, including those painful yet powerful lessons learned? As a women’s work-life expert, I’ve seen that this is especially true for the professional woman in the workplace. While all women are not created equal and our needs and wiring is different, there have been a few key lessons that I have learned from my journey.
Much of my insights have come from hindsight analysis of my own mistakes. These moments of error turned clarity were impeccable teachers for me and I hope to empower you by teaching you the 3 most important things every woman should know in the workplace.
1. Know Your Worth
Yes, you, reading this you are valuable! A uniquely made creature. Out of the billions of women in the world, there is no one else like you. You have something unique to offer. So why do we question our value? I could go on and on about that response, but the bottom line is this: It’s necessary to like and love yourself if you want to be successful in the workplace (and life).
Knowing what you have to offer and who you are, will help you navigate the workplace so much more effectively. Here’s one way to find your life’s purpose and know yourself better.
How to Maintain Your Worth
One way to maintain your value and dignity is by not being a doormat. You don’t have to be aggressive and pushy, but you should not be a pushover. Have you ever seen a pushover at work? The person who is constantly getting worked dumped their way and always saying “yes” (whether they like it or not)? You don’t want to be this person. Inherently coworkers and bosses know this person does not know her worth and unfortunately, they take advantage of her. You don’t have to be this person. You can be confident and savvy and successful, but it starts with knowing who you are and the uniqueness you have to offer.
I must confess there was a time when I was younger and didn’t know my worth. I was fresh out of college and my 1st job presented so many opportunities to learn how to value myself. Unfortunately, these experiences came at the expense of my health. I was 22 working as a career trainer and my direct boss was the most intimidating woman I’d ever met. She selected smart younger women to pick on as they joined the company. I was one of her culprits. She would talk down to me, complain about everything I did and give me more work than my co-workers. She enjoyed seeing me stressed and because I didn’t know my worth I had no clue where to draw the line.
Know When to Cut Ties at the Price of Your Self-Worth
Eventually, it went too far and led to me having workplace anxiety and fainting spells. One day my chest was hurting at work and I knew it was time to go so I quit. This was one of my greatest teachers, listen to your body and love yourself enough to know when it’s time to walk away! This lesson gave me so much wisdom to impart on my clients who are unhappy but afraid to make a leap of faith. As one of my favorite quotes by Julia Cameron sums it up best: “Leap and the net will appear.”
Mine appeared and I’m glad it did more importantly it taught me to love myself along the way.
2. Know How to Ask for A Raise
There will come a time when you will want more money. Period point blank. Inflation is an issue! Let’s be honest, how will you get more money or what you feel you should earn if you are afraid to ask? You won’t! So don’t be afraid to ask for a raise. I’m convinced one of the reasons women make less than men in many cases is because they don’t have the confidence to ask. The worst thing that can happen is you receive a “no.” (That’s not so bad, let’s be honest). You have everything to gain if you get the raise and even if you don’t it will be good practice for the next time around.
One of my greatest successes as a coach was getting a client $20k more and a job 15 minutes away from home (as opposed to a 1 hour and a half commute). She had to go elsewhere to get what she wanted, but it started with me helping her understand what she was worth and how to ask for it.
3. Know When to Speak Up
There is absolutely nothing wrong with voicing your ideas and opinions because you matter. So many women are scared to reveal their true feeling out of fear of judgment or merely thinking that “I am not enough.” Well I’m here to tell you: YOU’RE MORE THAN ENOUGH! You’re actually pretty darn fabulous and if you don’t say what that small voice is telling you to say others won’t be able to grow and learn from you (not to mention you will stunt your own growth). If you are in a brainstorming session it’s the perfect opportunity to share an idea you think could benefit your company and position. If you are in meeting please interject and share if you can think of a more effective way of doing something. Employers love people with creative solutions, but more importantly you will love yourself more for speaking up!
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