glass ceiling

sorry not sorry...i'm here for a reason get over it

I have talked a lot about my own personal experiences to set the stage, today I want to switch it up a little bit and provide you with some tangible tips to push past the biases you may experience in the work place.

The 5 tenants I want to focus on are listed below and I am going to try and post each day this week so we can get them all covered and start climbing those ladders so that we can shatter those glass ceilings. It's a lot of work, so let's get started. First the topics...

  • Sorry not sorry
    • I"m here for a reason, get over it
  • A lil' swag goes a long way
    • Just ask Kanye
  • Eww, verbal diarrhea is so not cool
    • Seriously, dude, it's not a good look
  • I got shot gun, I called it
    • (and other ridiculous game you should learn to play)
  • Let em' hear you roar
    • (it's okay, we promise)

Ever notice how women are always apologizing for the strangest things?  How many times have you heard someone say the following or, if you're being honest have said them yourself?

  • "Sorry, can I ask a stupid question?"
  • "Sorry, do you have a minute"
  • "Sorry" when someone else bumps into you
  • "Sorry" as you hand your child to their father
  • "Sorry" when someone sits too close to you
  • "Sorry" when someone else was the wrongdoer

What's the big deal? I mean I know I probably did one of these this week alone. We are just being polite, right? But are we doing that or is it something else? 

Saying I'm sorry is one of those annoying quirks and peccadilloes that seem to come in like an alien and body snatch every bit of what makes us us and for some reason we let it. Probably because we were taught to have manners and be the "bigger" (better) person. So we say sorry again and again. It is almost like when you great someone with "hi, how are you?" The whole concept is there as a rhetorical question because if anybody actually stopped and told you ow they were feeling, you would be running for cover because let's face, for most people that we present that question to, we don't really care.

I know, sometimes I'm a bit of a jerk. but I'm a truthful jerk and I am only saying what most of us are thinking. We say "sorry" as a formality. We don't really mean it and if you asked us "why" we apologized, we probably wouldn't know what to say. In the small cases we would be able to give you a reason, it will sound just as ridiculous in our head as it did when you heard it out loud. Then we go home and curse ourselves for doing something so "stupid" and never once giving ourselves the luxury of an apology.


in the workplace

When we are interviewed and hired for a job the assumption is that we impressed the boss. We said or did something that let them know we would be an asset to the team. Imagine the bosses surprise when we show up and start apologizing for all of the things they hired us to do. That's doesn't make any sense, it also doesn't help you out at all because it is not what they wanted. It may seem seem like they do but they don't.

how do i know that? well, do you see men do it?

I realize men and women are different but that doesn't mean one is superior over the other or that one's ideas, questions, space or responsibility is any more valuable than the other. It just means different. So while I ask if you see men do this, it is not to tell you that you should copy what they are doing but comparing our reaction to a situation at work with that of a man does gives some good insight into confidence and at the end of the day confidence is key. Now for the million dollar question Alex...

i apologize.jpg

how do we stop saying i'm sorry all the time?

 

 

I'm glad you asked. It is NOT easy. I still catch myself doing it from time to time, especially when I just don't want to bothered. What I have found to be effective though is do one or more of the following:

know you surroundings

a lot of times, sorry comes from feeling inadequate. When you take the time to REALLY evaluate a room, you will realize two things.

  1. They are all just people, like you
  2. Some of them are definitely smarter than you but some are definitely not.

This means that 99% of the time you are sitting with people who are probably saying sorry in their head too, especially if they are women. Know what the men are thinking that you don't hear or see? 

Fake it till you make it

Yup, that age old saying is so true. You are smart. You are capable. You are strong. You're basically amazing. THEY hired you, not the other way around so if you don't know something, learn it. If you're confused, ask questions (with out apologizing for them). If you need to get up to speed, then work a little extra to get there. Despite what some may think, hard work, knowledge, dedication, passion and commitment do still mean something in the world and people will recognize your efforts. Nobody knows everything and very few people are experts. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. How many of the people in that office have put in that work? So relax, and fake it till you make it. I mean hello, you know what will happen, the saying tells you. You will make it!

get passionate about your work

If you wanna be a shark, be a shark This one is not so easy for a couple of reasons. 

  1. What happens if your job isn't exactly sexy and not what you dreamed of?
  2. Once you do it, people will use passionate to describe you in BOTH positive AND negative ways when you are a woman. Sorry, but it is true, there are studies all over to prove it.

Passion comes from within. You have to learn to harness it. I believe passion and drive are intimately connected. You have to WANT something to feel passion. Now, that might only be money. It might be respect or recognition or the knowledge of a job well done. If you are lucky, it is all of those things PLUS getting to do something that actually knocks your socks off. When I speak to kids, I always tell them that passion and creativity manifest themselves differently in everyone. It is up to us to figure out how. Stop complaining about not knowing your purpose and go find it. Easier said than done yes but NOTHING gets done until you want it bad enough.

So, how bad do you want it? If you want it that bad, why are you apologizing? You've made it this far, so you're doing something right, all it takes to move ahead, is one little step.

Okay, the first tenant is done, come back tomorrow when we talk about swagger in the workplace. YUP, I typed "SWAGGER". Deal with it. 

share with me

If you are feeling especially engaged today, tell me what you're "NOT SORRY" about in the comments below or on social media with the hashtags

  • #sorrynotsorrydawne
  • #dawnehanksdotcom

P.S.

I just want to thank everyone who emailed, texted, wrote and called me last week and told me about your experiences. I was in awe and truly humbled that you read my words but that you also chose to share yours with me. Just Keep Swimming. 

 

when it happens to you

you came back for part 2. YEAH! 

thank you

here's where we left off... (if you missed Wednesday's part one, go read it so you can catch up.)

when it happens to you...

yes i made these trophies and yes it is supposed to represent hustle and doing good at your job, mainly because who has a random picture of them in a cubicle or desk working away that looks interesting? Not me, so I decided to just use an image of winning. It works, right?

yes i made these trophies and yes it is supposed to represent hustle and doing good at your job, mainly because who has a random picture of them in a cubicle or desk working away that looks interesting? Not me, so I decided to just use an image of winning. It works, right?

I was struggling at work. It wasn't WITH the work necessarily. That was always the easy part. I was struggling with the structure around me and the way in which business was done. This is not to say my way was right, it is simply saying that I wasn't used to what was happening and it confounded me. 

You see, in my experience, work had always been somewhat easy. I got the job, I went in, worked hard, got bored, asked for more, did more and then typically moved on to something new. Here I was in a job that I loved but the environment was all wrong. For the first time in my career it felt as if people were judging me. It felt like people didn't like me. I understand that in the professional world "being liked" should not be what keeps you up at night and normally it wouldn't. I am pretty confident in who I am and I know that I am not for everyone but at work, I had never had to deal with that. 


On a weekly, sometimes daily basis, I was told one or more of the following things:

  • you are too aggressive
  • maybe if you toned it down a bit, people would be more receptive
  • they think you are a bitch
  • why don't you ask (fill in the blank with any guy's name) to help
  • he got promoted because he had more experience (despite having less education and work experience than me)
  • we just really need you to be less emotional
  • you shouldn't care so much
  • You are really good at what you do but we just need you to change this one little thing
  • your personality just doesn't mesh well here
  • some people think you are too harsh, I don't but "some" people do

huh?


I would come home every night and feel like I had gone a few rounds in a boxing ring. Wasn't I hired because I was aggressive? Wasn't I hired because I am good and show results? Should I be worried that people don't "like" me? Why in the heck should I not "care" about what I am doing? Wait, why wasn't I promoted?

huh?


I think this happens a lot to women, maybe not this exact thing but the idea that at some point at work, you are told to act different than who you are and you are done in so in a way that wouldn't have been said if you were a guy. Heck, some of the guys I worked with literally would go into my bosses office and FART, yes FART and they would laugh with the boss about it. First of all WHAT? or to stay with the theme...

huh?

I am not kidding. When we find ourselves in these situations (not the farting, the stuff before that) MOST women, start to question their qualifications and value. They feel the need to justify themselves and the make accommodations that men wouldn't. But why wouldn't we?

For example, how many times have you been in a meeting, maybe you are the only woman, and you are the one is asked to take notes or call for lunch? In my entire 20 plus year career I have NEVER seen a guy take meeting notes OR order lunch. NEVER! We are not "just one of the guys" and apparently that is less somehow.

These things might seem small to some but they really add up to a lot and they are why teaching our daughters to be leaders is so important. We will not become leaders if we do not acknowledge what we bring to the table. We have to find a way to move past the ridiculousness of experiences like the one I explained.

I know what you're thinking, was it really that easy for me to just "get past it"?

heck no.

I was upset. I was confused and don't tell anyone, but I basically cried on my drive home every single night. This was not what I signed up for. I really had a crisis of confidence and I am NOT a person who has a confidence issue at work. But I felt like I was just hanging there and since I knew this was not me I had to develop a game plan. Something had to change and unfortunately I have yet to secure a super power that allows me to bend people at my will. This means...

i couldn't just hang there anymore...i had to be the change.

to be continued...

next we'll talk about ways to change our attitude, outlook & responses in the workplace so that we can continue our upward climbs on those ladders we're always hearing about. Till Then...