A new year is synonymous with making resolutions and (hopefully) achieving them in the months ahead. So, with 2017 officially underway, now is the perfect time to set a few goals. The past year was a good reminder that, while we’ve made progress, women are still coming up short—20 pennies short on the dollar, give or take a few—when it comes to equality in the workplace. According to this video, the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans includes only 48 women, a number that—if we’re being honest—is quite a bit lower than us ladies would like. Whether you want to make headway in the position you already have or transition to a new job altogether, crush it at work (and at life in general) by setting these three goals.
If you’ve ever found yourself beginning a sentence with the phrase “I’m sorry, but…” as a reflex, now is the time to kick that habit once and for all. As this article states, when a women needs to be direct about something, such as getting a raise (or requesting vacation time, asking for clarification on a project, or even ordering a salad without tomatoes), she is likely to apologize before she even asks the question—just so she doesn’t come off as rude. All this does is make you look weak or unsure of yourself, especially in the workplace. Next time you’re about to utter those two little, but powerful, words, ask yourself this: why am I apologizing? Are you genuinely sorry for emailing your colleague with a question? Because you shouldn’t be. So, stop saying that you’re sorry and claim the respect you deserve.
Ask for More
If you wait around to be offered a raise, a promotion, or a specific task or team or job that you want, chances are you’ll be waiting a very long time. Generally speaking, that’s just not how employers work. As this post points out, women often don’t think of asking for more—more pay, more responsibility, more insert-work-related-thing-here—in fact, research shows that men are four times more likely than women to ask for a salary raise. Yes, negotiating for higher pay can be intimidating. And yes, some will think you’re being ‘too aggressive’ or ‘too demanding’ (qualities expected of men, but frowned upon in women). Ask for more anyway. Prepare ahead of time, cite your accomplishments, remind your boss of the value you bring to the company, what your skills are worth, and don’t settle.
Being a team player, collaborating with your coworkers, and contributing to group projects may be vital aspects of your job, but downplaying the amount of work you put into these tasks shouldn’t be. As one piece notes, studies have shown that when it comes to team or group projects, women tend to give more credit to their male colleagues and take less for themselves. This hurts women if their overall contribution to their company goes unnoticed—after all, you can’t just assume that your boss knows who “really” did the work (they don’t). If you find yourself defaulting to the all-encompassing “we” when referring to a group project, even if you’re the lead on it, try talking about the assignment in the first-person instead. You can still give credit to your colleagues while emphasizing your own contribution and leadership.
Post by Alison Bateman
Alison Bateman is a freelance writer and editor living in Atlanta. She focuses on lifestyle, fashion, and feminism although she’s been known to write the occasional post on sports as well. She lives with her adopted dog, Emerson, and when she’s not writing you can find her cheering on the Falcons and the Hawks.