What Keeps High-Achieving Women From Choosing Executive Positions. VI. Results: Themes One – Three
(MR) “I always felt I knew as much if not more than my bosses and I should be recognized and rewarded for that. In return, they would get outstanding work from me, beyond expectations. I could help take the organization to the next level if they let me. When this was slow to come, I was angry, irritated and restless. They weren’t using my strengths and they weren’t acknowledging my brilliance. How stupid could they be?”
(JE) “We’ve been taught in this generation that we can have it all. The reality is, you can but you have to work really, really, really hard to find it, and no one’s going to hand it to you. I remember women coming into my office saying, ‘You’re so lucky, you work part time.’ And I would say to them, luck had absolutely nothing to do with it. I proved myself, and then I asked for it. I learned that lesson.”
Survey responses: When asked if they felt they were entitled to anything at work, 83% said they expected to get frequent new challenges and opportunities and 67% said they expected to be recognized for their work. Only 26% said they expected promotions. However, 43% said they expected direct help with their development, such as having mentors or coaches. It is clear these women expect to be given frequent new challenges and to be recognized for their results, but they don’t see it as entitlement since they work hard for their rewards.
Sample survey comments:
“I often feel I should be promoted sooner than others (like many people I am sure). It should be based on the improvements I made and goals I exceed. The challenge is finding a company that empowers its people by promoting them appropriately. Even in companies that allow promotions based on merit (without getting a new role), they typically only allow x amount and there are politics involved, resulting in a slower promotion system than I would personally like.”
“I was fresh out of college when I obtained my job. I have always been a quick study and boredom comes quickly. I was naive about self-directed career development. In the company I joined there was an artificial rule that you had to spend five years in an entry level position before advancement. I challenged a regional sales director who preached this. My challenge was that no two people have the same learning curve and five years can’t be applied uniformly. I received my first promotion at the two-year mark.”