This is a topic I am REALLY passionate about. It is still often frowned upon for women to be too ambitious in the workplace even though it is 2020. This often leaves women scared to come off as too aggressive or too eager to get where they want to go career wise.
Believe me as a youngish, blonde woman I have heard it all in the workplace. I have always been driven at work, and always wanted to contribute to the best of my ability. I became the CFO at my organization at the age of 32, so of course you run into those naysayers that think you’re too young, not that smart, or that you got there because of your looks or extra circulars. Over my years in the workforce I’ve heard more dumb blonde jokes than I can count, have been told I should wear a certain color because it flatters me, and have even been told “oh wow, you can teach the pretty ones”.
My way of dealing with that kind of behavior has always been to shrug it off, and keep proving myself. I use that doubt as motivation to keep growing, and keep kicking ass. However, that type of behavior might tempt smart, capable women to stay meek in the workplace. Never dim your light because someone’s insecurities can’t handle its brightness!
With that being said, here are a few things you should always do in the workplace, and not let fear hold you back from:
Speak up if you have a good idea: Never be afraid to throw out an idea. The worse that can happen is that your idea doesn’t get chosen, but at least you will be seen as someone that is capable of producing them. Don’t let being viewed as too eager or outspoken keep you passive in the crowd.
Set your goals & keep going after them: Make sure to set goals of where you want to be at work, or in your career big picture, and stick to them. Knowing which direction you are heading in helps you drown out the noise and keep focused. It is easier to block negativity out, when you have an end goal. Keep an open mind though, as goals may shift as you grow in your career.
Dress how you feel comfortable, not how you think you should: Let’s start by saying, make sure you dress professionally! That may look different for people depending on your industry. However, if you don’t want to wear dresses, DON’T. If you want to dress femininely, DO IT. The point is choose your professional style based on what you feel comfortable in, not on what someone tells you women should wear.
Learn to listen & retain constructive criticism: Hearing criticism isn’t easy, but sometimes we need it! Learning to take constructive criticism is a huge way to learn and grow in your career. Learn from those around you always. We will never be perfect at, or know everything at work. There are always opportunities to listen, learn, and keep developing.
Don’t think everyone is out to get you: This is a big one. It is easy as young women in the workforce, to decide all men just don’t want you to be successful. That the people in your company that have been there a long time just don’t like you because you’re younger. However, that is simply not true. You will work with more great people than bad ones. Don’t let those bad seeds ruin an entire demographic for you. Make connections with people, and learn from people. Grow meaningful connections at work! These relationships often play a HUGE role in your success.
Stay focused ladies, and keep crushing it in your careers! Stay ambitchous 😉