Are we as women trapping ourselves in our corporate careers due to misguided gratitude?
I have been doing a lot of thinking and reflection lately. As I have been diving into teaching more and more of the personal leadership pillar here at Legend Leaders, I have been constantly asking myself: Why do we as women stay at jobs we hate? Why are we trapped? Are we trapping ourselves? Are other events happening that cause us to feel trapped? What is it?
Even during the Great Resignation (a viable reason/opportunity to make a career change), many talented female leaders are frozen. Why?
I have been so stuck on answering this question that I have even started blogging about it.
Here’s what I have come up with so far after 100s of thousands of hours talking to women and of course living it myself.
We are stuck for not just one reason, but many. These reasons can exist singularly or become a tangled web that keeps us trapped. So let’s identify and name the 4 most common reasons for this. These 4 reasons are the ones I have heard and seen most commonly in my interactions.
The first one is what I call “misguided gratitude.”
What is misguided gratitude?
We all want to give back to an organization that we believe has given us chance after chance to progress, develop, and move forward. Because we believe they have taking a gamble on us, we feel unbelievably grateful for all of the chances, opportunities, and promotions the company has “given us.”
Let’s take a moment to break down the two significant pieces on that thought process.
1. Why do we believe the organization has “taken a chance on us?”
Did they take a risk when they hired you over a decade ago?
Even right out of school you had a track record of success. That’s the point of a resume, an interview, and your previous experience. They check ALL of that to reduce their risk just like you check all of it when you hire someone new to your team.
So why should you be grateful for them taking a risk that really isn’t a risk?
The reality is that studies have shown women on average do not feel prepared to take on a new role until they have mastered 100% of the competencies. Because of this mental frame of reference, many times we believe someone has taken a risk because we believe we are not 100% ready yet.
So let me ask you this. Do you promote individuals who aren’t 100% ready?
Don’t you become 100% ready when you are in the role because you really couldn’t learn how to be ready any other way?
The company isn’t taking a risk, a gamble, or making a horrible decision by putting you in a role where your gifts and talents are needed. You can believe that about everyone else you see in the company, why not yourself?
2. Has the company really “given you a chance” or have you not earned it?
With every single woman I have worked with and talked to, we have all earned it. Let’s definitely change the inner dialogue here!
The reality is that when we feel trapped in our roles, the majority of the time it is because we trap ourselves!
Just like we talked about last month, reframe the story.
Your challenge today is to be honest with yourself.
Do you feel trapped in your career?
If the answer is yes, why are you staying?
Is it due to misguided gratitude?