Throughout my career I’ve witnessed a few different situations where men were chosen over women for a promotion. In at least two of these situations the men receiving the promotions closely resembled a younger version of the bosses themselves who were doing the promoting.
I think it’s fair to say that people like people who are similar to themselves. However, in the corporate world this can have a negative impact on women trying to advance in their careers, since the most senior positions are highly male dominated. I’ve been personally fortunate that I haven’t had to experience a lot of discrimination as a woman in my corporate environment. This is the result of working with progressive men within progressive companies though, not because of having female bosses shielding me from it.
Since creating the Magical Unicorn Project, I’ve had interesting conversations with women about the different ways they have experienced a corporate glass ceiling. Sometimes, the ceiling had nothing to do with men and it was a female boss that was working hard to keep them down. While we explore the challenges of corporate glass ceilings within this project, I think it’s important to acknowledge all the unique ways women can experience these ceilings and be open to taking an honest look at them.
There is one piece of advice I would like to give women in the corporate world to help them smash through glass ceilings. I had to learn this over the years and through experience. The advice is this; advocate for yourself. Know what you’re worth. Just because you are doing a great job and crushing it every year does not mean your company is going to come to you with recognition, a raise, a promotion or a thank you card. Even if you have the best boss in the whole world it isn’t always in their best interests to advocate for your advancement or boost your compensation. YOU need to advocate for it. Make sure you have put in the hard work first, built the relationships and have a proven track record of success. You want to know in your heart with 100% certainty that you’re a worthy candidate when you go about asking for a promotion. If you have all those things in your arsenal, your company will most likely find a way to keep you happy and help you continue to climb the corporate latter. If they don’t, and you truly believe you are worthy, there is nothing preventing you from finding a company who will appreciate what you bring to the table and value your unique contributions. In fact, sometimes when your current employer discovers you’re moving on, that’s when they try their hardest to retain you. Ideally, the company you work for will make you feel valued and support your continued advancement as warranted. Just never forget what you give and what you’re worth. Always remember it’s your job and your job alone to advocate for yourself. Smash through the glass!