Don’t Always Believe Everything They Say – Especially If…

Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 in Personal Performance, Self-Leadership, Stress Management, Thrive Strategies | 0 comments

Don’t Always Believe Everything They Say – Especially If…

Especially if  “they” are the men you work with!  This may sound a little harsh, but it’s a lesson I learned the hard way and it came back to-day when I read the initial results of a study released Tuesday examining women and leadership.  It’s being done by The Women’s College of the University of Denver and the White House Project, a not-for-profit that aims to advance women in leadership roles.

They found that since 2009 there has been no net increase in the percentage of women in leadership positions, so given the almost non-existent growth rate “it’ll be 2085 before women are at parity with men in leadership roles”.

So it looks like following the advice we women are often given to “just be patient, it takes time” sure isn’t working for us!

The advice that ended up blocking my ability to apply for promotions was “we’re sorry, but we really can’t afford to have you off on training right now, the work you’re doing is too important to go on hold while you’re away.  Just be patient, your time will come”.  Back then I took people at their word and didn’t go looking for hidden agendas, so figured that eventually my turn would indeed come.  Big mistake!  Which I only realized some years later when I noticed that many of the men hired after me were getting promoted while I wasn’t, in spite of my experience and qualifications.  When I asked I was told I didn’t have the right qualifications, I hadn’t taken the necessary training and they had.  And the training they referred to was the very language training that I had requested year after year and been turned down for.

So, was my work really too important to have me away for the duration of the training, or was it a subtle way to ensure they had an excuse to not promote me?

Take heed –  a word to the wise – make sure what is offered as ‘good advice’ isn’t just another obstacle to your moving forward.  Not everybody has your best interest at heart.  If you’re not sure if it really is good advice, observe what’s going on around you.  Consider how important what you want to do is to your career.  If it’s important then make a case for it and take it to your boss.  If you’ve done your homework and your case is a good one and he still says “No”, then calmly ask for an explanation.  There may in fact be a very good reason for not acting on it now – but you’ll never know id you don’t look into it and ask.


Until next time – THRIVE on! :-)

Karen Switzer-Howse

Canada’s Premier Thrive Synergy Strategist



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