If Breaking The Glass Ceiling Was Easy, It Wouldn't Require Breaking Anything

Illustration for article titled If Breaking The Glass Ceiling Was Easy, It Wouldn't Require Breaking Anything

This is former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (and McCain surrogate, boo!). She knows a little about breaking the glass ceiling, having successfully run an enormous and successful company. Unlike some women surveyed about their self-promotional skills, she doesn't have any trouble talking about her accomplishments. But, those who do are not "perpetuating the glass ceiling" as behavioral scientist Shannon Goodson says in her new book The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance because, God knows, you can be a loud, arrogant self-promoting bitch (see: me) and still get screwed.Goodson looked at 11,500 professional women and 16,700 men in 34 countries and found that, in general, women are less likely to brag and/or outright lie about their professional experiences to get ahead. More so then men, women appear to have bought into the myth of the meritocracy, according to Goodson, "They believe hard work alone is sufficient to put them on salary and status par with their male counterparts," to which she adds, "Good work is important, but good work alone does not, as the myth says, speak for itself, you have to give it a voice." Which is good, until you look at studies that say that aggressive women are sometime looked down upon for being aggressive. That right there is the glass ceiling: the idea that you have to be like a man but not too much like a man to get ahead, not that you'll get that far competing with aggressive men if you are not aggressive. The glass ceiling is less about open discrimination (though that remains) and more about stereotypes of behavior and expectations that women have to confront and overcome to get ahead. Of course, the Daily Male takes the whole study in stride, absolving men and society of all blame for the role of women in the workplace. They go through the study and find where Goodson "exposes" the fact that some women (particularly in the U.S.) have an attitude that if they got there without help, their younger counterparts can, too. So it's not just women keeping ourselves down, it's women keeping other women down, too! Of course, one can rather easily find examples of that being untrue, but examples and nuance aren't exactly the provenance of the Daily Male. So what is a woman to do? For one, laugh heartily at the idea that your work is going to get noticed for being fabulous, or that hard work alone will propel you to a leadership position. Recent studies show that people that work hard get to keep working hard while people that network better (i.e., that promote themselves) get promoted. Your boss isn't a robot any more than you are, and hiring and promotion decisions are never going to be made in an emotional vacuum. Then start keeping a list of your accomplishments, take credit for the work you've done and stop waiting to be noticed as though work is a junior high school dance. Ask for what you want and what you think you deserve and show your company exactly as much loyalty as they're prepared to show you — which, if they're not promoting you or giving you a raise because they prefer the type of employee that lies loudly about his accomplishments over one who accomplishes something and points it out, is exactly none. Bloody your fists on the damn glass ceiling. Career Women Are The Own Worst Enemies: Study [Reuters] Women Only Have Themselves To Blame For Failing To Crack The Glass Ceiling, Says Female Scientist [Daily Mail] Some Women Work Too Hard to Be Promoted [US News & World Report]



@vamusical: I had the opposite happen. And at each promotion my boss would admit that he hated that I was leaving on some level because he was going to have to try to find someone else to fill my shoes. But none of my bosses ever tried to keep me in my original position.

That being said, I wanted and took credit for my ideas, hardwork etc. As a woman I was expected to not talk about my accomplishments but cheer the men who did. My arse.

If I did the work and found the solution I want the praise and the bonus that comes with it.