In Career, Discussions, Discussions, Life, Women

Women also have to step up and take responsibility for their careers

Look I get that women make less than men for the same job, something like 73% less than a man with the same degree and job:

think-progress-silicon-valley-age-gap-men-women-earning-charts

…but can we also acknowledge that women don’t do any of the following that it contributes to this problem of unequal pay for the same job?

WE SHY AWAY FROM “CONFLICT” (AKA NEGOTIATION)

Aside from the fact that women tend to shy away from the jobs that pay the most (STEM occupations), in ANY job I hear/see these problems on a regular basis; women….

  • Don’t ask for a higher salary when they get a job because they’re just grateful they got a job in the first place
  • Don’t ask around for similar salaries / averages to get an idea of what to ask for and what your range should be
  • Don’t ask or push for a promotion (you need quantifiable numbers and actual value brought to the table)
  • Don’t negotiate for a salary bump or a bonus when the time comes around to do so and keep quiet instead
  • Don’t want to hop from job to job for a better salary, position, etc
  • Think their bosses will quietly recognize their value and give them more money without saying anything (what hogwash!)
  • Don’t think they have to talk about themselves because they think it’s bragging

The one thing that I couldn’t put on this list as a woman’s fault is:

  • Don’t / Can’t work the hours a guy can work — I’m a great example; can’t take contracts while pregnant so I can’t work

There is definitely a bias against women, particularly in male-dominated occupations, and the only way to get over this and to continue to improve the working situation for other women (especially the younger generations) is to prove yourself.

You are only hurting your position and the position of future, younger women by NOT negotiating and asking for what you are worth.

YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOURSELF AND YOUR WORTH

Basically, don’t be an unprofessional idiot at work and ruining it for the rest of us. I hate to say it, but the actions of one woman who is unprofessional and flighty, tends to affect the rest of us with the same brush.

I hate putting all this pressure and responsibility on other women to prove themselves as not to let down other women, but it’s true because people enjoy stereotyping.


Since there are also less women in STEM occupations, it also means that we are more visible and targeted as a group for stereotyping.

All women have to understand that at some point in your life (or all the time), we have to work harder and smarter to be considered ‘equal’ (hopefully after you have proven yourself to be of value and worthy, you do not need to constantly go above and beyond to impress others.)

It’s unfair, I know, but if women do this, I am optimistic and hopeful that in the future attitudes will thaw and change as newer generations grow up amongst a work and cultural environment that acknowledges that women’s work products are equal to men’s.

The funny thing is that I am seeing an attitude change (very slightly) where it is getting easier for everyone to pick out who is a hard worker and who isn’t.

BF told me once that he always saw and considered that women in his business school and even in jobs, tended to work better, smarter and faster than their male colleagues.

He always had a respect a little more biased towards women, but ultimately never let it colour his opinion where he just assumed a woman was a better worker.

He judged on results at the end of the day, regardless of gender.

BY THE WAY, DON’T BRING DOWN OTHER WOMEN FOR NO REASON

I am not saying that you should always defend other women just because they’re a fellow woman, and give them special considerations even though they’re total flakes at their job.

I am saying that if you see a woman in your workplace who is professional, who works hard and is a good colleague (either above or below you), don’t try and bring her down with your petty gossiping and snarking.

Having gone to high school not as a popular kid at all, being subjected at times to this awful clique-y Mean Girls scenario more than once, it is quite difficult when you are trying to do your job as a professional only to hear people snark behind your back (other fellow women no less) and call you names because they’re jealous that you’re young and/or have a better job or salary than they do.

My philosophy is:

What you have, you’ve worked for it.

If you haven’t worked for it, don’t expect to get it.

You truly get what you deserve.

THERE IS NO SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL FOR WOMEN WHO DON’T HELP OTHER WOMEN

Made me think of this recent joke that Amy Poehler made about Taylor Swift:

[Amy Poehler] After joking that the “Mean” singer better “stay away from Michael J. Fox’s son” during their 2013 hosting gig, [Taylor] Swift instantly went into revenge mode, telling Vanity Fair (that Katie Couric once told her), “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women.”

To which Amy replied:

As Amy put it during the heat of Swift-gate: “I do agree I am going to hell. But for other reasons. Mostly boring tax stuff.”

Via

*rolls eyes* “Girl power”. Right. And the quote was from Madeleine Albright, not Couric.

ANYWAY.

To clarify, there is however a special place in Hell for women who bring down other competent, professional women just to secure their position as Queen Bee or to make sure that no one else climbs the same corporate ladder to reach their position or surpass them.

This is a common problem, where women backstab each other, and I daresay it is more of a problem among women than men.

On the whole, I see that men tend to see others as buddies and they help each other and are less protective or jealous, whereas women, tend to want to be the only ones in the spotlight as a woman, which makes them more eager to stomp on other women at the bottom trying to climb up achieve the same status.

woman-golddigger-money-cash-bills-rich

Generally speaking, I find that women are not as proud or as encouraging of other women for their accomplishments whereas I see men as more accepting or at least thrilled that they have a friend in the same level as they are, or higher than them (they see the pros, not the cons).

I’ve worked with good women consultants and bad ones (same with men).

The good ones work hard and I enjoy working with them because we see eye-to-eye and are professionals in it together.

The bad ones, try and shirk the workload off on me (or others), and pretend like it isn’t their responsibility when it clearly IS.

Man OR woman, I don’t take that kind of crap, so to come and tell me afterwards: You should have defended me as a fellow Sister, makes me want to ask you what you’ve been smoking.

The bottom line is I don’t buy into that crap — I still want you as a woman to prove to me that you can do the job as well as the next candidate, whether it be a man or a woman. I don’t defend or “save” my women friends or colleagues at work or cover for them just because they’re women.

It is not in my principles to cover for anyone who is consistently unprofessional, man or woman.

SO WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? IT’S THE WOMAN’S FAULT?

… I am not saying it is all the woman’s fault, I am just saying it is not just the employer’s fault.

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Think about it — you go into a store, you see a product for $50.

You go to another store, you see the SAME THING for $35.

Which one are you going to buy?

Are you going to go to the second store’s owner and say: Hey.. you should sell this to me for $50, not $35. I demand you charge me $50!

NO. You’re not (and don’t try and say you would, because I call bullsh*t).

If I as a boss (even as a woman), can get away with paying someone a lower salary who does the same job (maybe better!), I’mma do it.

It’s also a factor that women (based on the above reasons in the post), directly or indirectly accept such an environment where they also allow themselves to be treated in such a way, or they simply don’t speak up when they should.

It is just frustrating that you see all of these studies and as a woman, you know it isn’t the whole picture being portrayed because the blame seems to be all on the companies or on men.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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15 Comments

  1. Tahnya Kristina

    I agree. Women (well all people) need to take their careers and their money into their own hands. We deserve it so we need to work hard for it and sometimes ask for it because no one will ever just give it to us.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Precisely what I think. “Squeaky wheel gets the grease”, and all that.

      Reply
  2. Jennine

    Absolutely. Women do need to step up, and feel that they can negotiate. It’s getting over that hurdle that makes it hard. I heard on NPR that women CAN negotiate, they just have a hard time negotiating for themselves. Getting more awareness over how you can change and what needs to change is the first step. Hopefully it will change soon!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      It’s a question of confidence!!

      Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Sometimes I think *some* women want female privilege rather than equality.

    As for treatment in the workplace:

    I’ve walked away from a job where I didn’t think I was treated fairly. There is one job that I no longer put on my resume. I was there 8 months.

    A lot of people didn’t even last that long at that job. Many lasted less than 6 months. Management treated people poorly that is why many didn’t stay. I started looking for a new job after my first month there. I even switched to a different department to see if my situation would improve, but I encountered the same thing there.

    Eventually I found a new job with a new company, I quit that old job without notice. I don’t feel bad. Oprah Winfrey says that “You teach people how to treat you.” I don’t know if that phrase is always true but I REFUSE to stay in a situation and allow people to think that it’s okay.

    I even sent a notice to HR on why I was quitting and how they could improve the turnover rate if they didn’t treat people poorly. I don’t know if they listened or not. But I left a bad review of this company on glassdoor.com

    I wanted to warn other workers of that company. When I left that company, I told all my friends, family members, and acquaintances that place is a bad one. But apparently they are still treating people poorly as a lot of people have left poor reviews of this company besides me.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I’ve walked away from jobs too that I don’t put on my CV.

      Honestly, it’s an experience you don’t want to relive when you have to go through interviews.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        @save. spend. splurge.: No kidding. But in a way it helps because you start to realize what is a good workplace and what is a bad one and how to sniff out the bad ones.

        Reply
  4. SarahN

    I sit in a ‘row’ of women, in an office that otherwise only has women as clerical (I’m an engineer, and so are the two women in my row). They are both mothers, and I am not.

    N is INCREDIBLY capable at her job, and the days she’s in, she’s a real asset to have around. I think if her children had been timed differently she may be where I am now – about to get a gig as a manager, potentially. But she knows that there were choices to be made, and she’s ok she’s not in management. M is newer, and culturally a little hot headed at times, but then other times she doesn’t want to confront people. I try to help her where I can – step in and take over when she thinks she might be seen as ‘mean’ or ‘pushy’ – I really don’t give sh*t if people think that of me. I have a job to do – so do they, and if they aren’t doing it, I will ask some questions.

    I have worked with other women in my company, in the same roles, some are not what I’d like to be – they go to site in heels and a skirt, it’s both dangerous (electricity kills) and it’s making us look a little unprofessional. I used to ‘bag her out’ but now I say (as I work with her husband) that our work styles are different. It really says it without criticising what this woman choses to do.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I wouldn’t go to work in heels and a skirt if it was dangerous. I work in mostly white collar environments, so I never have to wear any kind of protective gear…

      I’d agree that children who are not timed correctly kind of eff things up. Like for me, last year I wanted to work but ended up pregnant, and I would have preferred to have been pregnant the year prior, and have taken LAST year to have the baby, and to work this year (I had to turn down a number of contracts)..

      Reply
  5. Alicia @ Financial Diffraction

    I think the stat in is getting closer to par at $0.82 on the dollar for salaried/full-time Canadians in 2013. If you compare fields directly, it removes the issue that there are more women in fields that don’t pay as well (like humanities) when compared to STEM for example, which is skewed toward men. So comparing directly in STEM (which is what I know) the number is close to the high 80’s, low 90’s.

    That 10-12% difference, say half of that is due to women not negotiating as hard as men (I didn’t the first time, but I did the second time), then we’re at $0.94 (or so) on the dollar. That’s getting closer to equal!

    But then we have to think of WHY women don’t negotiate. It’s all the reasons you mentioned above, but also the overall perception of how women and men are seen when doing the same behaviour. The whole “bitch” vs. “assertive” line for women and men.

    That’s my little rant. I agree things are skewed, but the $0.77 on the dollar that Obama famously quoted… isn’t a great comparison.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      $0.94 is not too shabby!!!!

      Well, women don’t negotiate because we’re too hung up on being nice and liked. We also don’t know how to / weren’t taught to.

      Reply
  6. Kathy

    I sincerely get peeved when I hear women complain about equal pay, no family leave, being called bossy, etc. I want to say “put on your big girl panties and deal with it.” Most employers are not going to pay a woman less if she truly contributes as much to the company’s bottom line as a man does. Many men reach executive positions after 40 years in the workforce or even with the same company. And most of them never took time off to have a baby. They’ve frequently taken assignments that cause them to travel away from home. They are often still at the office when women are leaving to pick up the kids at school. Maybe this isn’t fair since biologically women can’t change the having babies part, but it is the way it is. Complaining about inequality, and asking men to make changes in the corporate world to accommodate us just makes it appear that women aren’t equal after all.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Hear hear, Kathy!

      I do find it unfair (as a new mom) that men aren’t expected/asked to take paternity leave rather than taking the view that women are penalized for having children. In Northern Europe (Norway, I want to say), men are encouraged to take 6 months off of paternity leave (after their wife takes 6 months, I believe).

      Companies ASK new fathers to take the time off and bond with their children, which I wholly support.

      In my case, as I pump breast milk, I don’t really need to be around / at home with the baby 24/7 to take care of him, yet it is expected that the mother will do it, not the father.

      Otherwise, what I am finding is that my child is crying and inconsolable unless I hold him, but it is a question of him getting used to other people taking care of him (e.g. Daddy), and not something biological, if that makes sense.

      Reply
  7. SP

    This is stuff we can do as individuals, but the issue is much bigger than that. I know you know that, so I won’t waste my breath (my… fingers?), but the post really talked a lot about how women are doing it wrong and that’s why we make less, etc.

    Also, I don’t find women to be more catty / tear-down than men, really at all. While this can be true, I think i) the stereotype is larger than the reality and ii) It is less true at professional jobs than, say, high school or jobs that require minimum education. Mean Girls is just not a thing where I have worked.

    (PS it would be time for the 10 year high school reunion for Mean Girls this year (or next?), how badly do you want to see that turn into a movie?!)

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Mean Girls is definitely a thing where I work. Although it’s Mean Girls.. 30 years later. It takes a while for them to get to know / like me and I try my best to not annoy them or make it worse. Not all the women I work with are like that, but there are a few who feel threatened for whatever reason.

      YES! I want to see that turn into a movie 😀

      Reply

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