5 Reasons Why You May Not Be Getting Promoted at Work.

I am making two assumptions in this post. The first one is that you want a promotion. There are sometimes legitimate reasons people may not want to get promoted right now. You might have decided that it is not the focus for you right now. You like your current job that you are in and want to take your time to establish yourself and learn more before you reach the next stage. You might be juggling work with other important personal goals and do not want the added responsibility of a new position. That is where you are and that is okay.

The second assumption is that you are doing your part. You are good at what you do, are continually developing yourself. You get good feedback, and you have a decent relationship with your boss and colleagues. However, the promotion still eludes you. In that case, here are some of the reasons why you are not getting promoted.

Reason 1: You have made yourself irreplaceable in your current position.

You would think that doing well in your current position could never disadvantage you, but it could. Working so well in your job such that it looks like no one else can do the work but yourself. Might make your superiors reluctant of removing you and leaving a vacancy in that post. You can do your job so well that no one else can do it better and most importantly, no one can imagine you doing anything else this well.

I am not advising that you should not do a good job but be careful of making yourself irreplaceable and therefore un-promotable.  See this from your boss’s point of view. They manage many variables and it can be a comfort to have a stable area that is doing well without needing their interference. Hence the saying ‘don’t fix it, if it’s not broken.

You may have positioned yourself to have job security but that is all you have done. You have not given people a reason why they should promote you. You are not showing that your current skills are transferable and applicable in areas with more responsibilities. You might have positioned yourself as a specialist that cannot be a generalist, which is essential for a leadership position.

Reason 2: You Don’t Punch Above Your Weight

You are not giving your employers the impression that you can do more than what you are currently doing. You are simply good at what you currently do but have you demonstrated your ability to do more? You might have heard about the concept of dressing for the job you want, and not the job that you are in. Although that is not key, it is also not a point that you should neglect. How we dress creates an impression about ourselves.

What’s more important though than how you dress, is how you think about your work and your position, in relation to the company. How can you connect the dots to bring more value to your team above just what is required of you? Taking initiative beyond your current job says to your employer this person is underutilized and is ready for the next stage.

Number 3: Being Operational and Not Strategic in Your Thinking

You know what you do, you do it well however you are not thinking at the level of your manager, or even better at the capacity of your CEO. You must imagine what these people are worried about and how your role or what you do can help lighten that load.

You have to think about how your role fits in your department. Think about where your department fits in with the company. Over and above that, you need to consider where the company stand within the industry, the country, the continent and maybe even the globe. This will up level your thinking. Which will in turn, influence what you say and how you do your job because you see yourself as a strategic part of the company and not just a worker filling a spot.

Number 4: Working Only on Your Technical Skills And Not on Your Leadership Skills

You are technical but unable to interpret what you do for the business and the other way around. I have seen this demonstrated quite well with IT people. IT people can be good at what they do technically yet often struggle to interpret their skills to speak to the business in a way that non technical people can understand. Even worse, not realising how technical decisions impact the business. The other challenge, specifically with IT professionals, is not displaying the ability to lead people who are not technical. It’s essential to learn how to lead a cross-functional team and manage the conflict and politics that result from leading people. You must show that you can lead and inspire a team to understand the work from a technical and a strategic point of view.

Number 5: Not Seeing Yourself as a Brand

The final reason is that you are just focusing on performing but not enough on your whole brand. Just as much as you need to be technically competent, perform well, you also need to work on the other skills that form part of your whole brand. This includes the confidence you embody, how you articulating and carry yourself. You should be able to see yourself not just as an employee but as a brand. What often helps is if you see yourself as a service provider rather than an employee. A service provider is always aware that they have to manage their reputation with the company who is a client.

For guided lessons, visit the ‘Reimagine The Next Stage of Your Career Program’ to help you position yourself for the next stage of your career.

https://blackwomenintheworkplace.thinkific.com/courses/re-imagine-the-next-stage-of-your-career

The Unspoken Reality of Father’s Day

Fathers Day #Triggerwarning

My parents separated when I was around 5 or 6 years old. Before then, my father adored me. He created a photo album of all my baby photos and made a bracelet with my middle name on it. I don’t remember returning his affection though. I remember the sloppy kisses that smelled of alcohol and must have blocked memories of him being physically abusive to my mother. I only remember the one time when he threw a small radio at my mom and it hit me in the mouth and I still have a scar to this day. That’s just the physical scar.

Other scars are not physical but they did create a limp in the way I related to people. My father abandoned me and left my inner child creating this narrative that I am unlovable and therefore I should be what people want me to be so they won’t leave me.

It also meant that I was scared of being rejected so I struggled with putting up boundaries and speaking up for myself. I was scared of conflict because it might mean that someone might leave or not like me anymore and thereby trigger the wound of abandonment and rejection that I felt as a child. If my father whose seed formed me wouldn’t stay and love me, what more a stranger. This meant that at my workplace I couldn’t be assertive and show that I was ready for leadership because I was conditioned to please. It also meant that I left jobs rather quickly before anyone could find out who I authentically was.

It meant that I kept people at arm’s length so that I don’t feel any pain when they leave. It meant that I didn’t trust men and therefore rejected mentors who were wanted to help me on my journey. I ran away from successful people who wanted to get closer to me as well. Part of me figured the emotional burden of constantly meeting their expectations is going to be too hard a price to pay.

My father leaving meant that I couldn’t trust anyone to stand by me and had to rely on myself so I struggled to ask for help and when I was in management struggled to delegate. I couldn’t believe that I was good enough for someone to help me. It also meant I had to rely on myself and delegating was the same as asking. I couldn’t use and leverage the power of networks to advance my career because I was protecting myself.

It meant feedback and constructive criticism was a painful process because if people are not happy with me that equals rejection. It meant that even though I acted and it was in my personality to be extroverted, I was always guarded. I overworked to prove myself, I craved approval and sometimes lacked the attention to detail because I needed the feeling of submitting something so I can impress again.

It meant that I couldn’t be honest with people, that if people were in conflict around me, I would be the only one that both parties were speaking to. Meant that I broke people’s trust because I needed to please everyone and therefore could never stand in principle.

It is in this journey of healing that I learned how deeply my childhood wounds have affected my career and often delayed its upward trajectory. I created the Re-imagined workplace program for black women like me who have finally realised that they bring all of themselves to work. The parts that make them competent and successful, and the ones that hold them back.

THE INDIGNITY OF POVERTY – is your inner child okay?

One of the results of centuries of the racial oppression of black people is inherited poverty. Poverty is not only a physical condition, it seeps into one’s psyche and often defines one’s self-worth. Not having the right shoe and clothes because your family can’t afford them, defines the friendships that you can have, which definitely isn’t with the cool kids. The indignity of poverty means the shame of wearing other people’s hand me downs in their presence. 

Sometimes the inadequacy we feel as adults stems from the little girl or boy who couldn’t belong, fit in, because she did not have. Our inability to manage our finances is often rooted in the need to fill the void that was experienced by little us, it is to acquire for her what she couldn’t have. Our inability to reach for and aim towards the job we want is the inner chatter of the inner child who could never have what she wanted.

When we struggle to ask for help like for mentorship, resources and support; when we struggle to delegate, when we are fiercely independent and self-sufficient. It is often, the little girl , the inner child that remembers the indignity of being everyone’s charity case. Our inner child may be be driving our inability to receive from others.

Critical to creating the career that we want, without taking forever and burning ourselves out is asking for help and receiving support. Many black women who have attained success often credit the help of mentors, coaches and advocates. This may require the inner work of healing the inner child wounds so we can be free to receive in the present.

We are often told to be confident as if it is something that can be practiced like a dance. Of course, it can be faked, and that advice is also given to us – fake it until you make it. However true confidence comes from a healed inner child. An inner child who is reconciled to her birthright, her innate worth. That confidence is grounded and unshaken.

The reason for the popularity of the book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman is that people realized that it isn’t enough to have the qualifications and intelligence if you can’t manage your emotions. That the best companies with the most intelligent leaders and best strategies cannot sustain the leadership that lacks emotional intelligence. So it is with building your career, just as it is important to be competent, qualified and effective. It is just as important to be emotionally whole.

Priorities healing your inner child, there is no shame in getting into therapy or coaching to help you. I have often found in my coaching career that once we have shined a light on these issues with a client and they start the path of resolving them; the other technical career strategies are often easier to implement.

Invest in your healing, it might be the lever that will accelerate your career.

Unsuccessful Interview? Get Over It, It’s Not Personal.

It comes with the territory that if one is invited to a job interview, rejection is always a possibility and rejection is not a pleasant emotion to encounter. That said, it doesn’t have to be a crushing experience.

I am reminded of my experiences with unsuccessful interviews. There was one in particular that I felt I met all the requirements of the position and may have even a bit overqualified.  The interview went great, I thought the chemistry was there and I was quite confident that I did well. That was until I didn’t get the job. I was really crushed. It was a real blow to my confidence and made me question whether I was really as good as I thought I was.

After some reflection I realized that I really did not know why I did not get the job. In my experience when I would be the hiring manager during a recruitment process. I have learned that there could be a number of reasons why a candidate is not chosen. Some of them have nothing to do with the competence of the said candidate. I had no reason to internalise a rejection that might have nothing to do with me. I at least did not have enough information to know either way.

Some of the possible reasons for an unsuccessful interview are the following:

·         The job has been advertised to legitimise an appointment of a candidate that has already been selected. The company recruitment policy might prohibit the appointment of a candidate without an interview process.

·         There might have been a candidate that is a better fit for the company culture or the management style of the hiring manager

·         Unfair bias on the candidates because of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

One of the reasons why we may internalize rejection from unsuccessful interviews is the media bias to only reporting on the success and brilliance of Highly successful people and rarely on their failures. Social media has also added to this condition where the trend is to only share stories or experiences of success and never of failures. This might lead to the assumption that those who are successful are perfect and have never experienced any failure.

The book Mistakes I made at work by Jessica Bacal narrates stories of failure and mistakes by very successful women like Cheryl Streyd bestselling author of Wild and Carol Dweck bestselling author of Mindset – The new psychology of success, among others. The book is important because it demonstrates that successful people also make mistakes and experience failure. Mistakes or failures do not have to define us and we, therefore, do not need to internalise them.

Psychology tells us that the subconscious mind, as a means of creating meaning, often codes certain experiences with certain emotions, in order to direct us to pursue or avoid similar experiences in the future. Often this association happens during childhood when we were not old enough to decipher the appropriate meaning of an experience. An incidence of rejection in adulthood, like an unsuccessful interview, may trigger an unresolved childhood wound of rejection. Resulting in a reaction that is out of proportion to the experience.

The ‘Good girl syndrome’, the condition where girls are raised or conditioned to please; may results in the fear of making mistakes and an unrealistic need to be perfect. This may result in the avoidance of situations that present the risk of criticism or rejection. If we allow ourselves to associate interviews with rejection, we might find ourselves avoiding the risk of failure and staying in unfulfilling positions or only applying for positions that we are overqualified for and will therefore pay us less than our skills are worth. 

If you have landed that interview and for some reason, it doesn’t go well, don’t allow one or a couple of interviews to serve as a measure of your competence. Don’t let your unresolved feelings of rejection hold you back from getting the job you deserve. Take a break, shake it off, and get back in there, your dream job may be on the other side of failure.

My journey with The Imposter Syndrome

I suffer from the Imposter syndrome

There I said it! Some call it ‘not good enough, unworthy or inadequacy. It is the feeling that you are a fraudster and someone is going to find out, that the life you are living is not yours. I used to believe that if I worked hard enough on myself. If I did enough inner work, I would get to a place where I am fully confident and feel deserving of all of my achievements. I am slowly realizing that, that may never happen.

Every attempt at achieving every level of success requires a higher level of confidence than one needed before . Every next level of accomplishment requires one to dig deeper than they did before. It is never cute, nor easy, many tears are shed. Often one has to push through feeling uncomfortable and unequal to the task.

When I first landed in that Accounting class at university, the imposter syndrome got so bad that I lost all confidence in my abilities as a student and failed for the first time. As an A student all my life, it was both humbling and confusing to have lost the one thing I knew I was good at. I spent the rest of my university days working to rebuild my confidence in my abilities as a student. I struggled through undergrad. Growing up I dreamed of becoming a Chartered Accountant (CA). I did not even know what CA’s did, I just read that they made a lot of money and wanted to become one. However, the impostor syndrome won and I gave up.

I got my drivers license after 6 failed attempts at 31 years old. I wrestled with the imposter syndrome and only won when one of my many driving school instructor called out my imposter syndrome by it’s name. I realized then that I was battling to see myself as someone who could own and drive her own vehicle . No one in my immediate family had, let alone a woman as young as I was at the time. As a result I would sabotage myself and fail so I can have an excuse for delaying getting a car. I will forever be grateful to that guy for the realization.

When I was studying for my Advanced Diploma in Risk Management at UNISA. I passed all my modules except, Market Risk because it was investment finance and I’d always wanted to be an investment banker. Because I believed it was impossible to have the career that I wanted, I I made everything investment banking related, too difficult for me. I only passed it on my second attempt, when the imposter syndrome let off and I was finally calm enough to understand all those weird numbers in my textbook.

Studying for my MBA was one of the most challenging period of my life. The one trait that I’m grateful for having is that I’m not afraid of starting things. I get so excited about starting that I don’t think things through and only realize the enormity of the challenge when I’m in the middle and already committed. I had the same experience with the MBA, I enjoyed it until I got towards the end. When it dawned on me that I could actually posses a Masters Degree, the imposter syndrome reared its ugly head and pinned me down. I remember crying to my fellow classmate Lesego – bless her heart. She listened patiently, and when I was done. She just said to me, unfortunately there is no other alternative but to just do it. I’m so grateful to her.

We are still at it, Miss Imposter and I. I’m more tolerant of her. I’m even starting to make friends with her. I realize that every stage of my life will require an engagement with her. I don’t feel as bad as I used to about it. I’m starting to understand that she comes with the territory. Every next level requires a different version of me. I might never get to a level where I’m fully confident, fully owning my place in the world and that is okay. I’m grateful that I don’t have to, to be successful. My name is Busisiwe Hlatswayo and I coach black women who like me suffer from the imposter syndrome, get to the next level of success in their careers.

The Dangers of The Mainstream Motivation Culture.

When I started the personal development reading culture, I read books like ‘Think and Grow Rich, ‘The Power of Positive Thinking, ‘How to Influence People, ‘The Secret’, etc. These books created for me role models like Napoleon Hill, Thomas Edison, Dale Carnegie, Stephen Covey, Toni Robinson, etc. I learned in these books that I have the power to change my own life and if I believe and work towards whatever I wanted then I could have it. The influence of these books contributed to the motivation and work ethic that probably allowed me a level of success that I have achieved and I am grateful.

However, these books also wounded my self-esteem.  The – ‘you can achieve all that you want if you put your mind to it, look at Thomas Edison or Dale Carnegie, they built America’ – dream left some important facts out of the conversation. What was left out was the privilege that came with whiteness. The cheap labour built American and American enterprises due to slavery and racial oppression.  It left out the challenges that I would face as a Black woman because of bias and lack of resources. The internalization of failures that I have experienced caused me not to believe in myself enough and not trust that I am working hard enough which was taught by motivation theory. When in reality, those so ‘failures’ were a result of the absence of a privileged background.

This crystallises the fact that the motivation culture and like many other dominant worldviews come from ‘whiteness’ as a universal perspective. The truth is, there are different obstacles to life that one could face because they are black, or female, or even both. Those experiences are not often as identical as they seem. Adopting that worldview leads to us judge our achievements or lack thereof, using a flawed standard. A standard that omits the lived experiences of those who do not have that privilege.

Are you guilty of these 5 mistakes new managers make?

Let’s first get this out of the way. I’m all for making mistakes. Fear of making mistakes is one of the reasons Black women hold themselves back from reaching for senior positions. By all means make mistakes, however, be open to feedback and be willing to learn and work with others. Here are 5 mistakes managers make that negatively impact the work environment and make it harder for a team to reach cohesion.

1. Not Realising the Power you Hold as a Manager.

We all know the cliche that says “people leave managers not companies” which I tend to agree with. It is true that one’s relationship with one direct manager is one of the most important relationships in one’s life. An individual that you see perhaps from 9-5 that makes decisions that directly impact your career has a huge bearing on the mental health of both parties. As a manager, be mindful of your power to impact the mental health of your subordinates. Tread respectfully, people’s lives and families are at stake.

2. Micro-Managing

Switching from a specialist role where your performance was mainly based on your own actions to now performing through others can be a challenge. Letting go of the need to control everything and learning to trust others may take some time but it has to be done. Your subordinates need to know that you trust them and that you think they are competent enough to do the job they were employed to do. They need to be allowed to exercise their competence with your support, not by your overbearing actions. Exceptions are for new employees who need more support while learning the ropes.

3. Inability to Delegate.

Linked to the same reason for micromanagement is the inability to delegate. This could be because you don’t trust others to handle the load or you are just used to working hard and have the need to appear busy to feel valued in your position. What you don’t realize is that while your head is down in the details, you are missing the bigger picture. You are unable to strategically influence your company through your position. The same tactics that got you into management positions are not the ones that will take you to senior leadership.

4. Not Realising The Tone You Set.

Even if you and your team work for the worst company, As a manager you are able to create an environment that somewhat insulates your team to create the best environment for everyone to excel in their position. You can create an environment of collaboration where people feel valued for their contribution and competence or you can do the opposite. Your leadership also sets the tone for the performance standards that are required of your subordinates and how those tasks get done.

5. Being All About The Job.

Your role as a manager is more than just issuing instructions and ensuring performance. Your role is also that of a support system for your subordinates. They need to know that even though the highest level of performance is expected of them and will be firmly enforced; they can always come to you for support to reach those standards. They can let you know when they are not doing well and will be supported.

Be careful that you don’t unintentionally create an environment that is unpleasant for your team.

Your role, in the long run, impact the growth capacity of the members of your team. They are not just there to do the job, they are there to learn and grow and they need to be exposed to opportunities that stretch them. When you don’t align yourself to push, compromise, and delegate work, you are holding yourself and the team back altogether. 

Don’t see eye to eye with your boss? Here’s what you should do.

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

The workplace, just like any place where human beings interact, is complicated by relationships. It is often said that people do not leave jobs they leave their managers. Arguably, the workplace would be easy if people and therefore relationships were not so complicated. Just like the life partner you choose, or the business partner you choose will impact greatly the trajectory of your life and career. Your manager is a key player in your day to day life and therefore your mental health and overall productivity. We wish we could always leave relationships that we don’t like but sometimes that is not immediately possible. Here’s what I suggest you do when you and your boss just don’t have the greatest of relationships.

  1. Are you triggered? Check yourself first.

You are triggered when your response to a situation or a person is greater in proportion to the stimuli. The reason is usually that it triggers something that happened in the past. When you find yourself disliking a person for no reason, they usually remind you of a person in the past that acted similarly. This results in you not just responding to that person, but what that person subconsciously represents. You want to first ascertain whether there is something about them that triggers that you need to deal interpersonally so that it doesn’t trigger you so much anymore.

  1. Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood.

Your boss, like you, is human and therefore is not perfect. Just like you have a right to have stuff that is not so great about you all the time. People behave the way they do because of who they are, where they are from, and where they are. Often when you allow yourself to really see a person and understand why they would act in a way that’s unappealing to you, it becomes easier to tolerate their unappealing behavior and find strategies to navigate them.

  1. Get into their shoes.

There are a lot of things that become clearer to me why the bosses I did not have the greatest relationships with acted the way they did. I had this one black woman boss whom I heard later that she didn’t like me even though I thought we had a great relationship (a story for another day). I later learned that she had just gotten this job, where she was finally going to be at the top of the table. She had plenty of plans and even more insecurities along with a layout to augment her new position. We tried to warn her that the organization was not yet ready for that type of running and she took that as being unsupportive. We were motivated by the knowledge of the organization and not her personal goals. Our resistance to a new way of working was probably partly to the workload that was coming to us like a Tsunami out of nowhere. We just didn’t see each other.

  1. What are their goals?

Your job as a subordinate is to help your leader meet their objectives; to help them win. When you think about how the balanced scorecard is designed, helping your boss meet the objective of her responsibility is your job. When you do that well and they shine, they might not necessarily like you but have to value you. The other stakeholders will even force them to acknowledge you by singing your praises to them. If they are a decent person, they will come around to respecting you.

  1. Except….. if they are a narcissistic bully

Some people do not belong in the general population. They should either choose another career path, work in an office alone or at least be far away from you. They can’t be won over, can’t reason with them, can’t love or understand them. If you are working for a person like that, maybe start looking for a new job. Seek mental help support and keep all records like crazy. I know that the law doesn’t allow people to be recorded without their consent but nothing beats hard evidence if you are in an extreme situation. If you are planning to take them on, don’t do it alone. Get a therapist, coach, mentor, or a trusted friend to support you. Count the cost before you go to war. You may not win and the price for being right may not be worth it.

How seemingly objective policies or criteria can be used to keep black women out of positions of leadership in the workplace

Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

‘What’s Important for a Given Job? Whatever the Male Candidate Has.’ Williams & Dempsey (2014)

A lot of organisation pride themselves on having policies and procedures that are pro gender and race equality. It is often leaders of these companies who content themselves that they have done all that they could to level the playing field. That maybe there are just not enough black women who are capable. What they do not understand is that policies are not enough to ensure that black women are kept out of these positions and that policies can be used to keep black women out of these. The reasons for these gatekeeping activities are sometimes due to unconscious bias and at times intentional to rationalise keeping black women out. This type of bias casuistry, a technical term for what happens when people misapply general rules to justify a specific behavior or use inaccurate reasoning to rationalize their behavior.

The following is an example of a study that was done to illustrate this point:

‘In a control group in which the gender of the applicants was left ambiguous, 48 percent of the study participants ranked education as more important than experience, and 76 percent of participants chose the better-educated candidate over the candidate with more work experience.

But when the gender was made explicit, a striking pattern emerged. When the better-educated candidate was male, this pattern held: 50 percent of participants said education was more important than work experience, and 75 percent chose a better-educated male over a female with more experience.

But when the genders were switched, only 22 percent of participants said they would choose a better-educated candidate over a candidate with more work experience, and only 43 percent of participants chose the better-educated female. Study participants gave less weight to both education and work experience when a woman had them than when a man had them.’

This has led to black women to going to extreme lengths to get their feet in the door such as removing from their resumes any identifying characteristic that would identify them as black. For an example their black sounding names, any references to belonging to societies identified as black, removing some work experiences, etc.  

The danger with Casuistic bias is that people may think they’re using objective criteria to make their decisions when in fact they’re modifying the criteria used for judgment based on unconscious biases. In fact, some studies have shown that evaluators who shifted the criteria they used to make hiring decisions depending on the race or gender of an applicant actually rated themselves as more objective than those whose hiring criteria did not shift. Casuistry provides a disturbing illustration of the lengths people go to convince themselves they’re being objective even when they’re not.

That is the reason why measurement is necessary if a company is serious about increasing the representation of black women leaders in the workplace, have to introduce measurement. From the number of black candidates who are shortlisted to those who eventually get the job, promotion, etc. These metrices should be linked to performance in order to be effective. The other important thing is the posture of leadership when these type of biases are detected. The tone at the top, not only in words but in action, is important.

Why it is so difficult for Black women to make it to leadership positions at work?

This blog post has been adapted from the book ‘What works for women at work by Joan Williams and Rachel Dempsey. They identify 5 patterns of bias against women when compared to men for promotion in the workplace.

Pattern 1: Men Are Judged on Their Potential; Women Are Judged on Their Achievements.

Pattern 2: What’s Important for a Given Job? Whatever the Male Candidate Has.

Pattern 3: Men’s Successes Are Attributed to Skill, While Women’s Are Overlooked or Attributed to Luck. With Mistakes, It’s Just the Opposite.

Pattern 4: Objective Requirements Are Applied Strictly to Women but Leniently to Men.

Pattern 5: Women Are “Gossiping”; Men Are “Talking about Business.”

We will tackle the first one in this article.

Pattern 1: Men Are Judged on Their Potential; Women Are Judged on Their Achievements.

It is harder for a woman to earn more money and get promoted  in a new company than by staying longer with a new employer. Women often found that they had to prove their competence again when they get new jobs. New companies expected them to prove again that they are competent where this is different with men. As a black woman who has changed employers a number of times in here career, I have often found this to be the case. My earnings did not show a straight upward trajectory, they often had to zigzag as I would be required to prove myself again. When men have the qualifications, are able to articulate themselves in the interview they are often given the benefit of the doubt.

Popular wisdom holds that one of the best ways to negotiate a higher salary is to be willing to move to a new company. This is true for men, who the non-profit Catalyst found earned nearly $14,000 more if they were at their second post-MBA job than if they were at their first post-MBA job. No such advantage was found for women. Women who had worked at three or more companies since receiving their MBAs earned an average of $53,472 less than those who stayed at their first post-MBA employer.

When a women and a man are considered for a promotion, it is often easier for a man to be judged on their potential and be given the benefit of the doubt. For women there feeling is often that it is too risky, the woman needs to prove herself.

One consultant sees this pattern every year, when she and her colleagues are deciding whom to promote to partner at her firm. “You see in those discussions where men often are given the benefit of the doubt: ‘This is such a strong senior manager; he’s a great guy; he’s really going to go places,’ ” she said. “And then you get to the discussion of some woman senior manager, and the discussion suddenly turns to, ‘Well, we think she’s talented, but she hasn’t been given an opportunity to prove it yet. Maybe she needs another year.’

Because women seem less natural fits for high-stakes jobs as compared to men, often they are seen as more of a risk for a promotion or an appointment than a comparable man. They are often given an assistant position or the position without the perks while they are proving themselves again.

We spoke with several women who said they were given a promotion but not the title or the increased salary that typically came with the new job. Often their supervisors have them “test out” the new position for months before they feel comfortable making the appointment official — or simply refuse to give them the title at all

Implication on the women’s career:

  1. If a woman is kept off important projects because she hasn’t proven herself yet on an important project, then she’s never going to get the experience on important projects.
  • It’s so prevalent that women may internalize it as a measure of their own competence
  • It impacts on their earnings when they get to new companies and have to earn the same or less while they prove themselves
  • Women required to display a higher confidence than the male equivalent to self-promote in other to counter these biases

One of the ways to confront this, that the authors advises is by asking your immediate superior what you can do to be able to be considered for a similar promotion or opportunity as your male counterpart.