Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
Post-election all eyes are on the glass ceiling.
Many were expecting to see Hillary Clinton head to the Oval Office. But you don’t have to seek the most powerful job on the planet to shatter the glass ceiling. There’s plenty of shattering to do in everyone’s world, whether you’re a woman, a man, a Baby Boomer or a Millennial.
That’s why my subject today is:
What is your glass ceiling and how do you plan to shatter it?
To walk you through the process, I offer up the model of one of my clients Lauren, (not her real name.)
Lauren had raised her children and was ready to use both her work experience and her academic credentials to snag a leadership job in a top biotechnology company. She had a solid foundation — 10 years of work experience — before bringing up babies.
Lauren’s goal was to identify the companies she wanted to work in, then seek out colleagues who worked there and try to find personal introductions in. A smart strategy but WAIT. As I worked with Lauren and asked her about her past work experiences I found out she had witnessed some ugly sexual harassment and unethical behaviors in the workplace. She was understandably very angry about these situations.
Lauren’s experiences are not unique. Many of us experience ugly things in the workplace. The problem is not that bad things happen. The problem is that if we HOLD the negative emotions associated with them, they WILL seep into the job search and the interview process.
In a sense, the anger and resentments we hold become our own personal glass ceiling!
With Lauren, we re-visited each one of her negative experiences and had her process them. Next, we discussed her positive takeaways, and the key contributions she made in her role at each company.
In Lauren’s case, once she dealt with the negativity from the past she could break through and succeed in her job search.
Not all glass ceilings are external. Do you have any internal glass ceilings you need to break through?