As part of Women’s History Month, I want to celebrate the progress we’ve made, while acknowledging we have not achieved equity yet. This month, I’m sharing stories of the challenges women face in the workplace. Go back and read Challenge #1 and Challenge #2.


Women’s Workplace Challenges: Challenge #3: Unwritten Rules

As a child and young adult, I loved school. And I was good at it. So naturally, when I entered the work world (for which I’d been studying and preparing for roughly 20 years), I assumed that it would be a similar path to success.

Wow was I wrong!

The behaviors that are valued in school like doing the work, knowing all the facts, and getting the right answer are not the behaviors that are valued in our modern workplace. In fact, some of the many skills you need to be successful include prioritizing work (aka not doing all of it), delegating, knowing who to contact to find out more information, and being open to the fact that there are lots of right answers and that the current direction you’re heading can change overnight. 

I wish I had known this sooner in my career. It would have saved me lots of time and challenges! 

When you’re successful in school, you make the assumption that you need to keep leveraging the same skillset to stay successful. And that’s simply not the case.

I talk with lots of clients who lament the fact that they work really hard and it seems like no one notices. Or that they stayed up late making sure they knew everything about the topic they were presenting on, only to have no one ask a question or need to dive deeper. 

If this sounds like you, I want to share that the rules are NOT the same. One of the most important things you can do in any organization is to find out what the unwritten rules are because they’re different from school and from the last place you worked.

If you want to be part of the solution, make sure you’re setting clear expectations with your team on what behaviors are needed to be promoted.


Image by me.

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