Workaholic Tuesdays: 5 Don'ts for women who want to break the glass ceiling

Tuesday, 3 June 2014 - 8:13pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Uma Ganesh, CEO of Global Talent Track and advisor with the recently launched Indian Women's Network (IWN), tells Pooja Bhula about five things women shouldn't do if they want to make it to the top
  • Shashank Sane

Don't be a romantic
Women are brought up in a way that they tend have very romantic notions about marriage, honeymoon, and other events of life; it's not uncommon for many to want a three-month or six-month leave for such occassions. But to make it to the top, you have to ensure that your career is your focus and everything else revolves around it. Many also have very romantic notions about work, but no job is ideal. You have to make it romantic and you have to make it dynamic.

Don't be a martyr
It's true that women have to manage many relationships and responsibilities in office and at home. And as a result often feel guilty about missing things like their child's best friend's party, meeting certain expectations of the in-laws or husband. This guilt makes many many women want to give up and stay at home; while there's nothing wrong with choosing family over career if that's what makes you happy, you shouldn't quit and be a martyr if you love your work. Instead, you should realise that you can't do everything by yourself and allow your friends and family to share your responsibilities and also the joy of your success. You need to create awareness that not only you, but everyone in the family has a role to play in the success of every person in the house.

Don't be Miss Popular
Typically women are expected to be friendly, nice, pleasant and polite, while these are good qualities to have, when required it is also important to be firm, take a stand and hold your own even if someone tries to drive you up the wall. You have to learn to say no. Instead, in order to avoid conflicts many women sometimes opt for softer roles, where they don't have to roll up their sleeves. In reality there's nothing like a soft role. Your work will become what you make it. For top positions, organisations require people who have an understanding of and the ability to handle all kinds of roles.

Don't do forced networking
A lot of women think that if they are doing their job right and their boss is happy with their work they don't need to do the extra work of going out and networking with friends, family and colleagues. If networking, especially the cliche or traditional way is not for you, you shouldn't force yourself into it. But some amount of networking is important, but you don't have to force yourself into it. You need not stay back till late and go for parties, but you can be very creative and find a way to enjoy the process. Use social media, go for conferences, meet people up for activities of common interest... I often go on trips or picnics and although I don't like drinking, I enjoy parties, so I attend them too. A friend draws people to her through her cooking, she always gets yummy food and people flock to her. How you build relations with individuals will also depend on the other person(s).

Don't be a reluctant sanyasi/philosopher
Around 30-40 years of age, when a lot of women don't succeed in breaking the glass ceiling, they tend to make excuses, "The company won't give me that promotion anyway, why don't I take a break for my son/daughter's board exams". Some even take up social work just to keep themselves busy and look into it once in 15 days or something of the sort. But the first seven or eight years of your career are very important; whether you want to reach the top or want to opt for a second career after a break, you have to make a clear plan, develop new skills sets and make visible your leadership qualities, passion and proactiveness. You have to keep up the fighting spirit and grab opportunities when you get them.

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