My Big Career Mistake

I expected my hard work to be recognised and it wasn't

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Pexel - Ary Shutter

I made a big mistake at one point in my career, I sat back and relied on my boss to notice all the great work I was doing for him. I was waiting for him to recognise me and give me a promotion. I basically made his life easy by dealing with any issues so they never landed on his desk. The problem was, he didn’t even know I was doing this. I rarely told him about it, which meant I wasn’t recognised for all my hard work.

Women just get on with the job at hand and don’t tell our superiors about it. We expect that our good performance is noticed and we’ll get paid what we’re worth however, it’s a terrible strategy for our careers. If you’re not being recognised on an ongoing basis for the work you’re doing, then you can forget about a promotion or a decent pay rise. This was my mistake, I expected a promotion to come, but it didn’t. I didn’t share my achievements and build my case, I was too reliant on others to do that for me, so I missed out.

This is a common problem for women in the corporate world. It even has a name, I was suffering from the “Tiara Syndrome”. The name was coined by negotiation expert, Carol Frohlinger, who says “Women expect that if they keep doing their job well someone will notice them and place a tiara on their head. That never happens.” Women wait for recognition, but they shouldn’t, they should speak up.

Don’t be afraid to tell people you’ve done a great job at something. Tell your boss verbally, send out an email to key people or do a public post on your intranet. Get the word out there. Women need to have the awareness and confidence to tell others about their achievements if they want to be recognised. Don’t get in the way of your own success, climb over your mental barrier of self-promotion feeling like you’re full of yourself. It’s not ‘bragging’, it’s sharing your achievements.

Women have an even tougher time in the workplace than men. According to Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In, men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted on past accomplishments. Being recognised for your work is even more critical for women. It’s important to promote not just your past successes, but your future potential so you can try to level the playing field with the men. Paint a picture of what you want to be doing in the future, help others see your potential.

Good performance doesn’t naturally lead to rewards. Women need to take more responsibility for their career success. It’s time to take off your tiara and start communicating your worth and potential.


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