The year 2020 was a challenging, if not a down right sucky year for most everyone. I would venture a guess that it’s been especially hard on professional women with children during the Covid-19 pandemic when everyone was sent home to work remotely.
Being a professional woman in Corporate America is tough enough, but now it’s coupled with having to juggle “in house” childcare, remote classwork, and household responsibilities flowing (and sometimes spewing) into and onto the keyboard, papers, planners, and ledgers; you get the idea.
We are now starting to see research and media coverage start sprinkling in repeating the sentiment that men are being promoted three times more than women during this Covid-19 pandemic. How women are starting to rethink their careers and the possibility of taking a step back in their professional roles in order to balance the home front challenges. But through all this coverage and studies, I’m not seeing any tangible solutions being offered to aid women or offer relief.
There is hope
Don’t let this doom and gloom make you lose hope or feel that you can’t have it all professionally and personally. There’s still a balance that can be obtained that requires creativity, determination, and a glass or two of wine. Let me see if I can offer up that hope and start with a few tangible solutions to the situation.
1) Embrace your empowerment
First, I want you to start by fully embracing your empowerment. Regardless of position, level, or title, YOU are the CEO over your own career. With your talents, education and background, passion, diplomacy, and influential communication skills, you can transform your career into anything you want. You are in the driver’s seat. Even if you hit a skid bump along the way and get laid off during this pandemic (and I was TWICE), you have the power to dust yourself off, get back up on your own two feet, and reinvent yourself to keep propelling your career in the direction you desire. It’s all inside you dying to be discovered, nurtured, and brought out of you. You truly are a rockin’ leader!
2) Empower your environment
Now for the slightly painful one…Modifying your environment in order to manage the chaos and keep moving yourself where you want in your career. This is where I’m needing to be a little general since I don’t know your specific situation – what will absolutely work to give you that leap forward you need (i.e. kick in the butt), just a slight accountability nudge to stop a bad habit or time waster, or the need to reconsider the living arrangement you find yourself in that’s sucking not only the life out of you but your potential as well. Regardless, take a step back and seriously assess your surroundings. What’s working for you and what’s not? What “coming to Jesus” conversations do you need to hold to get the help you need – either from a significant other or a willing extended family member. Don’t be too proud to ask for help and delegate. Yes, you can also delegate in your personal life.
Finding helpful and creative ways to manage or improve your surroundings to better serve you and balance life more can keep you on track and provide a sense of peace mentally and emotionally for you. Breathe life back into your spirit and maybe even your family life as well.
3) Strategically market yourself
We’ve shifted your mindset and cinched up the home front, now lets go into your office and tweak what you may be doing or not doing there. Oftentimes women have a hard time getting and being visible at the workplace. Much like you have to do if starting a business or doing a charity drive, you need to market it or get the word out. It’s no different with your career. You need to market yourself.
Nothing is more powerful like relationship cement than rapport. You become visible, top-of-mind, and eventually appreciated, thought of first, and maybe even depended upon when continuously building rapport with those around you; and your boss specifically. You can do this as simply as holding 1-on-1 weekly meetings if you don’t already to stay in front of him/her and the important work/projects that you’re doing. I know it can be challenging or feel “icky” for us, but you really do need to sell yourself professionally and subtly in an effort for “the powers that be” to see your worth and the value you bring to the job.
For example, lets say there’s a project you really want that your boss is deciding who should lead it. This is a prime opportunity to show how YOU are perfect for the job in your 1-on1s. Lay the groundwork to warm him/her up to the idea and come to agree with you that you are the only viable candidate for this project. The more face time or rapport you have with your boss, the better your position will be to influence various decisions.
Need help getting there?
Some of this may seem general, and it is, simply because it’s too hard to delve deep into application of solutions when I don’t know your specific situation, surrounding environment, and the hurdles facing you in order to offer real world (for you) practice and change of habits to get you achieving the balance you need for your unique lifestyle. But hopefully, I’ve given you a start, a sigh of relief to know there are strategies and conversations to try and get you back to some balance, even if it’s initially slow at the start.
The research – if you need something to read to fall asleep tonight…