Stop holding back your career – 3 ways to get out of a career-rut

Flat young woman and man helping and growing together. Concept businessman and businesswoman characters relationship, extending a helping hand to colleague. Vector illustration.Article by Melitta Campbell, Author and Business Coach

The Sex and Power 2022 Index by the Fawcett Society reveals that less than a third of the UK’s top jobs are filled by women.

Some sectors have shown solid progress towards more equal representation in the Index, but others, like sport, show a progressive decline in the number of female sport governing body chairs (15% in 2022, from 20% in 2020) and CEOs (19% in 2022, from 21% in 2020). 

When it comes to our career success and the future, as women it’s often tempting to put your head down, work hard and hope that someone, somewhere will notice your brilliance, and hoist you up to the next rung on the ladder. 

In reality this rarely happens. The good news is though we have more control over our future than we might realise. And whilst not every woman is going to become a CEO, having career aspirations and reaching for your potential should be on every woman’s agenda.

Typically, there are three classic ways women are holding back their careers, and looking at how these can be fixed is a great start to overcome a career rut:

Women don’t ask

Many women find it awkward to ask for help. But it’s essential, as no one succeeds alone. There are lots of things you can ask for, such as additional training or coaching, a new team member, a mentor, a pay rise, guidance from your boss and introductions to other people that could help you make your next career move.

Start with something small to build your confidence, and then just keep asking from there! Key things to keep in mind are only to ask for what you really want and be prepared to justify your request by showing exactly how your team and the company will benefit if you get this.

Do this and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how much help is available to you. Building your network will also help give you a tribe of people you can turn to for help in a variety of situations. 

Striving for perfection

Decades of being underestimated and overlooked has pushed many women to aim for perfection or do more than is required. But since perfection doesn’t exist, this is a recipe for stress, frustration and burn out.

Before you go all out on your next task, ask yourself what is really required. Use a ‘Gold, Silver, Bronze’ ranking system where your Gold tasks need to be close to perfection, your Silver tasks done well, and your bronze tasks just need to get done. Then allocate the appropriate time and effort to each one.

Also, look for all those tasks that don’t need to be done by you, or don’t need to be done at all.  

Not putting your own oxygen mask on first

Have you ever put someone else’s priorities above your own, and ending up having to work late to get your own work done? I think we’ve all been there. But it’s important to focus on your own priorities first, and then help others later. This isn’t being selfish; it’s being self-full.

It’s also important that we teach people how to treat us. When you help others, but on your own terms, it builds respect and you’ll soon start to see people only coming to you when they really need your help, not just using you as the easy option. 

When you ask for the help and support you need, put just the right amount of effort into work, and focus on your own priorities first, you’ll quickly start to see your results improve, whilst also gaining more time for other career-building activities, like networking, personal development and self-care. 

So challenge yourself to start thinking a little differently about how you approach your work, and start enjoying the benefits and see yourself moving up the career ladder.

About the author

Melitta CampbellMelitta Campbell is an award-winning business coach and best-selling author of A Shy Girl’s Guide to Networking. For more than 25 years, she has been helping businesses to grow through aligned and authentic marketing and meaningful communication. Today, she helps coaches and consultants simplify their marketing, so they can have a bigger impact on the world. Melitta is also a TEDx Speaker Coach and host of the Driven Female Entrepreneur podcast.

Related Posts

Comment on this

X