I have a confession to make.
I don’t always stick up for myself.
It’s not that I’m shy – anyone who has met me would attest to that. It’s not that I’m easy to bully – there’s no way I will put up with that. It’s just, well, I don’t know.
If I get bad customer service, unless it is truly egregious, I won’t say anything – I just won’t come back. Even though it is the first thing I advise job seekers, I was really anxious when I recently reached out to my network for my job search. And if my feelings get hurt by a friend? Well, if I know they didn’t mean it, I’m more likely to never say anything than to confront them on it.
I guess you could say that I am not a good advocate for myself.
Yet, I seem to have no problem being an advocate for others. Give me a person, company, or cause to get behind and I have no problem speaking up. A friend is looking for work? I will dig through my network to find them the right connections. My boss asks me to speak to managers about an unpopular policy change? Bring it on, I know what needs to be said. And so on.
And I know I’m not alone in this.
How many of you find yourself doing the same thing when you end up putting the needs of your kids, friends, job, whatever, before your own? Sometimes it feels like advocating for yourself is selfish when in fact it’s only natural – and necessary.
Now, we all know that women on average still earn less than men. I know, I know, a lot of stuff goes into that statistic. But it would be hard to argue that part of the discrepancy is not due to the simple fact that when it comes to pay, women aren’t good advocates for their own worth. In fact, women who work for other women tend to earn less than if they worked for a man. That is a sad statistic. If you are a manager, and you can’t even be a good advocate for your team, how good of an advocate are you for your company or even yourself? We are all worth so much more and deserve so much better.
So here I am, giving you permission to stand up for yourself. If you won’t, no one else will. And at the same time, I’m going to make sure I take my own advice too.
Photo credit iStockPhoto
HR Introvert – Great points! You can’t depend on others to move your career forward for you. Thanks!
Something I’ve seen in lots of HR folks is a belief that their work speaks for itself. Sometimes, however, it can’t be heard over the noise of others.
The same reason you step in for others is why you need to do the same for you. Because you deserve the best support available. And if you aren’t your biggest supporter at work, who do you expect will be? Team leaders come and go, but you are the one consistent person involved in your entire career.