How to assert yourself at work
A few key areas exist where women need to really assert themselves. Consider the following:
Asking for a raise
Corley points out how women will assert themselves to get a job, but once they have it, they stop. “If you start a job in your early 20s [and remain until you’re 30] and don’t assert yourself for raises, you’ve undermined your salary earning potential over the long run,” explains Corley.
It makes sense — your subsequent employers will review your past salary history when making an offer. If you’ve made no efforts to increase your salary over the years, new employers will offer less money. So what do you do? Corley offers the following advice.
- Understand what’s holding you back. Analyze your perception of yourself, how other people perceive you and how you relate to your colleagues.
- Decide what is most important to you. People make decisions based on value.
- Cultivate healthy boundaries. “A boundary means, ultimately, I’m in this job to be employed and this is a business. I’m here to help this business make money. That’s the purpose of employment,” explains Corley. Women often turn co-workers into their second family and close friends. “Then, when it comes to making business decisions, i.e., earnings and promotions, those take a back seat,” Corley notes. “A boundary is: ‘I’m drawing the line — these are my friends, but the bottom line is this is still a business. I need to be productive, I need to make money. I’m building a career.’ “
Use the following tips to learn how to say no.
- Value yourself. “People treat you based on how you value yourself,” says Corley. “So saying ‘no’ is actually creating a boundary. We train people how to treat us.” When you’re leaning to say no, you want to be able to have a mindset: If I don’t stand up for me, who will? If I don’t value myself, who will? People treat you based on how you value yourself. “We train people how to treat us. If we don’t like the way we’re being treated, we have to ask ourselves what are we allowing and why?” says Corley.
- Be accountable. Corley also suggests finding a colleague who will hold you accountable. Ask someone you trust to keep you in check.
- Don’t take it personally. “Men tend to get further ahead because they understand that work is for business,” says Corley. The female brain is generally different, so understand your personality type, be clear about what you want and then take the personal component out of it. Just say no!