4 Surprising Ways Women Unconsciously Sabotage Their Careers

You’re doing everything right! You’re working hard, going the extra mile and getting things done when no one else can. You believe you’re now ready for a promotion. To your dismay, during your annual review you learn not only are you NOT getting the promotion, you’re not even getting your due praise for the work you’ve been doing.

What the fudge?

This sends you into a tizzy and now you are bashing everyone at your company, hate your boss, convinced “the man” is out to sabotage your career. You’ve also become unpleasant to be around because all you do is complain about what you haven’t gotten, what you deserve and start sounding like Viserys–Khaleesi’s brother on Game of Thrones. Well, you know what ended up happening to him, right?

Let’s take a look at where you might be going wrong in your quest for career advancement, without knowing it.

Staying late
There is this myth that staying late regularly is how you get ahead and show you’re a hard worker. Majority of the time, I guarantee no one is expecting you to stay late, notices or even cares.

Regularly working late is not a badge of honor, and there are many articles and studies showing that working after hours leads to you not being very productive, becoming unhealthy and burning out. Plus, you are now setting up the expectation that you have no problem staying late.

Instead of assuming you have to stay, be crystal clear and ask if you are needed, but only if you are really willing to stay. Otherwise, close up shop, get out and recharge, and tackle work during regular work hours. That’s what you’re getting paid for.

Waiting for the offer
Another misconception is that it’s the job of your boss to give you a promotion. Why? Because you are doing such a stellar job?

I am all for praise when people do stellar work, but I don’t believe it’s your boss’s job to look out for YOUR career. That’s your job.

If you’ve been waiting for months or years for that promotion or raise, it’s time to stop waiting for them to notice your hard work. Set up a meeting with your boss to let them know exactly what you want, and ask what needs to happen in order for you to get it. It’s the only way to make sure you and your boss are on the same page.

Being humble
According to Merriam-Webster.com, humble means not thinking, saying or showing you believe you are better than other people. It feels like this definition has been distorted to mean you should smother your gifts and talents and never take pride in anything you do.

This is all wrong.

Just because you are proud of your achievements, are the best at what you do, or come up with a genius idea does not necessarily mean you think you are better than others. And, honestly, so what if you are?

I’m just so over women not speaking up and taking ownership in the amazing things we know and can do. Stop being “humble” and celebrate your accomplishments, talents and skills. Realize you’ll have to prove your expertise and leadership in order to move up the corporate ladder, and that includes making your boss aware of your achievements so they recognize your contributions.

Playing the martyr
As women, our number one concern is being liked. It is deeply embedded into our DNA, and it harms us and sabotages our careers. And you may be wondering what is wrong with being liked? It’s because it usually leads to you becoming a resentful doormat.  

When you continually bend over backwards to help others, it’s not always reciprocated and then you start to feel resentful because, as one of my client said, “no one is bowing down and kissing my feet and telling me how wonderful I am.”

Your martyrdom goes unworshipped and you get irritated with your colleagues, when you really need to get angry with yourself because you created this. They don’t know what you sacrificed to come to their aide.

It’s time to retrain everyone, including yourself, and start slowly setting boundaries and saying no to incessant request that are not helping you meet your deadlines and accomplish your career goals.

Start setting setting boundaries of what you will and will no longer do so you can focus on creating your best work, and begin taking pride in showcasing your achievements. Moving up the corporate ladder is more than rocking your skills and talents. You have to get noticed by asking for what you want, and then being persistent in getting it.

Ask for what you want.