Today I’m sharing the stories of five women who needed to get a grip on their careers to restore their confidence, make a positive impact and get the recognition they deserve.
Being overlooked for promotion
Karen is a business analyst with several years experience. Karen was feeling really frustrated at the lack of career progress. She was working hard but somehow kept being overlooked for promotion.
She was struggling to get heard and make a positive impact. She started to to realise she was working on projects that the business didn’t value but she didn’t know how to change this.
My recommendations for Karen
For Karen it is important that she recognises and appreciates her skills and strengths. Very often we don’t value the things we’re really good at, because it’s stuff that we find really easy. If it’s that easy, how can it be valuable?
The whole point is to find the work that you DO find really easy. Appreciate it, value it, focus on it and your value will rise.
My advice to Karen was to explore how to get heard so that she makes a positive impact and gets the promotion she deserves. This is about raising your awareness of how you tend to behave and communicate and how that is perceived. It’s not enough to work hard, you need to confidently express your ambitions too.
Working in a toxic environment
Meet Tanya. She’s a service delivery manager in a law firm. She started out as a legal secretary in the Commercial Property team and then joined the IT Help Desk. From that initial position in IT, she worked her way up.
The thing is, Tanya changed firms a few months ago and she’s now working in a toxic environment. Her director is a bit of a bully and her immediate manager struggles to manage the situation.
She wants to leave but her confidence has taken a knock (not surprisingly) and she’s just not sure where or how to start looking.
She’s not even sure she’s in the right career.
My recommendations for Tanya
For Tanya it’s important to explore what work brings her joy. We worked together to get clarity on strengths, skills and experience, as well as her achievements to date.
If you’re not sure you’re in the right career, but you’re working in a toxic environment, remind yourself why you started in that career in the first place. If you fell into it, maybe it is the wrong career but it could be the right career and it’s simply that you’re working for the wrong employer.
Tanya needs to get clear on her strengths, identify her career goals and put in place a realistic action plan to get the success she deserves so she can leave with head held high.
Bored and frustrated at work
Are you a bit like Louise? She’s a project manager who joined her consulting company straight out of university where she studied International Relations and French.
Today at work Louise woke up with a jolt. She’d nodded off in a meeting. Luckily nobody spotted it … at least she hopes so.
She felt awful about it because she really prides herself on professionalism and integrity.
However it was a wake-up call – she realises that she’s fed up at work. She’s fed up being undervalued and overlooked. She keeps being assigned boring mundane projects and she doesn’t feel she’s making a valuable contribution. It’s time she did something about it.
My recommendations for Louise
Get clear on whether you’re fed up because you’re doing dull and boring work or whether you’re in the wrong career.
As with Karen and Tanya, for Louise I helped her get clear on her skills and values. Sometimes you are so bogged down in the day to day ‘busyness’ that it’s hard to recognise your own talents. That’s when it can be helpful to be get objective feedback from others if you’re struggling to identify your skills.
The next thing for Louise was to smarten up her LinkedIn profile so that she could start looking for a new opportunity that would challenge her and allow her to develop new skills.
Worried you’re going to get found out?
On the outside, Sarah seems calm and composed. She started out as a product manager in a charity, then moved across into corporate. Over time she’s acquired new skills and now her job title is Agile Coach. She looks like she knows what she’s doing. She gets promotions. She gets recommendations. She gets invited to work on meaty projects.
But Sarah’s constantly wondering when she’s going to get found out. She’s sure she only got the job because she was in the right place at the right time. She’s always worrying “Did I do the right thing?” or “I don’t think I’ve got enough experience”.
Every time her boss asks for a meeting, she thinks “Oh no, what have I done wrong”.
My recommendations for Sarah
Sarah is suffering from imposter syndrome. Her inner critic is talking too loudly and she’s lacking in self-belief.
If that’s you too, here’s what I recommend:
- Write down all your achievements from the last 12 months.
- Tell yourself that your success happens because of you, not despite you.
- Be aware that your inner critic is simply trying to protect you. The problem is, often she’s relying on evidence from 5, 10 or even 20 years ago.
Read more about how to stop your inner critic wrecking your career here.
Stressed and overwhelmed
Kate is feeling stressed and overwhelmed. After taking a degree at Kingston University in Business Information Technology, she started out as a developer. Now she’s a Salesforce consultant in a large organisation that actively supports flexible working.
But despite having a four day work week, her work-life balance is all over the place and she just doesn’t know how to sort it out.
She feels guilty when she’s at work because she’s not with her children. She feels guilty on her days off because she’s not at work.
She overcompensates by working long days and catching up on emails in the evening.
My recommendations for Kate
Get clear on your work / family boundaries. Whether you are at work or at home, be fully present to the people you are with.
Start saying ‘No’ more often so that you stop taking work home and stop overcompensating and working yourself to burnout.
Focus on your own wellness and self-care because when you look after yourself, everything you do works for you.
My recommendation for you
If any of these stories about being overlooked for promotion, losing confidence from working in a toxic environment, feeling bored and frustrated, or stressed and overwhelmed, or your head full of negative talk from your inner critic, you’ll LOVE my Career Confidence workshop.
The next one is Saturday 8 June.
This your time to free up head space, get clear on what you want, identify your skills and values, and create a realistic action plan so that you have the confidence and control to get the career success you want.
p.s. Early bird pricing closes Friday 10 May.
* names changed for confidentiality reasons