Skepchick recently posted an article entitled “It Is Completely Unsurprising That Women Avoid Promotions at Work”. Long story short, a Harvard research team released the results of a study that concluded “Compared to men, women view professional advancement as equally attainable, but less desirable.”
In my career, I was promoted to a lead position, and unceremoniously released from said position. Here are a few of the things I learned.
- Being a lead is a lot more work, but not necessarily a lot more rewarding. I was very excited when I was promoted a lead at my job. I was being recognized for being good at what I do. The excitement quickly wore off as I was drowned in mundane management tasks.
- As an engineer, going into management early isn’t necessarily a good thing. I was promoted to a lead a year and a half after college. I ended up having to deal with resentment as the people under me had time to do engineering work and learn more technical skills. It was during this time that I realized how much I liked the work of engineering, and I wasn’t completely in it for the money.
- Men can and will interrupt you all the time. It was really difficult for me in client meetings, because everything I said had to be backed up by my older, male counterpart. I don’t know how much of this had to do with my experience level or with my gender. My guess is both. I have since learned to be louder, repeat myself, and claim my ideas if someone else repeats them.
- Again, men will interrupt you often. The engineers I managed were all men, and had little sense of my time constraints. I had to set up “office hours” so that I wasn’t interrupted every 15 minutes.
- Not being a lead was way better for my health. I am happier now that I only work 40 hours with overtime occasionally instead of all the time. Setting boundaries is much easier now.
- I get comments on my voice and appearance all the time. This has nothing to do with being a lead and everything to do with being in a profession dominated by men. Once I was told I sounded like someone’s granddaughter on the phone. Another time, an electrician declared me a “certified hottie.” The same person also said to me, “Not only are you pretty, but you are smart, too.”
- I am lucky to have a supportive partner that splits household tasks with me. He is capable of caring for himself as he has done so for the last 10-15 years of his life. We try to split cooking responsibilities evenly, but he ends up cooking 75% of the time. To be fair, I usually do all the laundry, but that’s because I have complicated sorting, detergent, and temperature rules.
Is it worth it to go into management? In my opinion, it isn’t.
Also, Men’s Rights Activists can take a flying leap.