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Never Apologize At Work

15 Oct

If you are a working woman and reading this then you have probably at some point in your career apologized to someone for something. You are sorry the copy machine stopped working or the network went down or  the coffee pot is leaking or  your boss can’t open an attachment you sent him. Am I right? I know that I have apologized for things. And while there are times and places to be sorry (like when you majorly screw something up) you should never be apologizing for the small things that you have no control over.

For example, the other day I was working out with my husband. We work out at Crossfit. That day was a partner WOD (where you have a partner and the two of you complete a long, hard workout together), and I was partners with a young girl who was stronger and faster than me. We did the workout at pretty much the same pace, but I kind of felt the whole time as if I were holding her back. I think it was just my insecurity in thinking that she was better than me, and I let that get to me. At the end of the workout we said good job to each other and then I blurted out an apology. I said, “Sorry if I was a little slow.” When she said no problem and walked away my husband scolded me. He said that I should never, ever apologize to anyone for working hard and doing the best I can. The moment he said this I knew he was right, and then I instantly felt stupid for second-guessing myself and automatically thinking she was better than me.

This experience can easily translate to the work environment. Let’s say you are working on something with a co-worker who is at your level, and maybe it takes you a little longer or maybe you have a harder time understanding the objective or the results. Either way you in some way feel as if you are making a mistake or not doing things good enough, when in reality you are working your hardest and doing the best you can do. In such an instance you should NEVER apologize for being you. Think about it – the only thing apologizing does it make the other person, your co-worker, the one who is supposed to have confidence in you, think you are insecure and incapable of handling the job.

How many times have you ever heard a male at work say they were sorry? Even when men make mistake, big mistakes, they never really apologize. Instead they will say, you were right – not I’m sorry for being wrong. I do think apologizing is somewhat of a woman characteristic. We always feel the need to please and help others, so when we feel as if we aren’t living up to our own expectations we should apologize. While I, as a woman, understand the need to apologize and make things right, doing this at work does nothing but hurt your career and progression.

Have you ever apologized at work and then regretted doing so? Have you ever apologized for someone else’s mistakes? I tend to think that women do this a lot, and if I could give you one piece of advice it would be never to apologize for being you and doing the best you can.

Where Do Women Stand Today? A Look at Equality in the Workplace

3 Feb

Let’s face it, women have come a long way in bridging the gap to inequality in the workforce. In the previous century women found it hard to get an education and land a job traditionally occupied by men. According to a compilation of women in the United States released by The Bureau of Labor Statistics, there have been positive movements towards equality in the workplace. But, as you might have guessed, inequalities are still running ramped.  

As can be expected, the compilation noted that women were more likely to work in the education, financial, or health service sectors, and were less likely to work in construction, transportation, and manufacturing. Women were also less likely to be self-employed in non-agricultural fields than men (women at 5.2% versus men at 7.6%). If you are catching yourself yawning right anout now don’t worry, it gets worse. The compilation suggests that while women work at more than half of all U.S. jobs, women are more likely than men to live in poverty (maybe because they are taking care of the men’s children?). Poverty rates for women are highest among workers aged 18-24, with 17% of young women living in poverty as compared to 12% of young men.

The study also indicates that women are more likely than men to stay home with their children. 54.5% of women with a child under 3 are employed while 86.9% of men with a child under 3 are employed. What happened to all of the Mr. Mom’s out there? Sure, the number of women working with a young child has increased from 49.5% in 1985, but it hasn’t increased enough in my opinion. I am wondering if this is a preference by the women or if employers are unwilling to work with a mother’s schedule.

The worst part of the study has to be the statistics on the wage gap. In 2010, the average weekly income of a white woman was $684, with Black and Hispanic women earning less ($592 & $508 respectively) and Asian women earning more at $773 per week. In 2010, white men earned an average weekly salary of $850, Black men earned $$633, Asian men earned $936, and Hispanic men earned $560. Tell me that those numbers don’t make you mad! What are white men doing differently that they should deserve more money? Women are just as educated than men now-a-days, so I see now reason to have such a large wage gap.

 While there certainly is more equality in the workplace than in previous years, there are still changes that need to be made. I think that it is time for Washington policymakers to enact some legislation that increases the positive changes in the workforce at a faster rate than it is currently occurring. Why settle for good enough when we want great?

I challenge each of you to write to your senators and stress that you want to see a workplace equality bill in place!