Did you land your dream job but leave the office every day feeling unchallenged and unhappy?
One entrepreneur believes you may have committed a mistake she says countless ladies make when choosing their career – and it will surprise you.
Reshma Saujani, founder of tech organisation, Girls Who Code, said in TED Talk that many women plump for a career that they know they’re going to be great in – and, ironically, that’s where they’re going wrong.
Experts say that selecting a job you know you’ll be good at is actually the worst decision you can make when choosing a career
She said: ‘So many women I talk to tell me that they gravitate towards careers and professions that they know they’re going to be great in, that they know they’re going to be perfect in, and it’s no wonder why.
‘Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure. We’re taught to smile pretty, play it safe, get all A’s.’
Angela Middleton, CEO and Founder of MiddletonMurray, agrees with Reshma, saying that it’s a ‘sad truth’ that many women choose careers they know they will be good at, rather than those which challenge them, because it gives stability and makes them feel safe.
‘As children, girls are often praised for being pretty, quiet, for cooking and playing with dolls,’ she said. ‘Boys on the other hand are praised for playing more aggressive games, for winning, running about and being active.
Angela Middleton, CEO and Founder of MiddletonMurray, said: ‘It’s a sad truth that many women choose careers they know they will be good at, rather than those which challenge them, because it gives stability and makes us feel safe’
‘Traditionally, the language that is used about children can create a model for subsequent behaviour and it’s very easy to let these models stick into adulthood and into the office unless we consciously work to change them.’
Therefore, throughout education, higher education and in the workplace, women are very often less aggressive, and tend to gravitate towards careers that are less challenging because the fear of failure is removed and the need for aggression and assertion is lessened, leaving them unfulfilled and unhappy.
Empowerment coach, Jodie Rogers, also concurs. She said: ‘This speech is spot on. Many women I’ve coached tend to ask themselves: “What can I do now,?” not “what could I potentially excel at?” Several self-limiting beliefs come off the back of that.
The experts say that it’s an unfortunate hangover from traditional family behaviour as well as society in general. ‘Women often feel as if they’ve got to be ready to stretch before they actually stretch,’ said one
‘Women so often think about current capability rather than stretch. They think about reality not potential, and it would be far more favourable to their career progression if they were to dare to think about desire. It’s an unfortunate hangover from traditional family behaviour as well as society in general. Women often feel as if they’ve got to be ready to stretch before they actually stretch!.’
She argues that the implications are that women also negotiate less and if they do get to the boardroom, they’re more inclined to allow impostor syndrome.
‘They don’t want to get it wrong. A great effort is often to get there and then they stay silent.’