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3 Obstacles Women Face Advancing Their Career

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 11:04am | by jennaleesmith1

Women have certainly come a long way in the workforce; but, unfortunately, we face many stumbling blocks that men are less likely to encounter. That means it may be more difficult for us to advance our careers in a way we would ideally like. But, challenging does not mean impossible. Here are a few of the common obstacles standing in the way of many women, and how to overcome them.

Working Mom Guilt

As much as society’s viewpoint has changed, there is still a deeply rooted belief that women staying home to raise children is somehow the ‘’ideal’’ scenario. Mothers are at war over all sorts of issues related to child-rearing, and one of the most intense battles is the one between working moms and those who stay-at-home with their children.

While many of us can see there is no one best answer, and it really depends on the individual family, there is clearly some deep need to declare some sort of ‘’winner.’’ Because of our natural roles as nurturers and caregivers, many working moms are made to feel very guilty about the fact they work-- that they are selfish for pursuing a career rather than devoting their lives to their children.

Finding a balance can be very challenging, and if you suffer from working mom guilt, your career may be suffering as well. You may be reluctant to take on more responsibility at your job because of how it may affect your family. That is not a problem, in and of it its self;it is only a problem if you feel like you want to take on these responsibilities and guilt about your family is the main thing holding you back.

Don’t feel guilty about wanting to be more than just a ‘’mom.’’ It is okay to want to fulfill other aspects of yourself. Don’t pay so much attention to other parents and’’ society’’ at large.

Lack of Time for Advancing Education

While fathers are taking a more active role in child rearing than ever before, most women will tell you the domestic duties still fall largely on their shoulders; coming home is often like clocking in for a second shift—there is laundry, homework, dinner, and a host of other chores that need to be done. In many cases, advancing your education is a spring board for advancing your career,. Between work and family responsibilities, finding time to go back to school, even online, can seem like an impossible task.

But, where there is a will, there is a way; it may involve making uncomfortable decisions, like not saying ‘’yes’’ to every request to help at your child’s school, only going to three sporting events a week, rather than every single one for every single kid, giving up the idea you must prepare a three-course meal every night, or the house must be cleaned top-to-bottom every three days. You may need to talk with your spouse about  contributing more, and outlining specific, concrete ways he can do this. Just saying you need ‘’more help,’’ is not good enough.

The internet is your friend when it comes to advancing your career through education. Whether you are preparing for an interview or getting ready to apply for grad school, organizations like Kaplan are no longer the only choice to prepare yourself. For example; if you are going back for your master’s degree, practicing for your GRE can be as simple as going to barrontestprep.com and checking your skills against some of their practice questions.

Sit down, and figure out how to make it work; I assure you there is way; it may not be easy, but it can be done. Make a commitment to your success.

Worrying about Appearing ‘’Unfeminine’’

Unfortunately, we have very entrenched ideas of what it means to be ‘’masculine’’ and ‘’feminine’’ and the same action or way of behaving can be interpreted very differently depending on whether it is a man or woman exhibiting said action or behavior. What is seen as ‘’assertiveness’’ by men can come off as ‘’bitchy’’ or ‘’pushy’’ when a woman does it. In trying not to offend, women often shrink back for fear of being perceived in a negative light, and all the while, the men are moving right along with no problems. If there is one thing I have learned in life, it is people are always going to find something to criticize and judge, and not everyone is always going to like you. So, while you want to be mindful about your behavior, don’t be afraid to step things up simply because of how other people may perceive you.

 

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