Females shouldn’t always be expected to be demure wallflowers at the workplace.
In many cases it seems that females are not encouraged to compete in the workplace. In fact it feels more like we are outright discouraged from competing for positions. In this article I will describe how I became career-competitive and how you can too!
As I shared before there were two catalysts that made my decision to focus on my career. One of them is my competitive nature. Yes, you heard me. I like to compete. I disagree with the idea that you should not compare yourself to others at work. Allow me to elaborate.
What drove me.
In college, there was a male engineering student that I did not care for. We just rubbed each other the wrong way. I’m sure you have met people like that as well. After college, he went his way and I went mine. A few years later, he took a job with the company I worked for. He was as shocked to see me as I was to see him. We found a way to work together and be respectful. After all, we had the same experience level so we were paired on projects often.
We were at different phases in our personal life though. He was still unmarried, while I was married with children. Therefore during this time, I was not leaning in. I did my job to the best of my ability during a forty hour work week, but I never took any stretch projects or worked any overtime.
When he got his first big promotion, it shocked me. After all, I knew (and he admitted) that I was the better engineer. It really did make me angry. Here was a colleague that did not have my technical skill, but was made a supervisor. I did an immediate comparison and soon I realized that he was winning the game. Someone I didn’t like was beating me in the career game. That was unacceptable to me.
How I won!
I decided then and there that I was not going to allow him to win out. I was going to get a promotion too. Then, I would get another and another until I had a higher position than him.
I leaned in hard. I took the projects that had visibility. I went above and beyond and I worked tons of quality overtime. I did whatever it took for me to get recognized as a high potential employee and subsequently I ensured that I got a promotion.
I did all of this because I’m competitive. To this day, even though we are at different companies we still let each other know where we are and what we are doing through a mutual friend. It has driven us both farther than we might have gotten otherwise.
So, be competitive! It is okay for women to be driven based on a desire not to let someone else beat them up the ladder. After all, women are competitive too. I recently was able to score another win against my ‘rival’ on the career ladder and you can too!
I’d love to know what you think! Are you ‘career-competitive’ too? Feel free to leave us a comment in the section below.