You might have been a Snow-White or a Cinderella fan in your youth. Growing up, you thought the right strategy to get noticed and rewarded would have been keeping your head down, delivering excellent work and hoping that the right people will notice and place a tiara on your head. Unfortunately, this happens only in a fairy tale.
If you are still thinking this way, wake up! You might be suffering from the “Tiara Syndrome“, a term originally developed by Carol Frohlinger and Deborah Kolb and then used by Sheryl Sandberg in her book “Lean in“. It’s naive to think that delivering excellent results are all that it takes to succeed in the workplace. The playing field is not yet equal for women; the fact is that women have to negotiate for things their male colleagues can often take for granted. Women are also more reluctant to apply for promotions even when deserved, often believing that good job performance will naturally lead to rewards.
Many women feel that working hard and doing a good job will be enough – say Carol Frohlinger and Deborah Kolb. – In fact, women are often extremely conscientious at delivering against their objectives. Just as at school where girls’ conscientiousness often leads to higher academic results than achieved by boys, many women believe that this same strategy will lead to success at work.
As a late bloomer, turning 50 and still pursuing new goals, things might be even harder. Time to rethink your strategies not your hopes. How? In general, Executive Coaches suggest it is necessary to develop supportive relationships within your current work settings, including sponsors and mentors, as well as in a wider professional network. Negotiation is the key to achieve what you deserve, but you have to make a compelling case for why you deserve a raise or a higher base salary. Frohlinger advises women to keep a work journal, where, at the end of each month, they note their contribution to the project. In my opinion, you should just handle the “little voice” of doubt inside you: if you want a raise, say it loud; if you need to further your career, go and get what you want. Even, if you don’t feel confident enough, fake it until you make it. But most of all remember: you have a lot of experience to sell.