When I was young I didn’t know how to speak up [at work] and say, “I don’t like this.” I wasn’t that person [a sex symbol] people were portraying me as. I come from a pretty conservative background; I was a tomboy wearing baggy clothes. But you’re being marketed in a movie to sell it – I understood it was the characters I was playing.
This is Jessica Alba talking to The Guardian.
Given, not all of us start our career the same way as Jessica Alba’s did. (I can relate to the tomboy / baggy pants combo, not to the sex symbol or movie-star-status.)
But something all women can relate to, is the fear of speaking up at work.
Maybe it’s your first job, and you are desperate to gain the experience without putting anyone off side. Maybe it’s your third job and you love it (for the most part) and don’t want to turn your colleagues against you. More often than not, you’re a woman, not a huge fan of confrontation, and you carry around a resounding feeling of gratefulness.
“Thank goodness I’ve got this job. I’m lucky to have this job. I don’t want to complain, because I’m lucky to be where I am.”
(The woman factor and the gratefulness factor are often related.)
This same sense of “I owe you something” is what will keep you in the office late at night. It will see you taking on projects you don’t need to take, you don’t actually have time for. Compromising your values, your work / life balance.
How often do you say “I don’t like this”?
Problem is, this tendency to swallow, stomach, keep quiet, make-zero-waves is actually hurting your career.
Refraining from telling your boss that you disagree with the way he or she tackles admin, and that you have in mind a more efficient, more effective system, might seem like a good idea at the time, but the opposite is more true.
“In today’s workplace, more people are keeping quiet and are just going with the flow – thinking that this is the best way to advance, get noticed and / or win the political gaming that takes place at work. For others, it is a survival mechanism,” business strategy consultant Glenn Llopis wrote for Forbes. “How you express your opinions at work (or not) is a direct reflection upon how people experience who you are and what you represent as a team member, department leader and as an individual.”