women-careerIf you’re like most girls in the corporate world, you want to enjoy a career which is rewarding, challenging and gives you plenty of opportunities to grow.

There are, however, a few stumbling blocks which will significantly reduce your chances of promotion and happiness at work. Here are 5 main things to keep in check.


1. Avoid Politics.


Don’t be one of those people who incessantly complain about their colleagues behind their backs (and then offer a polite, tight-lipped smile to their face).

A desire to complain in a demeaning way about someone is nothing more than a sign of lost power. You’re making someone else responsible for how you feel and you wish it was different.

The trouble with this habit is that the only people who will chime in on such conversations will be the ones with a similar mindset. People who have personal power will cast you out because they don’t spend time blaming their colleagues – they spend most of their time sharing their visions, discussing solutions to world’s problems and toasting successes (of themselves and others)



2. Balance Your Inner World.


You have two sides to you: the task-oriented, logical, driven side; it’s your power-woman mode. And then you have the girly, softer side which yearns to let go, be taken care of, taken on an adventure, to create something with abandon and get lost in expression through movement, song or something else uniquely yours.

Different women will default to a different side, and will like to spend a different amount of time in each mode. And that’s perfectly fine. What you need to be aware is that the corporate world will probably train you into spending more time in powerchick mode than you normally would.

But to enjoy the full richness of what the world has to offer you need to cultivate both parts of you. Adjust your after-work life so that you can switch modes and immerse yourself in activities which allow you to shift from your thinking/planning/achieving mode to the feeling/creating/being mode.



3. Don’t Flirt.


You may think you have the looks. And you may be tempted to use a glance, a move, a smile or an outfit to influence a male colleague.

Let me say this – don’t do it. It’s a shortcut which may help you in the short run (and at lower seniority levels), but in the long term it’s a bankrupt strategy. No-one flirts their way into the boardroom.



4. Treat Yourself As An Equal.


Do you feel inferior to your male colleagues? A lot of women feel intimidated by men – especially by those in senior positions.

But here’s the corker – if you treat yourself as an equal, you probably will be. And the same applies in reverse.

Learning to see past, and not be intimidated by, gender and seniority is not easy. What you might not realize, however, is that it’s just a habit. You learned it – probably at a much younger age – and you still continue repeating it as a pattern, over and over again.

Most people use fear as a signal to stop performing an action. But getting rid of it is a two-step process: awareness plus action. First, notice when you feel the fear; let yourself experience it (don’t reject it, suppress it or wait for it to go away) and second, do what you need to do.

Your fear has nothing to do with the present situation. It’s just a relic of your past still informing your decisions in the present.



5. Don’t Be Afraid To Say No.


This is somewhat similar to my previous point, but with one key difference: whereas before fear was running the show, in this instance, a desire to please does.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to contribute or make a difference to someone. Bur when someone asks you to do something for them, pause for a moment and use your discretion (instead of being an automatic “yes”).

Be aware that there’s a line between contributing in a way which benefits both parties and trying to please, which harms your performance and reputation.

About the Guest Post Author:
Irene Kotov helps senior executives get jobs in exciting companies. Through her resume writing services, social profile campaigns and interview coaching she helps people stand head and shoulders above their competition. You can catch up with her on Google+.