“She got the promotion because she has good relationships with people.”
This was uttered my superior when my colleagues asked him why did I got the opportunity to transit from a software engineer to a business analyst.
Just last week, I overheard people in my company asking why was I given this opportunity and why I deserved this promotion?
My reaction: Angry, shocked and disbelief.
What others think: “Another person who studies master and gets promoted just because he/she has masters. She practically did nothing to deserve it.”
The background: Everyone in the company has a good relationship with one another. They have been working for more than 10 years and some even 30 years in the company. Everyone is like family to each other. They get so comfortable working in the same position and in the same company that they think they are entitled to a promotion or recognition just for being in the company longer than you.
Then, 3 years ago, came this Malaysian woman. Started her first job right after university at the Malaysian branch, moved to the Swiss branch and has been slowly working herself up. Up in the sense that finding ways to grow herself and learn new things.
Back when I first started, I was naïve. It was my first ever job right after college. I wanted people to like me. I am an introvert, so in order to mask my shyness, I put on this bubbly and friendly mask at work. SO people thought that I am one of those nice girls and easy to bully without any ambition nor brain.
The reality is: I didn’t get the promotion in a blink of an eye. It was not because I have good relationships with the directors or anyone. The reality was, I spent 2 and a half years working hard in getting my masters while working full time and being a wife.
2 and a half years of not having any summer holidays, or Christmas holidays or any holidays. While everyone was enjoying their evenings and weekends, I was up at 5 am and stayed up till midnight or so to complete my assignments and projects.
Half way through, I took the courage to present my analysis on my company’s current innovation and communication problems and how with proper actions, they can bring the company to the next level. Prior to this presentation, I was a no one. I was just another employee headcount.
I asked to be given a chance if there is an opportunity as a business analyst in the company as I was interested in this area. I interviewed for a new position in the company. Waited for almost a year before things started to happen.
6 years later with one big change, one masters completed and lots of ups and downs, I have grown.
What have I learned through these experiences?
That people only like you and welcoming when you are a non-threat to them, when you are like them. Once you decide to be more than that, they shun you. I refuse to be a lamb. I refuse to be like the majority.
Women need to put 200% more effort to be noticed and taken seriously. Also, stop being overly friendly in a work space where it is dominated by men.
What’s my action plan?
Stand up, wipe the dust on my knees, arms and go even fiercer in achieving my dreams.
Everyone deserves to be successful if and only if they do the work, they strive and sacrifice things that don’t matter and focus only on things that matters.
Especially us, women, this is our time to rise above and beyond our circumstances. We ought to know our worth and rights and just keep thriving.
So, what’s your story?