4 Common Stereotypes We Need to Break at Work

Last updated 16 Sep 2015 . 3 min read

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Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant has already written a wonderful article here, that women are stereotypically more available for unaccounted trainings, which are not counted when it comes to her promotion at work In other words women help more but are rewarded less. This is one common stereotype around us.

Stereotypes all over the world (see a list) condition us to behave in typical ways as a woman or a man. Being a woman at work, it is our turn to question and break these stereotypes whenever possible. This may need us to come out of your comfort zone for this, be in the attention zone of others, get judged often and we may fail miserably at times. Here are ways to start treating the stereotypes differently today onwards;

Speak up: Understand the gaps and peaks of the workplace and speak up during town hall meetings or any bigger group meetings. If you are a new mother and a day care near your office premise will help you to remain at work, don’t wait for someone else to take up the cause. You take it up. If you feel a flat structure and flexible timing will help the 40-60% employees at work, then it’s time to take this up and speak about it. Break the stereotype that female employees keep mum during big gatherings. Also be prepared to get interrupted, resist the interruption while you speak.

Enlist your ad-hoc activities and make others aware of it: If you are mid level employee in your company, there are chances that you end up doing a lot of ad-hoc work coming as a request from your colleagues, like training the new joinees, maintaining project progress trackers which are analyzed and presented by others These are also the activities that remain unnoticed by the managers and doesn’t bring you any brownie points. My two cents here is to accept the requests and then make a point to make people around and above you aware of the efforts you are putting in. Get noticed for what you do.

Eat with pleasure and stop talking about body weight: Most of time at work we turn up as very conscious eaters, always on diet. This is a good thing but it gets really boring after a while to discuss about the weight we have lost and gained again. Let’s break the stereotype of trying to be a woman who has minimum 10 kilos less than what we have now. Let’s stop being overly judgmental to ourselves, let’s eat happily and show a new path to the new women at work too.

Bring solutions while discussing problems: The way current economics is evolving, companies are always on the edge of some reorganization and changes. We might see it thoroughly that new management team may bring ideas which did not work for the company before. You point out that immediately, but try not to be a naysayer and bring analytical approach to it. Bring certain solutions too. Evidence based and problem solving approach is rare at work places and you will be immediately noticed above the other stereotypes.

Chandrima Pal
Chandrima is a scientific researcher turned Science writer. She has experienced working in academics and corporate world with science as her major interest. She has observed her career twisting and turning at different domains and through relocating in different countries and cities. She has also tried into various models of working, part time, full time, remote, office based and lab based

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