As a rising professional, I was often labeled as “too early” and “too ambitious”. Too early to take an important job, even if offered to a man of equal or lesser qualifications. My ambition was seen as arrogance.
In my mid-30’s, I was passed up for a leadership role. The CEO said I was smart, had all the competencies, that my husband was lucky to have me as his wife - but it was too early for me to take a bigger role. I learned the position was offered to a male with less experience but it was his ambition that set him apart. My ambition was seen as entitled or silly, while my male peer’s ambition was the positive trait that earned him the role.
For too long, we’ve had workplace cultures that put people in boxes. Acknowledge the box you may be in but break through and instead build a network. Female talent, especially early in career, need to build their constellation maps. With yourself in the center, map out your promoters, mentors, sponsors, even your detractors. With your goals in mind and your purpose in your heart, lean on your supporters to help grow your career and strengthen your skills.
Look at your detractor’s motives or alleged reasons behind your label. Often, it’s because they are intimidated or ignorant. Remember that is on them, not you. Never lose your voice or ambition to achieve your goals. They may not be ready to welcome your ambition, but so many in your constellation network are.
Philippe Martinez, Global Head of Solutions, Adecco, located in Switzerland