22sense

Oh great, just what the world needed — another blog…

In the highly democratic internet age, the online landscape is oversaturated with self-aggrandizing self-taughts vying for an audience to heckle with their two cents. I, of course, am different. Not exactly a novel statement in itself, but it’s true. I don’t have 2 cents, I have 22. 

You know, 22 cents. The average pay differential between women and their their male counterparts doing the same job. And that’s just white women! In spite of the scores of meninists who gleefully claim the gender wage gap is the stuff of legend, thousands of instances of pay inequity beg to differ. That’s not to say employers are consciously undercutting female employees’ salaries in a feeble “stick it to the [wo]man” attempt, but rather, that there’s a systemic difference in what women are paid. This wage gap is due to myriad reasons, among them women asking for less money and interviewing for less competitive positions — but definitely not being any less than their male colleagues. Not to mention that men are afforded certain graces within the workplace that women are not, sometimes resulting in them “failing upwards” aka an unqualified man is rewarded for substandard performance with a promotion.

So what gives? Is there something in the male worldview that primes them for success? Is there inherent value to moving though the world with the self-assuredness of a man?

Lol, no. Sexism is institutionalized.

But let’s pretend for a second that it’s not!

Okay real talk, I know we don’t live in a world with flying cars and actual unicorns instead of narwhals universal healthcare and the Billionaire Boys Club’s Guide to Success, but adopting a male worldview occasionally has its benefits. So at what point do women collectively eschew these gender norms and start “thinking like men”?  Not in the Steve Harvey way that makes for a cutesy film franchise, but in a self-motivated, career-fulfilling, aspire to the level of greatness Ciara has in her Like a Boy music video kind of way? 

There are complex factors that have played into the socialization of women, which shapes how they present themselves in the world – usually more docile, apologetic, meek. Welp, ladies, men are socialized to be the opposite. Assertive, dominant, unfettered. And keying into some of these habits could mean the difference between settling for a job you know you can do and thriving at a job that propels your career forward. Here are a few of my favorites:

5 Tips that Have Helped me Thus Far

  1. Ask for more. More responsibility, more feedback, more opportunities for growth, just … more. The higher-ups are there for a reason, so learn as much from them as you can. Show your bosses that you’re eager to grow in your role (and out of it, quite frankly).
  2. You’ve gotta negotiate like you mean it. Okay this one’s a doozy, even for me. But how are we going to achieve pay parity if we’re not asking for more money?! The key to effective negotiation is knowing your worth. Do your research – understand what your peers are getting paid, the cost of living in your city, and then pad a lil bit. But remember, there’s a difference between coming off as firm and being straight up demanding.
  3. Speak up. Nobody’s going to realize you know the cure to the common cold if you don’t say it during your meetings!! Start showing people that you have an opinion – one that’s thought out, refined, and a reflection of why you got the job in the first place. Your point of view will quickly become your point of differentiation.
  4. Take jobs you’re not “ready” for. Y’all have heard this one before, right? A greater percentage of men apply for, and subsequently take, take jobs they don’t meet all the qualifications for vs women. Ah, yes, women. They typically wait until they meet all the sought out qualifications before even applying. Ma’am – if you know how to do the job perfectly already, you need a different one.
  5. Work on your stage presence. Need I say more?

For the past few years, I’ve inadvertently shadowed male friends, coworkers, and industry figures, gradually mining my observations into tools that have taught me how to own my roles, take calculated risks, and take up space. It all boils down into what I’ve deemed 22sense. (Catchy, no?) What I’ve learned has made me both a stronger employee and individual, and I want to share that knowledge with young women who might be in my shoes.

But, okay. Maybe this isn’t what the world needed, but it’s what mine did. Welcome to the blog. 

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