One of the frustrating things about being a women in business is seeing male counterparts around you - left, right and centre - getting promoted before you, or being offered a higher pay check for the same role you’re doing.
Corporates try to deny it happens and in today’s world are more accountable than ever before for making sure it doesn’t happen. But the reality is, it does.
Did you know just 5 of the CEOs in the FTSE 100 are female?
When we women decide to speak up for ourselves in the workplace, our valid statements, questions and concerns are often batted back at us.
You’ve all seen this example:
On asking why pay checks differ, or why men are more likely to be a CEO of a large company, we’re told:
- Men negotiate harder, they ask for more so they get given more.
Firstly, this is not always true. Women can be some of the best negotiators around; it’s just that our requests are often not taken seriously.
And secondly, is it any surprise that on occasions we decide to back-off from negotiations or from male-dominated spaces when we’re collectively and constantly told ‘no’. ‘No you can’t have the salary increase’, ‘no you didn’t make CEO’.
It’s really no surprise that we sometimes start to believe it.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. What we need to do as women, collectively, is to start believing in ourselves. In our ability, in our worth and in our value.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Think about it, if we had been consistently told since we were 20 that ‘yes we will give you a pay rise’, and ‘yes you are worthy of that promotion’ - then of course we’d all believe it.
But - hard as it may be - we need to believe it anyway. And we need to make others believe it about themselves too.
I’ve recently been announced as one of the finalists in the Successful Women in Business Awards, founded by Gill Donnell MBE.
While I’m always honoured to be nominated and become a finalist for business awards, this one means more to me than many.
Because the award I’m up for via the Successful Women in Business is the ‘Reinvention Award’.
This means a lot to me as I’ve worked hard to be where I am today, and it hasn’t always been a linear journey. I’ve seen my fair share of crisis times; the current Coronavirus crisis and subsequent financial crisis is just the latest.
Indeed, over the last few months I’ve had to pivot my business from face-to-face bootcamps and coaching sessions to bootcamps that are run entirely via a virtual platform. Getting an entire course up online in a matter of days is no easy feat, believe me.
More than this though is the reinvention of the way in which I run my sessions today. Until a few months ago I was working with people who actively wanted to make the Leap into Consulting™, But now with furloughs, job losses and general insecurity in the workplace, many of the people I work with are not considering making the leap out of pure choice. Many have no other choice.
Of course, when the circumstances of my clients are changing, the way I deliver coaching must too.
As I’ve been through similar crisis myself a few times in my 25 year consulting career, I know how to work with my new set of clients and how to deliver what they need, in order to help them leap back into success.
You could say my entire business model for the last few months has been about reinvention; for both myself and my clients.
I’m proud I’ve been able to do so, and I’m proud of my clients who are doing the same.
So to be a finalist in the ‘Reinvention Award’ means more to me than many may realise.
Thank you for the nominations, for recognising me as a finalist, and for the many opportunities I’ve been presented with that have allowed me to be where I am today.
While 5 years have passed since the latest UK-focussed study, the percentage has seen little change since the year 2000, suggesting that even if such a change has happened, the figures will still not be equal.
What does this mean for professional women in the workplace who need to take time off to care for sick children or elderly relatives?
It means that needing to take unplanned time off is likely. A feat more difficult when you have to ask for someone else’s permission.
As a self employed consultant this burden gets easier. Of course, you’ll still have work to complete - but you’re far more flexible to do so in your own time and on your own terms.
Suddenly that ‘emergency pick-up call’ from your child’s school becomes far easier to navigate.
Question no. 3: Are you paid the same as your male counterparts?
The sad news is, if you’re a woman in the corporate workplace the answer is most likely: no.
Are you a full time employee dreaming of something more? Perhaps you long for more quality time with your family? Perhaps a bigger income? Perhaps a better work/life balance? The opportunity to choose which jobs to say yes to, and when you want to say no.
If you’re nodding your head in agreement and thinking ‘yes please!' - read on. Consulting could be right for you.
First things first; while we here at Leap into Consulting™ are fully aware of the benefits that becoming a consultant offers (flexibility, potential income, more time with loved ones, the opportunity to work on projects you’re passionate about - amongst many others), it would be amiss to claim it’s for everyone.
So let’s discuss the tougher side of consulting first:
To become a consultant means running your own business. To put it simply; you’ll need to do your own taxes (or hire an accountant), fix your own IT issues, and rely on solely on your self-motivation to complete projects. There will be no boss (aside from yourself!) checking that you’re in the office. As a consultant, all of this is down to you.
If you're still with us and consider this a small pay off for the freedom to choose your own working hours - fantastic. You’ve passed the toughest hurdle.
Now let’s talk about the practical side of setting up your business:
You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions to discover what works for you. What type of work do you enjoy? What do you not enjoy? Where are your strengths and weaknesses? How many hours a week do you wish to work?
While we can’t answer these questions for you, we can guide you through them alongside others. In fact, we run a mini ‘Is Consulting Right For You’ course to guide people through this process. Join us to explore your options.
Now - we say as we rub our hands with glee - onto the best part of consulting. The reason we've loved what we do for 25 years.
Let's explore the benefits of consulting.
The freedom to grow a career and business that you love.