Seven Doubts Every Woman Has Regarding Her First Job

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Women are always told that starting a new job is an exciting opportunity that they should welcome into their lives - and more often than not, this fact is true. Yet, there is no escaping the fact that this is a mammoth of a change, and that every change sparks within all of us feelings of self-doubt. 

While most of us can agree on the fact that these feelings are normal, none of us enjoys them, and neither are they good for the well being of our mental health. Additionally, these feelings and doubts are never in alignment with reality, and they do not reflect our progress and potential within the role. Starting a new job can instil profound feelings of anxiety and make us feel like we are on the outside, not good enough, or even, smaller than we really are. 

In this blog, we’ve compiled 7 of the most commonly felt doubts by every woman before starting her first job, and also some advice on how to overcome them. Read on to find out!

Am I Not Working Hard Enough?

While it is crucial for you to do your very best in your first role, it is equally important that you don’t overwork yourself in fear of being perceived as “not having worked hard enough”. It is always a good idea to show up to work early in order to get a head start on the work that has been delegated to you for the day but do remember to take your breaks. Don’t work through your lunch hours, and make sure to leave the office at a reasonable hour. Understandably, you want to be perceived as willing and eager, but after a while, you will realise that this mentality is better reflected in the quality of your work, rather than the quantity. Conversely, the quality of your work will vastly improve if you come into work feeling energized and your most productive self, rather than putting in half-hearted efforts after being fatigued by having gotten no sleep the previous night. 

Another little pointer is that if you feel like you are being compelled to work much beyond your office hours, you should probably take it up with your manager. It’s best to once again go over the terms regarding what and how much is expected from you in the first few weeks, as well as the respective time frames for each task that you are assigned. If you still feel like it is too much, you can try asking for support managing and reallocating some of your tasks so that the workload lessens. 

Will The Styles of Communication Differ?

In a survey, some women had pointed out that misunderstandings between men and women often occur in the workplace due to the different ways in which men and women communicate and give feedback. For instance, when a manager remarks, “no objection”, a man interprets this as an approval to proceed with whatever proposal he had brought to the table. However, women, when faced with the same comment, may tend to interpret it as the manager having no positive feelings about the issue, nor being enthusiastic or supportive. This gets picked up as an indicator for not proceeding with that what she had brought to the table. 

Research conducted in the fields of psychology and sociology proves that women in the workplace are more likely to receive “person-centred” feedback whereas professional men receive “task-centred” feedback. Essentially, task-centred feedback comprises a critique or commentary on the task that has been executed, therefore it is specific to the substance of the work done. The task performer does not get complimented nor criticized on his or her overall “talent” (which, therefore, becomes “person-centred” feedback). Task-centred feedback should be provided to all employees, regardless of their gender. This discrepancy lies as part of a systemic problem in which males rarely regard females as a source of information. 

Will I Rock The Boat?

You may already have achieved your dream career at the company you currently are working in, but you somehow are not able to get to the position that you desire. Your fear of rocking the boat may be just the thing that has been holding you back. Undoubtedly, this fear is much more prevalent among working women, than men. Most women are taught (and even encouraged) to just go with the flow. Unfortunately, if there is a certain protocol at work with which women disagree, or may have an alternative solution, they are discouraged from bringing it up to the authorities. How do you overcome this niggling fear? Find your voice and speak up about your ideas. We need to raise our hands and speak our minds much more often than we already do, and in turn, encourage the women around us to do the same and bring about some much-needed change. 

Am I Going To Fit In?

There is, of course, the subject of being the “cultural fit”. Whether you are prone to feeling anxious in social situations or not, it is a daunting task to make friends and integrate within an office filled with strangers, all of whom somehow seem to know each other. This happens especially when your to-be colleagues have stuck around and worked in the same company for several years and bonded over shared tasks. Undoubtedly, it is tough. But ultimately, being able to manage your own expectations and simultaneously, being patient is key. Relationships take time to blossom, and all you can do is put your best foot forward when it comes to getting to know people. Participate in team-bonding activities instead of shying away from them, be as friendly and helpful as you can be, and soon you will become part of the inner circle. 

But it is also advisable to avoid trying to change your whole personality in order to fit in faster - because your genuine self will never need to change to make friends. Moreover, an identity recruiter would have probably spent a lot of time considering your personality and how it fits with your current role - including working with clients and also your colleagues!

What about Allegations of Reverse Discrimination?

In a survey, several participants spoke about the importance of a substantial number of women at the workplace in order for the individual success and growth of each woman. However, they also noted that as the numbers of women grow, men begin to look at women (and sometimes, even other underrepresented groups) to become stronger and more in number than they really are. Men feel threatened and are prone to revolt and backlash against their coworkers. A major contribution towards a hostile work environment includes allegations of reverse discrimination. This means that charges that men get penalized for because of special incentives and programs for women. One particular female professional who participated in the survey felt that she was being set up for failure due to the persistent implication that she got where she was only due to the fact that she was female. Some of the other participants reported having experienced similar effects of such allegations - both to their face and even indirectly. They also said that these allegations work towards creating as well as reinforcing perceptions that promote the inability of men and women to belong together, at least at the workplace. One way to combat this particular notion is through the provision of data. Off late, companies are starting to publish wider statistics on how opportunities within companies get taken up, including promotions and lateral transfers. 

And Sexual Harassment?


Women are more vulnerable to sexual harassment in certain fields of work more than others as they may be perceived as having barged into a place where they don’t belong, and thus shouldn’t be in competition with men for the same jobs. Some women belonging to minority groups were even seen as economic competitors who are new on the scene, yet not part of the ‘in’ group. Even 25 years ago, women were highly advised to take up homemaking, nursing, or teaching, as other fields were considered to be “non-traditional” for women. Research reveals that sexual harassment is made prominent by, for instance, the posting of pin-ups in the workplace, in the nuances of vocabulary used by male co-workers, and even by putting the only female professional in a business meeting on the spot by asking highly irrelevant questions. 

As employees are more and more made informed about the nature of the various types of sexual harassment, both they themselves as well as their employers become more vigilant towards eliminating it.

What If I Get Judged?

Coming to terms with a big decision, like going on to pursue your dream job, is probably going to be met with some harsh criticism - be it from your family, your close group of friends, or maybe even your to-be colleagues. There are always going to be nay-sayers, but it is important to remember that their words reflect their own attitude and mindset, and rarely your own. In many cases, people around you who seemingly only offer invaluable advice are trying to set you up for your own downfall due to jealousy, or the fact that they themselves might be stuck in a job or position that they are not fond of. You must not let this discourage you. If it helps, find a community of like-minded individuals who understand what you are trying to achieve and are willing to offer support. Networking opportunities are everywhere - make use of them to build a circle of people who uplift you and encourage your aspirations.

Conclusion

When it comes to combating the above-mentioned self-doubts, you ultimately end up looking after your mental and physical well-being, especially in the first few crucial weeks of your new role. There are many talented newbies who inadvertently end up tying themselves into knots over the years when there isn’t any need to do so. As long as you continually strive towards making efforts, fostering valuable relationships and provide valuable inputs in your new job, you are doing more than enough to make this role a success for you. And at the end of the day, that is all that matters.

 

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