Dorothy, You’re Not in Kansas Anymore

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A woman is a strong force in the workplace, and there is no better time than now to make sure your presence is impactful. There was a time when women were like children—to be seen and not heard—everywhere, including the workplace. Women were supposed to be content with just being in the room. Dress pretty, type fast, make a good cup of coffee, and don’t get married or pregnant, because we know you’ll be quitting soon. Thank goodness those days are over! Sometimes, though, it seems like all women didn’t get the memo.

If you walk around the various departments of any company, you see more women than in times past. For the most part, however, we are still sitting passively in the workplace. We sit in meetings waiting to be asked. We read over the email response we want to send so long that someone else answers with our ideas. The final straw is how we focus so much on the skills we don’t have that we never throw our names in the hat to be considered for the promotion, the project, the new client, or the new department. What happened? Where did the fire inside of us go? Other than a great pair of shoes, when did we put our boldness on a shelf? Well, stop it!

Mad Men is a show about the past, not about the present. Reclaim the stature that is woman. Women make up more than half of the workforce, per a study from the Department for Professional Employees AFL-CIO. When you walk into the department of any company, you see more people that look like you—and not just at the receptionist desk. Women are in almost every industry. That means there is no reason for you to hide your light under a bush. Be bold!

You should be comfortable to raise your hand in meetings with a new idea—not feel ashamed because your project didn’t get the green light this time around. There is always next time. Because there are more women in the workforce, there are more people who understand your point of view. They get it when you’ve had a rough morning getting everyone who lives with you out of the house on time. However, they also understand, as women, we can have frazzled mornings and still present to the clients and win the accounts. We have so much going for us right now, and there is no reason to stand at a pause and wait your turn. Keep moving forward.

For every bad idea you have, you’ll have two good ones. For every report you draft that isn’t clear, there will be five more that become the examples for everyone else to follow. So, don’t think because you aren’t pencil thin, you don’t come from an Ivy-League school, you don’t wear red-bottom shoes and have a regularly scheduled spa day that you aren’t as worthy to be in the room. Look around—you aren’t the only person who doesn’t have those things on her list, and others seem to be succeeding without them. So can you.

Make it a point this month to step up and be heard. Be counted. Be listed and be noticed. You are a force to be reckoned with. You are the new “corporate America.” You set the pace. You set the standard. You set the environment in which you work. You are what the work world is waiting for. You own the room, so act like it!