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Finding the Ideal Workplace

Companies which have embraced "family friendly" and diversity oriented values will have designed an organization with the staffing philosophy and processes and development philosophy and processes to support those values. Managers will provide opportunities for visibility; explain and interpret organizational politics; map out clear developmental goals and support you in achieving them.

There may always be a bit of a gap between what is ideal in the workplace and what really exists today. None the less, it is important to define what is ideal so that companies can work toward those goals and so that women can understand the working environment to look for which will come closest to filling their needs and supporting them in reaching their full career potential.

The first thing women need to examine is how many women are serving currently as executive officers or on the Board of Directors of a particular company. ( You can find this at http://hoovers.com or http://freeedgar.com for large companies. For smaller, local companies, ask them to mail you a copy of their quarterly report.) This indicator tells you how a company really feels about women. If you see a vacuum, run the other way.

Second, you will want to look at what the company pays women. As Secretary of Labor, Alexis M. Herman said "Some companies are now developing and promoting women to the senior level. But many women who squeeze through that crack have yet to break the second pane --the barrier of disparate pay. We find that female executives routinely earn less than their male counterparts."

Women are just 2.4% of those holding the titles of chairman, vice chairman, CEO, president,COO or executive vice-president and have just 1.9% of the top paying jobs. So it is a wide spread, societal practice to promote fewer women and pay them less. However, if you make the effort to identify a company which is "women-friendly" --- which will also be "family friendly" and diversity oriented, since these values form a cluster --- your odds of achieving continuing career advancement will be dramatically enhanced.

Companies which have embraced "family friendly" and diversity oriented values will have designed an organization with the staffing philosophy and processes and development philosophy and processes to support those values.

On a formal basis, managers will provide opportunities for visibility; explain and interpret organizational politics; map out clear developmental goals and support you in achieving them.

On an informal basis, management will have credible advocates with positional authority to see that key people, and women in particular, are not excluded from informal networks. Advocates with authority will also assure that women have access to a line position with responsibility so they they may qualify for promotion to the next level.

Within this framework, you have to also do your part.

You must use your career goals as a framework for making choices and taking on change.

You should try to align your career goals with what you see as the opportunities within your company.

Balance specificity and flexibility in career planning.

Be clear about the experiences and accomplishments you need in order to achieve your career goals. There may be multiple parts to your goals. Be sure to share your career goals as you never know who will help you with the next opportunity.

Both vertical (mentor) and horizontal (network) relationships have value. Develop several mentors with different backgrounds and responsibilities. A strong network is a valuable asset which takes time and effort to develop. But finding mentors, and developing a network are the keys to success. And if you’re in an ideal workplace, or one which has values aligned with your interests and is working on putting them into practice, you are on the right path for career success.

 
 

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