The post in which I put on my Hillary Clinton suit.

I don't often think about the fact that I'm a woman at work. Well, other than the fact that our bathroom is never in use and the men's room is a revolving door of developers with full bladders.

For the most part, I haven't felt limitations. I don't spend a lot of time daydreaming about my future roles at this company or another; I'm far too busy getting new designs in clients' hands and writing proposals for new work. Head down, thumbs up, and so far I've been rewarded.

But this afternoon a couple of things happened and it got me thinking about ambition- not the kind that grows from the bottom of your gut, but the kind that creates rules you need to pay attention to. I know that my clients appreciate the work I do for them, but is being well-liked the same as being well-respected? Or well-positioned to make larger deals, to push relationships farther?

It's not.

And here's where we look back to my customer service roots. I started at Arc writing copy for the Kindling website and answering support requests, a role that I loved. People were SO HAPPY to get an email that explained how to install or delete or edit something in human words. And I was happy that they were happy.

But when you start talking about how businesses are investing in technology, you're on a different level, aren't you? Your goal isn't to make a client giddy... it's to help them effectively solve problems. Sometimes the solutions to these problems are real challenges, for clients or for the technology team you're working with. Finding solutions requires a firm hand, a calm guidance and an ability to keep things positive without incarnating Mickey Mouse.

It doesn't boil down to me being a woman; most of this is more a confrontation with my personality. But I can pretty clearly see how pushing myself to grow into that firm voice is going to push me further than being a friendly goofball.

It's pretty much the most daunting thing about the prospect of growing my career right now. There's no need to; I can do great work with exactly the same approach that I've always had. But what if I tweaked things ever so slightly so that I was starting to lead instead of manage?

I guess there's only one way to find out. Mmm?

1 comment:

LK said...

Go Jen Go!!