What Keeps High-Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions: VII. Results: Themes Four and Five
(AS) “I have a little bit more fear and I’m a little more serious than I used to be. I don’t know yet if that is good or bad for me.”
(BS) “The workplace didn’t always support my passion. This felt like suffocation. Then I found a job where I found my voice. Then I could breathe.”
(KP) “He was treating me and the rest of the team like children, disrespectfully micromanaging…I finally I told him that my classification was higher than his. Once he heard that, all of a sudden his mind shifts and he respects me. So this hierarchy…as if I’m a genius and brilliant all of a sudden, just because he has a different label. It’s disappointing and disgusting. I want to be recognized on my own for my contribution versus the label.”
(DK) “I’m very disappointed with the corporate culture. I don’t think there are good leaders. I feel that you have to be mediocre to survive. My pitfall is that I am so gung ho in the beginning, and then they sap the life out of me.”
(JE) “You can give so much that it finally hurts to give because you’re not getting anything back in return for your effort. You finally just unplug. Some people stay and go through the motions. I move on.”
Survey response: The survey responses did not necessarily support the assumption and the results of the interviews, that the workplace provides some sad surprises and possible disillusionment. The survey question started with a statement that many women have a view of the workforce that changes once they have worked for a few years. When asked if they were surprised and possibly disillusioned by what they found, only 40% answered that this was true for them. However, 29% of the participants didn’t answer this question at all. It came late in the survey and was not a multiple choice answer, so it is hard to validate the results. On the other hand, those that agreed with the statement provided some interesting insights that seem to fit the patterns of the high-achieving women identified in the other questions.