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Life assumptions we come to regret

SUNDAY MAGAZINE
By Nancy Nzalambi | June 7th 2020

We work so that we can bring meaning to the life. However, some decisions hinder us from enjoying the full benefits of what our work life has to offer. Here are some of the misconceptions that eventually cost us.

The motherhood penalty

It is assumed that once a woman has a baby, she will automatically prefer to work part time with less possibility of travelling for work assignments.

Even after getting back in the game after maternity leave and some readjustment period, coworkers and managers would still overlook working mothers when it comes to extra responsibilities.

Sociology professor Shelley J Correll did a study in 2005 that compared earnings of women with children to earnings of those without.

The study was motivated by the notion that women with children earned lower than women without children despite them being functionally equivalent.

In her report, Getting a Job: Is There a Motherhood Penalty? Correll wrote that cultural ideas of motherhood are seen as pretty “incompatible with the cultural ideas of the workplace.”

An interesting finding from this study is that fathers are not disadvantaged in any way. In fact, they are more likely to be at an advantage as they are seen to exhibit more commitment to their jobs than non-fathers.

This notion is costly on women. Many get left out of progressive advancements in their careers. Even if women scale back their work responsibilities for a while after motherhood, they do not do so forever.

It is a matter of individual preferences. Some may welcome extra responsibilities that will surely expand their earnings and boundaries.

Managers should not assume that mothers cannot go the extra mile. Mothers themselves should not be blinded by cultural norms to assume that they cannot handle additional tasks.

Notably, companies have in the recent years developed work-family policies that help retain good employees; both men and women.

Authority is about ability to make others follow orders

If you are in management, you definitely want to lead a team that knows how to interpret instructions. However, it can be frustrating when things do not run your way.

It is unfortunate that most management newbies see their new job titles as avenues to stamp authority and control their subordinates. That drive to prove that they are not a “promotion mistake” makes majority of new managers focus mainly on compliance; everything must run smoothly. That the manager should just create ideas and subordinates are to follow instructions.

The damage that this leadership style brings along is that you will miss an opportunity to showcase you character, competence and influence.

When you trust your team to come up with ideas, you get to show who the boss is by exhibiting superior skills they needed to put in their ideas.

You will be able to influence your team more if you are dependable to your team. You will also learn from your subordinates input and become the initiator of change rather than being a “normal” leader.

Starting a successful business means foregoing having a life

Many men and women are afraid to start up a business venture because they think they are not there yet.

Starting a business requires strategy, however, do not assume that you will need to exclude everything else to be good at it.

A perfect balance between a career and social life does not exist. There are plenty of people who are enjoying quality time with family, having fun and running successful businesses simultaneously.

They are doing it and they are doing it well. Take the leap of faith and start that business venture.

Calculate the risks and maintain flexibility. You do not want to get to your 70s and regret why you did not give it a try.

Senior colleagues should always solve the problem

Problematic situations always bring anxiety at the workplace. Most of these are normally forwarded to the next person in command. One, mainly because people are afraid of being implicated when a mistake happens or they think the responsibility is above their pay grade.

It is not always the case that the highest ranking individual is equipped with all specialised skills needed to solve a particular problem. They may not have all the answers to your questions.

You don’t have to slide every single thing to the CEO to handle. If you are confident that you can handle it, ask for their permission and go ahead. Such demonstration of initiative can elevate you for the next promotion.

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