On the back of many 2017 gender pay gap reports, I feel it appropriate we now address each other, as grown women. Until the gaps are easier to navigate and bridge, we will have to pull up our big girl britches and get some serious work done – make some big girl career moves.

I’m not afraid of a little extra work – for the sake of women progression and movement – are you?

In fact, I recall sitting down with a fem. friend of mine when I was 24 and discussing what I would like my career path to look like.  “Well, that’s great.” She said. “I’m sure you’ve discussed this with your boss?”

The truth is I hadn’t and I didn’t want to. It seemed desperate, boisterous, ungrateful. Success will just come to you if you keep working hard enough, right?

Wrong.

Especially as a woman.

There are a multitude of big girl moves we must make if we plan on climbing the ladder or continue to get top dollar for the role we are currently in.

As a whole, there are plenty of things we must do as a workforce to quiet any suggestion that we, as women wouldn’t be up for the job or a good fit, given our perceived maturity – or lack thereof.

As someone who discovered early on that if I was going to be away from my family, I was going to make it worth my while… many of these career moves I hated making. They were bold. They required hard change. They were so counterintuitive to what society taught me as feminine. I hated the struggle between what I was taught and what must be done.

Get over it.

Strong is the new pretty.

4 Big Girl Moves I hated taking

1. Asking for more money

One of the issues with the gender pay gap is that women don’t ask at the rate or at the quantity that men do. Want to grow up and join the new century of equal work for equal pay? You have to expect it and ask for it.

One of the other issues is that women don’t move through the ranks, as suggested by the recent Grant Thorton report. Perhaps we aren’t expecting it of ourselves?

There are a few paths to getting a raise or promotion, one of them is bound to fit you.

a. Do the hard work and hope you are rewarded.
b. Take a higher paying job at another company.
c. go ahead and ask for one.

One thing to note on asking for a raise or promotion is to make sure you actually deserve a raise or promotion and that the company is in a position to provide such.

Have you worked exceptionally well? Are you consistent in the level, accuracy, and timeliness of your work? Is the company performing well, financially? And do you know what it is that you want? Is there a position within the organization you can move to, or a gap you can fill?

It is not enough to simply say that you want a raise or promotion. Take all the hard work for your boss out of the equation and offer what your raise and promotion might look like. What will you do above and beyond what you perform today? The offer has to be mutually beneficial. What will you bring to the table that will help with profits? What does your continued progression look like?

Lastly, make sure that you are confident and that you don’t simply ask,’ as if there is really another option and you don’t mind, you’re just asking.’ Make a statement, support why you are a good fit for this offer and support this as a strategic idea, an expectation.

2. Expect Progression

Want to have more than a job? Want to have something that means something? You have to create it.

A job is something you do, go home and get a paycheck for. A career is an opportunity for growth, development, investment, and progression. Which do you have?

The latter is the harder one. You have to be strategic, always on. It’s exhausting. But the reward is worth it.

We all went to school with an expected progression in mind. First, there is elementary, middle, high school and college. Each stage brings different challenges, different lessons, and different rewards. In a sense, this was an educational career.

We should look at our work with the same expectation of progression in mind. Each stage should bring us different challenges, different lessons, and different rewards. True progress, not merely seeking rewards or accolades, build on what you know and lifts you to the next level.

I read somewhere the following story, “Some people might say working behind the counter at McDonald’s is just a job, but that’s not necessarily true. If that person wants to one day run their own franchise, that’s a career. On the flip side, you could be sitting in an office wearing a suit and tie and going nowhere fast.”

3. Keep the Peace

Want to be taken seriously at work? Want to sit at the big boy table?  Don’t act like a middle school girl.

a. Don’t gossip. Period. We look 13-16 years old when we do. Maturity, responsibility, financial rewards for your work are overshadowed by office gossip.

Nothing will be fair in life. Boss has a favorite and you are not it? There’s a boys club at work? Other co-workers taking credit for the work of others and reaping the rewards?

Stay above reproach. Don’t contribute to a negative environment. Your maturity and dependability will rise above the clamor. Contributing will bring you down to the level of those involved and you will be another face in the crowd. Stand out, stay above reproach.

b. take genuine responsibility for your mistakes. It is far greater to show that you have the maturity to learn from your mistakes than it is to blame others. We have all made what seems to be life-shattering mistakes, but hiding them or blaming someone else will only make it worse.

Make it so that you never lose – learn from them. As an old quote goes: “I never lose. I either win, or I learn.”

c. Make peace with employees you are not akin to. You don’t have to be best friends, but to help build a workplace environment that is not toxic and promotes growth for you and others, you have to keep the peace. Be cordial to the co-worker your not extremely fond of and be cordial to the co-worker that continues to try to sabotage you. Don’t join the fight. Your battle is with rising to the next challenge, not dueling it out with someone who simply is not portraying the qualities it takes to be on another level.

My daughter recently came across this same thing on the soccer field. We told her sometimes the only way to get away from the mean girls is to rise to a level where they are incapable of playing. That summer, she was on the Super-Y team, with a set of mature and hard-working girls that wanted to be there, instead of the mean girl club she had experienced in the fall.

4. Receiving and Giving Help

Want to increase women progression for the next generation? As Tim McGraw would say “when you get to where you are going, turn around and help the next one in line.”

I’ve not always been surrounded by workplace ‘friends’ as I’ve been promoted, but I never wanted to get to where I was planning and then look around and not like who I saw in the mirror. As much as I hate to admit it, we can’t do anything on our own. We are pack animals and crave community. We also have our unique set of skills, and others have theirs. Many of which will be required for any given task on hand.

That step about keeping the peace comes in handy here.

We have to be willing to admit when we need the help of others to get the task done. Additionally, there are others who will need your help to get a task accomplished. The progression of others equates to progression for the company. Have no qualms about helping to teach, show, train or assist others when you are able to do so. I guarantee not only will you create a working bond that you may be able to rely on in the future, you will also learn something in the process. Win Win.