So I think I am very much honoring this year's resolution to read more books! I like to walk bookshops and occasionally buy a bunch of books sitting on my shelf without reading. Have seen this "Lean In" by Shery Sandberg for a while in bookshops and finally decide to go for a read.
As someone who had been in working in both Sydney and Hong Kong, the book really gave a very realistic picture of women in workplace. It is very interesting to read different experience from the perspective of Sheryl, while climbing her own career ladder as well as having a family and different encounters different woman at the top has.
It is good to see such a book actually pointing out what is happening in the office with both men and women. How women had to react differently in order to produce some positive impact, without going to far out from the stereotype of woman defined by our society.
As you may be aware, I spent most of my life in Sydney. During the years I have worked in Sydney, as a female and Asian it is certainly very hard for me to get a promotion, even with vacancy in other department of the same company, it is very hard to get noticed for the opportunity.
In my head, I am very ambitious, I am very agitated when I feel I am not growing, being static freaks me out. I always wanted to grow. While I tried being quiet in the back corner for some time and feel it is time for me to try new things so when my colleague indicated certain positions are available in other department, I went straight to send my CV to human resources without thinking much of the precaution. I have to admit I was not too mature to worry about the consequences in meeting the manager on the new position withouth notifying my existing acting team leader. Anyway it created a very negative image and I got a very bad performance review, they had indicated they will make a note and will train me with the necessary exposure for that post I wanted to go for in the following year. One year is too long for me.
While I took my leave and went to Hong Kong for a break, I have decided I would like to move to HK. I am not so sure at the time what really triggered the decision but it is quite clear now it is the inability to get promoted as a female and also as an asian. If you want to jump to something a little bit different, or a little bit senior the downside is often insufficient experience or even zero experience. I guess it come down to whether the egg and chicken problem.....if you want sales post but no actual sales skills - you do not get hired! How you attain sales skills is by having a sales job.......this is a dilema I am facing.
To move my life back to Hong Kong is not too hard as it seems at first. I got myself a job at a bank and the biggest difficulty for me is to bond, blend in and try to learn more of the local customs etc. Facing the financial crises, I was stuck with no promotion for 2 years while some male colleague has been promoted. During those years, I have seen how my peers having kids and how their working pattern had changed. I had no family planning plans for now or in the next two years. With my ambitious nature, I had always spend time submitting my resume to headhunters just to get myself in the market. During different interviews, I get very inappropriate questions on age and whether I am married........till this day I still see some agents asking the same question!!!
When I get to the pay question, I try to give a range and some response would be what is the minimum that you will accept......which I gave 10% of my current pay and it seems it got my CV to the bin at that time.
I am still soul searching at this moment and have different encounters with different people. Sheryl's book has pointed out a very obvious symptom in the current workplace. It is a very picture of how along her career to the top, what she has encounted, what other femail role models has encountered and how we all can make a change if we voice out and try to make a change.
Career being a "jungle gym", on a personal thought I believe I prefer a jungle than a ladder. I guess this is the best way to arm yourself for furture jobs. But when your CV is presented as a jungle.....people often detected a job hopper sign. There are still those who are hiring, who like to see a candidate is moving up on a ladder which I believe is not really matching what talent the business really need.
While I am currently living by my savings, I really hope I find my warzone very soon. Keep praying for me. In the meantime, I will work on this blog of mine!!! Feel free to share your experience.
I do recommend for anyone to read this book. Whether male or female, as your judgement would changed after reading this. Although it does not exactly tell you what you can do going forward but at least it get you thinking these questions and how you may move on.