Essays

To advocate for one self

I don’t like bullies.

The moment someone really starts to get to know me, they discover that really quick. I don’t like bullies. I don’t like it when folks through their weight around, whether it’s a teacher who is deliberately picking on students, a friend who is being a brat to someone else, or even one of my own parent’s who have crossed a line.

I don’t like it.

At work, this has played out in me mentoring, a lot. To me, it’s like breathing. I like to see people who are junior be given the opportunities that they want. I like helping my peers gain perspective on challenging situations. I even like helping folks who are senior to me, whether in experience or in title, to also gain perspective on things they may not initially consider. This is how my “not liking bullies” tends to play out: in advocacy for others.

However, I’m a terrible advocate for myself. According to HBR, women don’t negotiate for salaries very well for a number of reasons. I hate being a statistic, but I must admit that it steps into an area that has been partial blindspot and partial uncomfortable space for me.

In a way, I wish I had a mentor or peer to do the work for me, very often because I do that for others. At the same time, as I now have the space to step back and consider it, that is a real cop out of my own part. My approach has defaulted to stepping into a “new place”, i.e., leave a job and go further up the ladder via that method, versus staying in the existing arena and working it through. It’s easier to do the former, but when something has become too comfortable and easy, it’s a sign you may have stopped growing.

Therefore, I think it’s time I grew a little. (I’m so excited, can’t you tell?) It comes down to this question: If I have spent my career helping others and teaching them to empower themselves, perhaps it is time I did the same for myself?

One thought on “To advocate for one self

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