Five Ways to Deal with the Glass Ceiling

A business man and business woman on opposite sides of a balanced scale

Equality at work just doesn’t exist. Even in today’s professional world, some people still face the glass ceiling — the invisible barrier that prevents them from reaching the top management positions. They are less likely to be promoted because of gender, religion, social class, age, and so on. For instance, most women still struggle to get promoted and have to try twice as hard as men to climb the career ladder — and only a very small percentage of them make it to the top.

The glass ceiling is real, and it is a difficult problem to solve. However, just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here are five ways to break through the glass ceiling.

1. Plan for success

Start with determining what you want from your work. Once you have decided on your goals, you should make a plan on how to accomplish those goals. Try to volunteer to complete challenging tasks and projects to increase your visibility and show that you are a problem-solver. Make sure to take advantage of the available opportunities and make an effort to get noticed. Most successful people don’t just sit and wait for opportunities to come to them — they are looking for those opportunities by themselves. By planning your career strategy, you can increase your chances of achieving your career goals.

2. Build a network

Building a network is one of the most important things you need to do in order to advance your career. Unfortunately, not everyone has networking on the top of their to-do lists, and that’s a big mistake. Networking can be incredibly beneficial to your professional growth. Of course, your busy schedule can make it hard to find some time for networking, but try to set a goal of building at least five new connections in the near future. When you understand the importance of developing new connections, networking events will become much easier to prioritize.

A business woman shakes hands with a business man

3. Let go the idea of “having it all”

Wanting to “have it all” can hurt your success. You cannot have a perfect career life and a perfect home life all at once. It’s an unrealistic model that ultimately will hurt your performance both at work and with your family. You will often face difficult choices — you can either miss the important meeting at work because one of your kids is begging you to help with an essay, or you can attend the meeting and disappoint your kid. Instead of “having it all,” try to focus on which one needs your attention the most.

Successful women also just focus on the task at hand. For instance, when they are at work, they give 100% of their time to their job. When they are at home, they give 100% of their time to their family. It’s as simple as that. You should give 100% of what you are doing right then and there, and do the best you can.

What else successful women have in common? They aren’t afraid to ask for help. If you can, why not delegate certain tasks to someone else? That way, you can spend more time with your kids and be able to better balance your work and home life.

But the most important thing is to remember that what matters most is how you feel about your life. And if you feel happy, then isn’t that “having it all” already?

4. Boost your confidence to boost your career

If you don’t believe in yourself, how can anyone else believe in you? Lack of confidence can hold you back from taking new opportunities and hence from getting promoted. Even highly educated and talented people suffer from it. Lack of confidence prevents you from taking challenging assignments and applying for new positions. You spend more time thinking and worrying about what other people think about you and your decisions instead of being focused on your professional growth. So, from now on try to boost your confidence and believe that you can handle any task.

A person climbs up the

5. Don’t be afraid to fail

We all love to stay in our comfort zone, and stepping outside it usually brings us the idea of failure. But, if you want to continue to grow professionally, you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Push yourself to take risks on a regular basis and don’t be afraid of failure. When you have a fear of failure at work, it is more than possible that you will not volunteer when a new opportunity comes up. Hence, you can miss out on a promotion, for instance. Fear of failure can work against you and hold back your professional growth.

Even though the glass ceiling still persists at the highest levels of business, you can use some of our tips to break it for good. Remember that a great career doesn’t happen unthinkingly — you need to plan it and have some good strategies. Promotion is a product of many factors — your own hard work, networking, and feedback from other professionals. So, don’t quit on your dreams and start planning your career as soon as you possibly can!

Author’s Bio: Emma Rundle is a certified Career Development Facilitator. She has written several books on job searching, career planning and workplace problems. When she isn’t working on a new book or an essay for EduBirdie, Emma loves to spend time with her kids and dog.

Filed under: Advice

Glass Ceiling