I know how that probably makes me sound, but I honestly never knew there was a glass ceiling. Granted I was raised in a very old-fashioned household with a stay-at-home mom, but still it should have registered once I started working, right?
At first I thought my inability to find meaningful employment was a lack of education. After all education is the great equalizer, right? So I threw myself into a decade long academic adventure feeling sure that once I reached the end I would surely have a career that was not only meaningful but would lead to the paycheck I had always wanted.
My lack of job opportunities or pay had nothing to do with me being female. That was ludicrous, right? I worked in an office. None of what I did required physical strength.
I did advance in my career but it was usually by finding a different job for a company that was willing to pay me more. There was a title or two thrown in there as I advanced within the same company eventually, but it always ended the same.
My boss stood in between me and any meaningful contribution I could make to the company. It was only after this happened a few times that I began to wonder if there was something going on that was out of my control.
Then I looked down and saw the problem. I’m a female and some – SOME – couldn’t look past that. Even now I’m confused because I could have helped all those companies I worked for – even the one that was owned and run by a woman…
I’ll let that sink in for a moment.
That was when it registered that ‘The Glass Ceiling’ was a real thing. Of course it’s just a catchy phrase for discrimination, but it’s real. I didn’t want it to be real because I am so much more than female. I didn’t spend 10 years of my life going to college just to be treated a certain way because of my gender.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I believe there are tons of mitigating circumstances that can cause anyone to not advance in their career. For me it was my horrendous attitude for a lot of those years. Once I earned a degree or two I felt entitled to a lot. I forgot that these companies didn’t really owe me anything other than a paycheck.
And at the end of the day I wasn’t the boss. And even my boss couldn’t do everything he wanted to do. So when his boss told him no it trickled down to me.
So maybe the glass ceiling isn’t so much about gender or race but about how companies in general treat their employees. They feel entitled to treat their workers anyway they want since they are paying them. These companies are doing their workers a favor by hiring them, right?
It would be so much easier if there was a physical ‘glass ceiling’ and after jumping through a few whoops an employee was handed a small hammer and allowed to break it to advance to the next level. But that would mean that there was any rhyme or reason as to how these companies were run. Oh, and that these companies actually cared about the well-being of their employees.
The good news is that this ‘glass ceiling’ isn’t all-encompassing. It’s not like the ozone layer. It’s more localized to each company. So it’s possible to get out from under it and advance. The trick is to find out how high you want to go and then find a company that will get you there.
For those of us who travel a little left of center that can be hard to find but I’m not giving up. It doesn’t matter how many times I hit my head, I’m not giving up.