Do you sometimes ask yourself, “am I as successful as I can be”? “Am I making enough progress in my career?” Be careful. These questions can be rooted in a myriad of complex issues—especially for Latinas. We can experience self-doubt or harsh self-criticism just as a function of how others see us and by tuning in to the stereotypes about our community. We also continue to bear the brunt of gender inequities and discrimination: Latinas working full time earn 55 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. If you evaluate your success by the size of your paycheck, the harsh truth is that your earnings may be less a reflection of the value of your skills as much as the value society places on jobs traditionally held by Latinas or your employer’s lack of fair pay practices.
Self-reflection and taking stock of your career is however, essential for your success. Just make sure to look at your career success through the right lens.
The Latino values on family, community, resourcefulness and personal integrity should be part of your assessment process. These values distinguish us and frankly it is what our larger society needs of us now more than ever. Latinas should assess their success by turning attention to five important questions: Am I a continuous learner and using my knowledge and skills to my advantage and that of my community? Am I using my professional network to promote not only my career but others, too? Do I manage my personal brand consistently to position myself for new opportunities? Am I making good financial investments to care for family or to create options if I want to start my own business? Am I using my most precious resource—my time—to work carefully on my career, my family, my community?
Each of these questions amounts to hours of discussion or several blog posts. Let’s just look at one that greatly impacts the rest: Time. How do you use your time? It is the most precious resource you have to give and once given, you cannot get back. Successful executives use time wisely whether that’s an hour of a work day to study a key issue or a few weeks at a time in a class. They are very deliberate in scheduling and using time wisely. Unfortunately there’s plenty of data showing just how many distractions undermine our productivity—43% of workers claim talking with co-workers is their biggest drain on productivity—not surfing the web or social media! It’s not surprising. Who needs a telenovela when your co-worker is the real thing? This is a big hazard for Latinas because we can confuse empathy or support with hours on end of listening to the dramas of friends and family. We do this because of a sense of compassion based on our values around community and family. But when do you draw the line between compassion and “co-dependency”—a very real phenomenon of actually enabling or encouraging a person’s source of drama. It may seem harsh but your best response to the dramas around you may be to offer a suggestion or two and then set some boundaries about future discussions. Sometimes you’ll actually see real change in a situation only when you take a stand to promote healthy actions that lead to a positive resolution of a problem. Tell me how you set boundaries that help your success at Latina Cubicle Confidential™ or join me live at the next LatinaVIDA™