Susan's blog: Year End Recalibration
Outwardly, I appear to be confident, and to some extent, I am. However it has become more and more clear to me that somewhere over the years I have allowed myself to skew the lines between self worth and entitlement. And that somewhere is further back than I care to remember. I cannot lay this blame on anyone else. I own my own agency on this flawed and learned behaviour.
For clarity, it is important to note that culturally, entitlement is seen as the worst of the worst. A social sin. An indulgence. A bourgeois notion that has no place in our lives and is there to be chipped away at until it erodes your spirit. Add to that the gender nuance, and it makes for a very tightrope-type issue.
I’ve had a few interactions of late that have led to the perfect storm that has brought on this epiphany.
My boss’s boss challenged me to ask him for a payrise. ‘ You have a tailwind behind you – just ask’. So I did my research, found a gap in market rate and my earnings, and factually raised it. At no point was there pushback, but somehow, days later, I found I rowed back on the topic, and said, maybe we target this rise over a longer timeframe. Some weeks later, the same man asks me have I given any thought to my request. I go silent. For fear I will be seen as some entitled ego-inflated crone.
One of my direct reports became so challenged by my weekly meetings and update requests that he descended into an aggressive spiral of airing all his grievances in how I do things. Having been fully gaslight and while engulfed in the respective flames, I allowed myself feel that maybe I am not entitled to manage him. That I am above my station. Weeks later, as my self worth realisation is taking hold, I remind myself this is not free range management.
And then there is the clincher - just getting on with it. For full disclosure I have not always had that temperament . I think it came when I had my first child. I picked myself up after having the baby, and since then have just powered on with only slight wobbles along the way. But that comes at a large cost. For 8 years, I have been responsible for the childcare within our household, while working full time too. Although I have expressed frustration at this intermittently, it gets to a point, where I am made to feel that I am just moaning. And so I once more do what I have done before; dust myself down, and plough through.
But it has led me to wonder what sort of example am I creating for my own children. There is no need for them , or me, to be a martyr nor to compromise on respect. Would I rather they were entitled to feel that they deserve to be treated well, to be respected, and to kick up a fuss where necessary? Or would I rather they just get on with it?
My New Year’s resolution is to break the cycle, and to do so for them.