It is a known fact, that despite being accepted in the workforce, women face more challenges than men in business environment. The usual and obvious challenges include the difference in pay, the possibility of breaking through the glass ceiling, etc. you get the picture. Being a woman and trying to break through requires a lot of patience, self control and ambition to succeed. So here are a few challenges that I have come across, and you may wish to add some more or disagree with a few after you have read the article.

Working with men: working with men is a challenge and at the same time serves as motivation to succeed. Some men can make it tough on a woman in a workplace, as they still live in the last century and do not consider woman's voice to matter. Most men, however, do enjoy working with women, as we do bring a breath of fresh air into the team. the danger: men, especially single men, can try and  flirt just to see if there is a possibility of romance. This of course can be a start of a beautiful romance or a major trap for a woman. If it is true love, then one or the other would have to leave the company, as most companies have it in the staff regulations that inter-staff relationships are not accepted.

Working with women: working with women is even more challenging than working with men. Women can be sly and sneaky and some women can have hidden agendas. The sad thing is when a woman cannot impress with her quality of work, she resorts to seduction. Seduction is used as the most common technique to progress in career for a woman. The challenge for a woman that doesn't actually need to use seduction, as she can impress with the quality of her work, is indeed in the fact that once a man has been seduced he becomes blind. He cannot see or hear anything apart from that one person that he has in mind. Aside from seduction, quite commonly, in a team with women one may notice jealousy. Let's admit jealousy is often a cause for drama when it comes to women. And sadly, jealousy provokes the willingness for a revenge or payback, which clearly creates distress and may result in bullying. However, a woman would hardly go to such lengths when it comes to the male business partners, as women are generally a much easier target.

Age: the challenge of balancing all ages in a workplace has become more and more of a contemporary issue. When a young and talented woman enters a workforce, sometimes she can be misjudged or can be a victim of prejudice. However, it is normal that some people succeed at a younger age whereas other have to work for years before their break through. If only it was that simple and everyone could understand. 

At a workplace, your colleagues can become friends, but you do not have to be liked by everyone to succeed. In fact, someone once told me, if you have made enemies (or people that dislike you) that means you have something to stand up for. At the end of the day the illusion of making everyone happy, has to disappear, as it is not possible. Trust me, I tried. After the failed attempt, I realised that it is not in making everyone happy that you become successful, but by keeping the right attitude and by finding a way to communicate with everyone that you will find peace at work.

Bullying. I have become a victim of such bullying at work by someone who genuinely things has the upper hand in the argument. The thing is, if the person would have only insulted my work, I could at least argue with her and present her with facts. However, the person has made it clear that the issue is not professional but personal and has insulted and criticised my personality. I was always told, that no matter how tough the argument, you never never never get personal. Sadly, bullying is a big problem not only at work but also in high schools and universities. If the person is strong, they will learn from this and recover. If the person, however, is sensitive and easily influenced it will take them more time to recover. It is a big challenge/big issue and some managers struggle with daily. How do you deal with a situation like this? Do you fire the bully? Bullying can provoke paranoia and result in serious psychological consequences.

Leadership styles: one of the biggest challenges at work is also adapting to Leadership style of the Senior Management or the Board of Directors. Sometimes, when it is a clear mismatch you have to leave, slamming the doors. I am a true believer that there should be a connection between management and staff-otherwise, the work will be ineffective. It is worth taking a note of this when hiring a new employee, and ensure that the hiring process is not compromising the values of the company. 

The list of the challenges at work is never-ending and can be edited and re-written on numerous occasions. These are the few key challenges that come to my mind. Would you agree?

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Published by Karina Saakyan