The Broad Experience: Guilt at work holds you back

 

woman work job
The energy you use saying “sorry” can better serve you in other areas.

If you’re female, chances are you’ve felt guilty about something work-related lately. Maybe you’re convinced you said the wrong thing during a meeting, or perhaps you’ve had to miss a soccer game or parent/teacher conference because you were on the job. Women do guilt really well. Many of us say “sorry” repeatedly and obsess over minor mistakes.

The trouble with guilt is that it’s a wasted emotion. It doesn’t propel you forward; it holds you back. Instead of wallowing in regret, you could actually be using that energy to get something done.

The reason many women feel so much guilt is that, at our core, many of us believe we’re screwing up if we’re not meeting the stereotype of the ideal woman. You know her: She looks great, she does everything perfectly (at home and at work), she’s a great mother, and she’s really nice.

Jodi Detjen, co-author of “The Orange Line – A Woman’s Guide to Integrating Career, Family and Life,” says women have imbibed centuries’ worth of rules about how we should behave, and sticking to them is harming our careers.

“We only feel guilt because we believe we’re breaking a rule,” says Detjen. She urges women to question those age-old assumptions. Only when they do that, she says, will more women free themselves up to excel in the workplace.

“Why do we feel guilty if we’re dropping our kid off at day care? We should feel good about making money for our family,” she says. We suffer, of course, because society has had ideas about a “woman’s job” since, well, forever.

How to overcome guilt:

• Ask yourself why you’re feeling guilty. It’s likely you’re seeing your life through what Detjen calls “the feminine filter” — an outdated lens that dictates what a woman should be. Have the strength to question it. Why should you “be” anything?

• Negotiate to determine household and career duties with your partner if and when you can. Detjen was miserable for years after she put her career aside, raising two boys, telling herself motherhood was more important. Then, she realized her career was vital to her — and her household’s — happiness. She and her husband negotiate a lot about who will be where, when.

• If you feel you have upset someone at work, or made an error, apologize once, then move on. Being “nice” doesn’t require self-flagellation and multiple apologies.

Ashley Milne-Tyte is a radio producer and reporter based in New York City. She hosts a bi-monthly podcast called “The Broad Experience” about women in the workplace. Listen to how an expert CEO manages her personal and private lives on”The Broad Experience” by clicking below.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Local

MAP: New York City street closures, September 19,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on September 19, 20 and 21. There will be many streets and…

Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Television

'Outlander' Season 1, Episode 7: 'The Wedding'

Claire and Jamie are man and wife!!! Like, ALL THE WAY, if you know what we mean. (Twice.)

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…