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 It’s likely you’re seeing your life through what Detjen calls “the feminine filter” — an outdated lens that dictates what a woman should be.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
Local

Philly gets Flyered up at Flyers pep rally…

Monty Gee doesn't need another rally. He's ready for the parade. The loud and boisterous and colorfully clothed big man has lived and breathed Philadelphia…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Local

Police seek mother of slain 11-year-old on involuntary…

Police are seeking the mother of an 11-year-old girl who was accidentally shot to death by her 2-year-old brother two weeks ago on involuntary manslaughter…

Local

Chestnut Hill College student found dead Wednesday morning

A 22-year-0ld Chestnut Hill College student was found dead this morning inside a college dormitory, police said.

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

Books

Becoming friends with New York City's oldest known…

"The Life and Times of Richard Musto" tells the story, through a poem, of the oldest known homeless man in New York City.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

Wellbeing

Oh baby: Scientists find protein that lets egg…

By Will DunhamWASHINGTON (Reuters) - You can forget about the birds and the bees. If you really want to learn how babies are made, you…

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.