Is There Room At The Top?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Greetings Divas! And welcome to another week of grinding! I’ve got a very interesting and controversial topic to discuss with you. I know I may ruffle a few feathers on this one, but we’re all grown, and mature, and capable of spirited conversation, correct? That’s what I thought! So, here’s my question to you:

Do you think that women who have achieved a high level of success are adequately mentoring less senior women in their professions?

It’s a valid question right? This question arose as a result of a few conversations that I have had with friends and fellow Professional Divas. The overall sentiment seemed to be that highly successful women are not eager to mentor up-and-coming women in their professions for fear of being dethroned. (What!) These Divas seem to think that the women at their respective places of employment keep all of their jewels of success and advancement to themselves. They don’t make themselves available to teach, and they kind of take a “get to the top on your own like I did and stop asking for a hand out” type of attitude. I even heard one story where a less senior woman sought the advice of a seasoned female attorney regarding how to take a deposition, only to be scolded with a “didn’t you learn that in law school!” (I Can’t) So now here’s my other question:

Are seasoned women in Corporate America threatened by the new Diva on the block?

Another valid question! Before you answer this question, take a look at the relationships amongst the senior and junior men in your workplace. Aren’t they always helping each other out? Aren’t the senior men always willing to take a “protégé” under their wing, and show him the ropes, and help him inch up the corporate latter? Why is this concept so taboo for women? Well, I have an opinion, and here it is:

I think that accomplished women are of the mindset that they have fought extremely hard to achieve success in their respective field, often without the guidance and support that had been afforded their male counterparts. I think that these circumstances may create a feeling of isolation, and a little bit of resentment. In turn, the new Diva at the office bears the brunt of this resentment when she seeks to form a mentoring relationship with an accomplished female co-worker. It is also my opinion that this type of neck-biting is common, yet unnecessary. Each one, teach one, right?

Is there room at the top for more than one?

Of course there is! If there weren’t enough room, then why are there so many men coexisting together at the top? Sharing the success and wealth? And guess who is not up there with them? Women! Do you see my point? Yes, business is business, and as women we typically have to claw and fight our way to the top, but sharing a bit of wisdom with a junior female colleague can only enhance your fabulousness.

I know there are going to be quite a few people who disagree with me, and I’m okay with that! In fact, I would love to get the opinions of others on this issue. But let me leave you with a quick thought: Us Professional Divas lose credibility in a discussion regarding the lack of high-ranking women in any profession if we proactively divorce ourselves from mentoring one another. 

And on that note (as I step off my soapbox) what do you Divas think?


Donna Urso said...

Yes, this is a controversial subject. When I started in corporate America there were very few women in postions to mentor me. As more and more women achieved success, more of them were willing to mentor others-both women and men. I was willing to mentor others and actively worked to move worhty female colleagues forward throughout my corporate career. I don't think women develop loyalty in the same way men do though. Men have other men's backs-no matter what. Women do not (in my experience).

Anonymous said...

While I know that this situation exists, I’ve thankfully never seen it in action. As an Engineer turned Project Manager I’ve always been in a male dominated environment so the few women that were around stuck together. Women are generally catty and I can imagine how, in fields where more women exist, this could be a big issue.

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