Superpowers (cont’d)

In a previous blog (see “The Superpower I Didn’t Want”) I wrote about becoming invisible. That can happen in everyday life, but it can happen at work too.
I’m lucky enough to work for a company with “fairness” running through its centre like a stick of rock, and yet there still aren’t too many women at the top, and sometimes I wonder why. When there isn’t discrimination squashing women down, why aren’t they rising up the ranks? Is it something we do?
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to go to a fantastic 2-day conference with work. The subject of glass ceilings came up in the informal discussions of the first day, and I found myself in the privileged position of debating the topic with some of the smartest and most successful women I’ve ever met.
Unfortunately I had to leave that conference early due to an emergency at home, and there was no doubt in my mind that it was the right, and only thing to do. I’m lucky enough to have solid and real support at work in that kind of circumstance, but from a less supportive company it would have been a great excuse to treat those couple of days of invisibility to slide the glass ceiling into place, and leave me banging on it for ever more.
Of course, a problem at home isn’t exclusive to women, and it isn’t the only reason why a woman might choose to put her job aside for a while, but it serves as an example of how work can sometimes take second place to a life outside. In my opinion that’s just as it should be, but I can also kind of understand that, for those driven, passionate individuals who have succeeded in the workplace at the highest levels, to see a promising person (who might be a woman) pass up an opportunity must be incredibly frustrating. And that surely must lead to the temptation to give the next opportunity to the next promising person (who might not be a woman). See how that glass ceiling is closing in?
But it’s not all double glazing and toughened windscreens. What if we could metapohorically turn that glass ceiling into a mirror, to reflect ourselves back as others see us? What if we could use that vision to decide if we like what we see, where we want to go, and then work out how we can change things if we want to?

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