Sit on the table

sit on table 2

My Dear Luck,

You have been playing an elusive game with many of us. Sometimes you run out when the salary raise is just expected, sometimes you run away when the boss is assigning an important project and sometimes you are so mean, you run out when all tides are in favour, but just you, just you go missing.

There is no answer to your running away. There is no answer to why you do what you do. Your favorites are sometimes the least probable people of the gang. Your choices for showering love can be questioned anyday.

Look at my case, I have worked hard and sincerely all my life. I didn’t ask for raises because I thought my work will shine and the raise will come. I didn’t chase leaning towards bosses because I always got their attention on work. I felt I should have been in the top bracket of raise. But, I didn’t get any. I felt, I was hard working, intelligent, truthful and fire brand. But without you, dear Luck… I didn’t succeed. I got large projects to work on but not the money or recognition. I got bigger roles in projects but not the designation. I got respect by peers and business associates, but no fancy cabin.

Dear Luck, why do you always run away? How do I find you?

Dear Luck, when would you shine on me?

Yours truly,

Meager Raise Girl

 

Dear Meager Raise Girl,

Have you seen a movie called Zero Dark Thirty? It is the film based on the ten long years of search for Osama Bin Laden after the gory 2011 attack at USA.

A crisply edited film, ten years crunched in two and half hours, is about CIAs international manhunt for the Al Qaeda leader, Osama bIn Laden. Gruelling, frustrating experiences of the CIA team maneuvers the pace of the film. Actually, it is not the team’s experience, it is about the lady CIA, Maya, who leads in finding the base. There is a scene, when her boss and the department have to present the status of the operation to their higher authorities, she is invited in the boardroom during the presentation, she is guided to sit on the side chairs instead of the main table. And then, from the sides she answers a pertinent question proving that she is the one who has been in charge of the case. In another instance, when they confirm the location of Bin Laden, Maya is urging her boss to permit to attack. Like a ticking clock, she is shown to urge her boss by writing the number of days on his cabin’s glass wall… 55..65…320…

When I watched the movie, around the same time I was reading Lean In. And the author of the book, Sheryl Sandberg’s suggestion to ‘sit on the table’ came alive in the movie. In the chapter, Sit on the table she explains the reason to come forward confidently. In an instance she mentions how during a meeting, when she requests members to sit, a group of women took the side seats instead of the table. Sheryl writes, ‘they seemed like spectators rather than participants.’

It struck Sheryl that women do not come forward on their own. In the same book, she narrates an instance of hiring a young lady, Priti Choksi, who became a mother a few months after joining the job. But, during her interview, Priti didn’t ask about any maternity related questions however Sheryl, going by her experience brought up the subject. Lean In, is a beautiful concept to say, join in and ask.

While Maya, the CIA agent in the movie, is a fictional CIA case, her story is very similar to the to Priti and many working women. I am placing these stories of Zero Dark Thiry, Lean in to make you understand that your problem is not unique.

Sitonthetable

My dear Meagre Raise Girl, while we work diligently and efficiently, it is also important to see that you are not pushed on the sides, that you are not just a spectator, but a participant in the business of your own career. And if you are, like the CIA agent, you have to speak up and speak louder to be heard. By raising your thoughts, chances are you will get a response to further act upon. It is your career. It is your earning. It is your definition of what you deserve that needs to be aligned with the goals that you define. We women are inherently shy of asking unless the results are out. So my dear girl, ask yourself- have you asked for a raise? Does he respect your view on the subject?

Be assertive, never disrespect anyone but fight for your right, and never let your voice be not heard. If there is respect for you and your work, you need to nudge more, ask more, raise your voice a little more. You need to sit on the table.

You are not alone.

Yours Truly,

Luck

 

 

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