Invisible at Work

This article is about being invisible at work.

Your Career Coach

Invisible at Work

Dear Michele,

I am beginning to realize that I am more and more invisible at work. It’s like I’m shut out of meetings, get left off memo distribution, forgotten when assignments are made. When I’m in meetings and say something, people roll their eyes or talk over me. It’s like I don’t exist. As a result, I’m more and more nervous and probably don’t handle meetings well.

I do have friends in the office, but in terms of doing my work it’s very weird. I’m 38 and have been at this job for four years. Is there anything I can do?

– Invisa Girl

Dear Invisa,

Sometimes work culture takes on a personality, and women can get caught in the crosshairs. Especially if you are a working mom who comes in right on time — and leaves exactly on time, too. If your work culture values staying late, or partying after work and you opt out of that value – you can begin to be excluded. If this sounds like where you are, and you’re not willing to accept the group values in your office, it is probably time to find a new job.

Another scenario you might consider is one women often find themselves in: we get stuck in a subordinate role and fail to exert our power to assume a leadership position. For instance, if a woman is a manager yet persists in taking on administrative, “secretarial” tasks – she won’t be seen as a manager. She’ll be seen as a subordinate.

If you relate to this example, begin to take small steps toward holding on to your power. You might start with standing up for yourself by asking to be included on memos or in meetings. You might, when interrupted, say, “Let me finish what I’m saying.” Instead of getting nervous and shrinking, try being calm – and being as big as you are meant to be.

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