Latina Cubicle Confidential™ — Do You Need a Career Check-Up?

By Dr. Maria G. Hernandez
Latina Cubicle Confidential™

At some point in your career you may feel like you’re stuck in neutral. ¡Ni adelante, ni al revés!

You have tried for a promotion, a project lead, or you want to move to another job and nothing seems to be working. Researchers have found that when Latinas feel stuck in a job we tend to leave in search for a better opportunity rather than lobby for something better.

Others decide to become their own boss and pursue the entrepreneurial life. Moving on to a better workplace or a better career is all good. Yet, if that feeling of being stuck returns again however, it’s time to ask some tough questions about what’s holding you back?

Like a good health check-up, here are three questions smart Latinas ask during a career check up:

What do all of my skills say about my potential?

This isn’t just a question about having a degree or certification for your job. This is also about the support skills that you have to maintain regardless of your role — technology, presentation, project management, business writing and financial reporting.

Technology skills, for example, keep changing and that email you accidentally replied to all when it was meant for just one person can be more than embarrassing. It can make people question your capabilities. And a fear of public speaking can also stifle your career. You may have all the knowledge to offer but if you turn shy in public, then it’s tough to get noticed.

The good news is that these skills typically don’t require anything more than attending a series of workshops, joining a professional association, or reading up on new trends. Make the investment in yourself and keep up on those skills. The new world of work truly requires continuous learning.

What kind of impression do I make on key people?

Today’s workplace environment can include a range of formal and informal interactions that are assessed through the lens of your company’s culture. Look around and see how those who get noticed manage their image and set their own leadership brand.

Are you comfortable making presentations that fit the corporate culture? Do you speak up in meetings like your colleagues? Your reputation is a based on a myriad of factors: communication style, quality of work product, and yes, how you dress.

If you have doubts about those, ask for feedback from trusted advisors. You are the master of your “professional brand”. Find out if brand YOU is drawing attention for all the right reasons.

What’s my attitude at work?

Most managers want to have people who give 100% and approach problems with a “can-do” spirit. This does not mean that you need to be constantly cheerful or the proverbial Pollyanna. Yet, if you are the person who consistently volunteers to submit the latest complaint on behalf of the team, beware of the price you’ll pay.

You may choose to be the messenger but your boss may begin to see you as the one focused on what’s wrong and not what’s right. Offering up constructive criticism needs to be balanced with other news or commentary.

The other deadly attitude to bring to work is apathy. If your boss thinks you don’t care about the team, the work quality, or your own productivity — you’ll soon find yourself in less visible roles, less responsibility and yes, potentially out of a job.

Your smart Latina career check-up is just one way to get charged up about your career and help yourself move forward.

Tell me about your journey and what’s helped you keep moving forward and focused on the future.

Join me at LatinaVIDA.

Dr. Maria G. Hernandez has 20 years experience consulting in both the United States and Mexico to senior executives in Fortune 50 companies and facilitated change initiatives for elected officials and their staff. She has worked in academia, business, nonprofits, technology startups, and public agencies. For more information, visit Latina Cubicle Confidential™.

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