Job Qualifications

The issue of whether or not you are qualified for a new career is the subject of much of this book. It is probably more simple, and at the same time, more complex, than you thought. In fact, "qualified" means different things to different people, even when they are talking about the same position. Melia and Lyttle, authors of Why Jenny Can't Lead, explain that when those in a position to promote others talk about qualified, they usually mean "politically ept." Women, on the other hand, usually consider qualified to mean "technically competent." They often can't understand why unproductive, incapable people keep getting promoted around them. The fact is, they may be considered more politically ept.

Betty Harragan discussed the word qualified in 1980 in her famous book, Games Mother Never Taught You. She said the word is used constantly and indiscriminately and that it actually turns out to be a magic word like abracadabra. Most of us need only hear one comment that we may not be "qualified," before we back down, rather than question the definition of the word.

You may assume that your lack of job qualifications comes from a lack of formal education or experience in specific duties. This is a common female misconception. All around you there are men and women who have no more education or experience and sacrifice no more for their career than you, yet they earn three times your income. You need to learn which "qualifications" are important and what behavior is standing in your way, and then adjust your style. You need to learn the rules of the game. Playing them is much easier after that.


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