Self advocacy...why is it so torturous to perform?

Asking for a raise or a bonus…rewriting your resume for a possible promotion…sticking up for yourself when others (like your superior, for example) try to (quietly or obviously) take credit for your work…

These are all situations which I find about as comfortable as bamboo wedges being slowly tapped under my fingernails.

I just updated my resume and applied for a sudden and unexpected promotion opportunity. Last week it was quasi-mutinous meetings with other worker bees as we plotted how we could succeed in asking for (and receiving) compensation for the “above and beyond” effort that seems to be perpetually expected yet immediately forgotten once it occurs. Regardless, for weeks I’ve been literally squirming at just the idea of putting myself under the “look at me!” microscope.

I’d much prefer to just quietly chip away at my work load while grand celebrations of appreciation are plotted by my altruistic and encouraging bosses, but of course cancelled in exchange for a nice, fat check in consideration of my modesty. :smiley:

Ok fine, that’s quite the pipe dream, but it is probably more likely than me getting over whatever social programming I’m experiencing. Just about anything else is more endurable than blowing my own horn.

I’m the same way but in my personal relationships.

I really can’t complain.
I mean, it is impossible for me to complain. I can’t say, it’s your turn to do the dishes, or clean the cat box or why did you quit that job, or what’s up with those hickies on your neck. I just can’t do it.

Because being comfortable feels so good. Everyday something is “going on”, or you have to do something. Not asking for that raise means that you don’t have to ruffle the feathers, and things can remain calm. But if you want that raise, first you gotta ask, then you gotta haggle. Now you have to wait for a response, then your asshole boss will try to haggle you. You say no, now he’s gotta go haggle his boss. It is all too stressful and can last weeks, even months. Not to mention follow-ups, “hey bob, how’s that raise comming along?” Some just don’t ask for the things they want and can remain content with their choices. Most don’t though. It’s the quiet ones you gotta watch. :dubious:

I’m sure it’s partly because we really hate it when somebody else brags. Is there anything worse than having to listen to some blowhard talk up how great they are? Especially when they aren’t so great?

Nobody wants to be that jerk. So you don’t want to overstate your accomplishments. But, then, you don’t really want to understate them, either, or let somebody else take credit for you work. But then you have to brag. Blah, blah, blah, I did this, blah blah, I did that.

Argh. I agree, it’s terribly uncomfortable.

I cross-posted this on another board that I frequent (with pretty much exclusively feminazi women readership), and this is the only response I’ve gotten so far:

This certainly isn’t the first I’ve heard of this argument, and while I agree that it has some validity, I think there is at least a layer of social conditioning in this regard that is independent of gender, and falls more in line with Podkayne’s comments.

It seems like the system in place in the average workplace (at least in the US) only has room for random, periodic spurts of self-advocacy. If everyone was in that mode all the time, as ParentalAdvisory mentioned, nothing would get done because too much attention would be devoted to what has been done in the past. Further, I think middle-management is well aware of this situation and uses the fall out as feul for their own progress up the ladder. Individuals only profit from their progress and accomplishments when given the (comparatively rare) opportunity to apply for a promotion or negociate a raise. Meanwhile, middle-management profits on the progress and accomplishment perpetrated by their underlings the rest of the time, which is most of the time.

Self-advocacy, when done correctly, in a manner that gets results, can be a lot of work. Stuff like networking, exercising diplomacy and tact, and figuring out exactly what to say, and who to say it to can be scary and time-consuming.

Also, for women it probably is harder to self-advocate or promote. It’s unfortunate but true that many people in upper management are still men. Men tend to be more assertive and direct, while women are often taught that assertiveness is akin to bitchiness and is unattractive. Also, women don’t like to make others feel bad, and tend to prefer self-advocating more subtly: a lot of women are under the impression that if they do a good job, their boss will notice and will reward them accordingly. While in a perfect world, that would be true, many bosses don’t realize it when someone’s done a good job unless it’s brought to their attention. Many women are taught that it’s ugly and rude to “toot your own horn,” or call attention to good performance. It’s often considered the same as bragging. However, well-placed “tooting” or bragging is often what gets you noticed and promoted.

I think a lot of people are held back by lack of effort (you have to market something to get people to buy it), shyness, and sometimes even social ineptness.

It’s funny how most CEOs can make someone feel really good about themselves and their business really easily, and can get others to trust them, yet they can hardly even operate their own computers and may be assholes to their own staff. Still, no matter how technically challenged they are, many people in higher management get their jobs not because of their skills, but because of who they know and the types of relationships they build with their contacts.