"You're not in competition with other women. You're in competition with everyone." So goes Tina Fey's advice in her new book, Bossypants, to young women in the workplace.
Fey's advice couldn't be more true. Every day seems to bring more news of unemployment and low job creation in the United States. Although the so-called "man-cession" (more men being laid off than women) began to reverse in 2010, women are not catching up to men in the slow return to the workforce. Further, reports the National Association of Colleges and Employers, women who do manage to find work are paid 17 percent less than new male workers, despite the fact that they are just as likely to be hired.
Meanwhile, we are in the middle of college graduation season, when some 3 million young people are trying to enter a workforce with already four workers for every job opening. College-educated workers who remain unemployed face what is the longest unemployment duration in history, and may have to settle for work that did not require a college degree (known as "mal-employment"), thus having a trickle-down impact on those with less education.
Further, according to Harris Interactive, 59 percent of parents provide financial support to their adult children who are no longer in school. And an estimated 85 percent of new graduates are moving back in with their parents, at least partly to save money. As it happens, I fit all of these statistics.
Conditions are difficult all around, and the numbers seem designed to make us all feel less valuable in our respective workplaces. But according to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, women tend to feel less valuable in their workplaces, anyway.
"We will never close the achievement gap until we close the ambition gap," Sandberg told ...1
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