Barbara Moses: You certainly have a jaundiced view of the work world. I think as in anything else, there are jerks. But overall i don't agree with your assessment.
Globe Careers: Are there gender differences in terms of who is most likely to be demoted?
Barbara Moses: I would answer this with a more general statement- I think men are more disadvantaged than women are. many recruiters have told me, off the record, that if they had a choice between an older man and woman, all things being equal they would lean towards the woman...
Barbara Moses: Why? They said men do not demonstrate the same charm and emotional intelligence. For example, one said that when a man is fired he tends to present as being bitter. When a woman is fired, she tends to present as being thoughtful but ultimately more accepting. Less bitterness in other words, because men's sense of self is more tied to their work identity, while women tend to define themselves more broadly in terms of family, community, hobbies, friends, and so on.
Comment From Will
At what point do you throw in the towel, take a step back? Are there tell-tale signs that your time in the spotlight is over?
Barbara Moses: I don't know what you mean by throw in the towel. Just because your time in the limelight is over, it doesn't mean you should pack your bags. This may be a good time to reflect on how you want to design your next life chapter. Many learn when they do a rigorous self-assessment that being "IT" is no longer very rewarding, and they actually don't particularly care about that any more.
Comment From Will
What I mean is, at what point should you take a hint and stop trying to be the top dog?
Barbara Moses: I guess when others no longer see you as the top dog, or you don't want to be the top dog. In terms of the former- you can't fight reality. If for various reasons you star has fallen, you need to take note, and ask yourself: Now what? Fighting back will just make you bitter but won't solve anything.
Comment From Lin.
I'm interested in finding out why a woman being at an advantage? I would have assume the other way around based on my past employer's practices? Which seem to have more of the female workforce being let go or re-organized.
Barbara Moses: Well it certainly depends on the sector. If you are in a male-dominated sector such as engineering or manufacturing, investment banking, men may be at an advantage. But women tend to show greater interpersonal poise and their interest in others are strong selling points....
Barbara Moses: When an company is hiring a leader they are looking for someone who is emotionally generous, has less ego stake, and wants to develop younger workers. Women tend to excel on those dimensions.
Comment From mark
Can you suggest a rigorous self-assessment tool that would get one closer to the truth.i.e. top ten questions to ask oneself or by a job coach?
Barbara Moses: Ummm- this is a tough one, because I have written a book which does that and I also have an online career tool. That said, anything which provokes thought and provides you with an economical way of describing your strengths, values, work preferences, best/work environments, key work themes, and so on will do the trick.
Globe Careers: Barbara, what do you think about this reader's comments:
The consensus of opinion is, by 50 you have gone as far as your going to go in the corporate world. You either are in very senior position, or on the list to see the door. Little is in between.
Barbara Moses: I think it is true that you have likely gone as far as you can with your employer unless you are in a very senior role. But I don't think it is true that you are on the list to leave if you haven't attained that. Employers recognize and value smart competent self-managing people. they need people who are not necessarily stars but who can do a great job.
Globe Careers: That's all the time we have for questions today. Barbara, is there anything you'd like to add?
Barbara Moses: There are some tough realities today which can be a bitter pill to swallow, but these realities can also open up opportunities. Define your broadly and independently of your job titles. you play many roles in life- derive satisfaction from them.
Barbara Moses: Thank you for having me, and thank you readers for your great questions.
Globe Careers: Barbara, thank you for your time and insightful answers today. You can find columns by Barbara Moses on GlobeCareers.com.