Q. 2 When I was getting my business degree I had high hopes of climbing to the top of an organization. But now, after working here four years, and counting how few women hold power positions, I wonder if it's realistic to think I'll ever be in more than middle management at best. And I'm not even there yet. I'm still working the phones all day. I wonder if I have to have some personal connection with someone upstairs to actually get ahead.
Ans. It helps, but there are other strategies. You can try to seek a mentor on a higher level by attending every meetings you can, and striking up conversations with executives wherever you meet them in the building, letting people know you are there-and what good work you are doing. Also be sure and send copies of your accomplishments to your boss, and your boss' bosses every time you have some success on the job. In addition, check out " The Next Generation of Women Leaders: What You Need to Lead but Won't Learn in Business School" (Praeger $29.95) by Salena Rezvani. She advises women who want to move up to ask for what they want and make their career aspirations known. She also suggests you begin to work with your boss to craft an advancement plan. If you do all that, and get no response, put out feelers for another job. But don't quit this one until you have it solidly lined up.