At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll repeat myself once again: Latinas are underpaid. But we all already knew this.
Every year, there are numerous of efforts bringing how we are paid cents to the dollar in comparison to a white, non-Hispanic man. We get it because we see so many of our own hermanas y amigas going through this. Yet, as the years go by, I do notice that many of us are doing our best to help each other out. From hosting free webinars on how to get your money right to learning the art of negotiation, many Latina queens are coming to our rescue. However, there are things that sometimes seem out of control that is detrimental to our professional growth. Of course, the obvious factor is not being able to gain access to the seats that will open the doors to better compensation.
But there is something I think many Latinas seem to overlook. See, I don’t think a lot of us notice how many gatekeepers are around us. Gatekeepers are people – often the leaders most accessible to us –who hold the keys to things necessary for your career and decide not to let you in – for no damn valid reason.
Here’s the thing: So many of us are too busy trying to get ahead that we may turn a blind eye to people in close proximity jading your path. I know that’s been my case.
Upon reflecting and reviewing my professional plan, it became evident how gatekeeping was stalling my journey. Thankfully, with age and experience, I am able to recognize it as soon as it is happening. And now I want to share it with you.
Here’s how to spot a leader who is a gatekeeper:
They are vague
As we all know, there is no right or wrong time to do things. This also applies to your career. (This is considering you’ve prepared yourself properly whether it’s by going to school or taking necessary courses.) Sometimes you just have to dive in and hope for the best. However, if you have the right leaders by your side, they will guide you as you learn how to float by on your own. The wrong leader will tell you that you “need more time” without anything to back it up. Also, when you ask what you need to watch out for or what pillars you need to hit in order to understand that you’re ready, they respond vaguely. Their responses go something like this: “you’ll know” or “I’ll let you know.”
They omit things from you
There’s nothing like working in a transparent environment. That anxiety you get where you wonder if things are working or if you made the right call is almost nonexistent in a workplace that respects you and your mental health. Still, leaders who are gatekeepers are mum about what their activities are. For someone who is keen on growing, this is a disheartening situation to be in. The issues with this are that when things don’t pan out in whatever project or task at hand, you’ll be questioned about it – even if you had no clue what was going on behind the scenes.
They undermine your skills
I remember asking to shadow someone and the response I received was that I wasn’t going to get it because it takes a lifetime of experience to understand it. This is the wrong justification considering our skills can constantly be enhanced. We can do this by teaching ourselves and getting guidance from mentors, other leaders, and more. There’s nothing that says that you shouldn’t want to better yourself or skills. If anything, for ambitious Latinas, that’s our daily bread.
They tell that your only point of contact is them
There’s nothing that says “I’m doing things wrong” than having a leader tell you not to go over them. Though it’s true that many “higher-ups” can’t be bothered with daily issues, there’s always HR. Don’t be afraid to speak up. I know having financial security is important, but you deserve to be respected in your workplace. If you want to do it safely, make sure you have job lined up before you start ruffling any feathers. Te entiendo, so por si las moscas.
What I learned from these experiences is that your leaders and mentors should feel no qualms when helping you get to the next level of your career. It is probably the most selfless act anyone can have in the professional world.
Have you ever dealt with a leader who’s a gatekeeper?