do I need to give up an impressive business contact who’s hitting on me? — Ask a Manager

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager and I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer wondering if she needed to give up an impressive business contact who was hitting on her? Here’s the update.

I can’t believe that it’s been 6 years since I wrote to you. I’m still a keen follower, and I think years of reading the best way to go about things has helped a lot in the way that I approach things at work and probably why I’ve had so much success recently.

Since my initial question to you, I feel that my career was derailed for several years – and upset that it could be impacted due to a single person misbehaving, who I recently saw on TV in a Senate hearing on the unlawfulness of his department’s behaviour (it’s related to the Australian Robodebt scheme). It probably wouldn’t have been that bad, except for the next couple of roles, which were lower level than the one I had at the company I left, I was hired in by people who subsequently left in a short amount of time and in one case didn’t have the mandate to bring me on for what they told me I was brought on for. A lot of people retire at the same level I’m currently at, and before I took my new job I felt I was just doing it for the paycheck and waiting out for retirement in my late thirties.

End of last year I was headhunted for the role I’m now in, and it is the best. They had called me about my interest a while ago, but didn’t interview me for a couple months, as I was more expensive than they would have liked. Once I did interview, I had a job offer by the next day.

The company is a household name where I am, and a big driver of diversity and gender equity, which is why I believe I’ve thrived. Throughout my career I’ve often been the only woman in a room, and just before International Women’s Day we had a bonding moment following a meeting where it was all women, in a male dominated industry, where four out of five of us were WOC and leaders. The environment is also so much more respectful and collaborative, which I believe is due to the company embracing inclusiveness as part of its culture. The senior leadership is almost 50:50 gender split, and one of them, who is also a WOC, has taken me under her wing, where I am now being invited by the C-Suite to discuss strategy and actively participating in the company’s direction, while being a relatively low level manager.

My ambition and drive is back, I feel the need to give back in mentoring and bringing up the next level of young people in the industry, and I see a pathway for myself into senior leadership, which as they always say helps by being able to see people like yourself already represented. My only concern is that I may actually need to deliver on what I propose, and not be like the person who wanted to just be the ideas guy, which is a challenge, but one I am up for.

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