I was reading the memoir/manifesto of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. In one of the chapters about why women try less often for management jobs than their male counterparts, she revealed this fascinating statistic about my husband’s own company:
Internal research by Hewlett-Packard found that women only apply for jobs for which they feel they are a 100% match; men do so even when they meet no more than 60% of the requirements.
I couldn’t believe it and shared that stat with Roger adding on, “Why would anyone apply for a job that they were only 60% qualified for?”
And Roger said, “Oh I’ve done that. I’m guessing some of the jobs I’ve applied for I was probably 40% qualified for.”
I couldn’t believe it. My husband is one of the smartest, most capable men I know. So what was he doing going around applying for jobs that he was completely unqualified for?
He continued. “Yeah, I figure, if it’s something I’m interested in, I can figure it out as I go along. I can do the research – and where better to learn than on the job.” And the crazy thing is? Nine times out of ten? He’s gotten the job.
And it made me think – how many times have I not gone for something I really wanted, simply because I was worried about someone calling me out – telling me I’m a fraud – unqualified – a poser. Why haven’t I gone with my husband’s plan – realizing I have gifts and can learn what I need to learn as I go. Whether it’s a new job, being a mom, volunteering or anything I really want to do but is outside my zone.
What would you do if you didn’t worry about other people’s reactions? What would you want to try, learn, do if you weren’t afraid?
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.