The recent comments by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on women’s ‘superpowers’ remind me of an old workplace.At the time I was working on a dead-end project, with incredibly unchallenging work, no respect or status, and no prospects for progression or promotion. I had been moved to a new team to do a job that I was over-qualified for, that allowed me no management capability, and was extremely menial.

I had been placed in a junior role, despite having graduated 15 years previously. I was being spoon-fed and micromanaged, when I was working autonomously and managing projects in the not-so-distant past.

So I did the right thing, and spoke to my boss about my concerns. Their response? “Just keep doing your work, and it will be recognised”. Recognised for what? For being the go-to-girl for everyone’s donkey work? For being the engineer that no-one takes seriously? To be the person of whom others wonder why they even work there?

It was pretty obvious that their statement was secret code for “be a good little girl and do as you’re told”. This is exactly the message that Nadella is sending to all working women. “Don’t make a fuss. Don’t try to change things. Don’t dare challenge the status quo. Us men will take care of it.” Yeah, I’m sure they will.

And what happened to me after that? That’s a story for another post. But I refused to put up with shoddy treatment and downplaying of my skills. I took a chance and it paid off. A scary, career-altering chance, but one that I had to take to retain my integrity.

Leave a Comment