When it comes to climbing the corporate ladder, women not only need to be on top of their game but they also need to watch their backs. As we all know, there are sour grapes in every bunch of people we work with. Some of these backstabbers try to either overtly or covertly sabotage you, especially if they see you constantly succeeding. And not all of them are your peers. They can be your bosses, too!

Think of your first interview. Did you check the company out as much as they checked you out? Probably. But what happens when you're up for review? A superior sits on a throne in his office, grading you on your efforts. The important thing to remember is even at these intervals, it’s important that YOU keep reviewing the company as well to be sure you’re getting what you want out of the deal.

YOUR Company Review Counts

Take a look at Jackie, who worked in a two-person office for a large corporation. She was subject to these reviews. Her boss - another woman - was not the warmest person: imagine a slightly less terse Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest! Jackie endured as much as she could, decided to take an assertiveness training course, then asked her boss for a meeting to discuss her concerns. Her boss explained her side of the story, apologizing for her coldness and lack of communication and support for her on the job. She thought Jackie was doing very well. Jackie breathed a huge sigh of relief. From now on things would be different.


When Jackie's first-ever formal review arrived, her boss graded her incredibly low on everything. On some items, she was marked at a zero. Jackie felt humiliated and angry at the same time. All this after she had done nothing but her best at work, plus taking great pains to learn to be more assertive. She fumed, "What was the point of the meeting they'd had?"

Document Your Interactions With Your Colleagues, Peers, and Superiors

There are many women who have done all the right things at work, but those nasty backstabbers twist and turn things so it looks like they haven't. Now in Jackie's case, there wasn't much she could do since she worked in a two-person office. But in larger companies, there are more people and more opportunities for some of those people to make it hard for you to get ahead.

If you have any kind of negative interactions with people - even positive ones that feel a little uncomfortable - trust your gut. There is likely some kind of jealously or otherwise malicious intent behind them. If things come to a head, and you need to take the matter to your boss or a committee, it will be your word against the perpetrators. If you've documented everything, you're in a good position.

You don’t have to be fanatical about it; just keep a little notebook with you to record the date, time, person, and incident(s) just to be on the safe side. You never know when something may happen, even when you think things are going great. Stay aware so you have everything you need in the way of evidence should a situation like this come up.

The rise up the corporate ladder should be fun, exhilarating, and ultimately rewarding. In most cases, it is. By keeping notes along the way (both good and bad), you'll have all the necessary documentation you need to weather the journey to the top!

Author's Bio: 

Karen Keller, Ph.D. is an expert in women's leadership and assertiveness training. She specializes in the skills of influence and persuasion, executive coaching, mentoring, sales techniques, management development training, personal life coaching, and corporate training. http://www.karen-keller.com