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The Truth About Discrimination in the Workplace

career, advice, counseling, coaching, job search, career currency

My most recent St. Louis Post Dispatch column is about an issue many of us have dealt with. Be it discrimination based on gender, race, religion or any other number of reasons, discrimination is a real issue. But at the same time, it sometimes becomes an excuse. Below is an opening excerpt of the column. You can read the full column here.


Imagine sitting down for a job interview and the first thing you notice is the person interviewing you could have been your granddaughter. A bad sign? That’s yet to be determined.

Her first request is the age-old “Tell me about yourself … ”. So you begin to tell her about your experience in a non-profit religious organization and the value you offer. It’s brought up that your organization is known for supporting gay rights, and you can’t quite read the interviewer’s face to understand her reaction.

Then comes the inevitable question, “What’s your salary expectation?” Your current salary happens to be at the top of their salary range for this job. Again, her response is hard to read. After the interview, as you leave, you walk by the employee cafeteria and see very few women and almost no diverse ethnic minorities sitting at the tables.

Your thought leaving the interview? “I don’t have a chance!”

I often hear job seekers say the reason they didn’t get the job is discrimination. They explain their perceived discrimination issue — age, religious affiliation, race or sex/sexual orientation. Many even cry discrimination because their salary requirement is at the high end of what the organization is willing to consider. (Some of these issues are protected by law, others not)

Maybe you have experienced one or more of these discriminations. I had a Career Coaching client who actually went through this exact situation! What did they learn from the experience? Three things — and keep reading to see the surprising end of the story…