Reframing Disadvantage

Reframing Disadvantage

I was furious (at the world, not at her!) after reading this tweet storm.

I was reminded of an interview I had way back when. At this time, I was a relatively junior product manager, competing for coveted positions against other more senior PMs. I was getting rejected... a lot, and it was very discouraging having to compete with everyone else who was more senior than me. If they had a choice between a junior vs. senior hire, why would they ever pick the more junior one?

One day, I hopped on a call with a recruiter that reached out to me for a PM position. It was a good conversation overall. At the end, I asked why she decided to reach out to me and what stood out. She said she reached out because I had accomplished so much already despite being so young in my career. That lit a switch - it was all a matter of how I framed this seeming disadvantage. Instead of framing my "being junior" as an excuse, I started framing it to my advantage as a signal of hustle and hard work. I noticed a spike in my interviews.

Same goes for immigrants experiencing visa issues, having gone through it myself. I admire the hustle and hard work of immigrants who are continuously challenged with visa stress, but still find ways to stay where they need to be and strive towards their goals. Same goes for women, racial minorities & many other historically underrepresented groups.

Same should go for Weaverly and other graduates of Philippine (or other emerging market) universities. Instead of framing universities from emerging markets as subpar, can we reframe these graduates making pathways towards their goals as strong & persevering? By the way, because of their backgrounds, there's a stronger chance they'll use what they learn to give back to their communities and untangle this cycle of systemic injustice.

The lack of facilities or funding sadly diminish capabilities for opportunity, but the people who find ways to navigate around the depravity of resources and use what they have to their advantage come out stronger in character and resilience. They should be acknowledged, celebrated, and seen as having strong potential not viewed as inferior. Let's reframe this.