Professional reorientation means change

by Susanne Keller | Apr 1, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

How often does professional reorientation still not succeed because the fear of change stands in the way? Change can trigger not only massive anxiety, but emotional and physical violence in the closer and wider environment of the changing personality.

Will my partner overtake me professionally?

Will the partner earn more than her partner?

Will she leave him and the relationship?

Will the female colleague or subordinate pass us by professionally and salary-wise, and perhaps even become our next supervisor?

These massive fears can trigger a wide variety of reactions, from passive-aggressive behavior (refusing, obstructing, making a mess, refusing support, sulking, “helpless” behavior, lying, cheating) to outright verbal, emotional, and physical violence.

An Australian study shows that increases in relationship violence are directly correlated with higher income for the woman:

Shane Wright, the Sidney Morning Herald, 3/30/2021: “When women earn more than their male partners, domestic violence risk goes up 35 per cent.”

This phenomenon is not unique to Australia, but is found around the world.

Many talented, well-educated women shy away from using their full potential so as not to “threaten” their partners, male acquaintances and relatives. Whether consciously or unconsciously, these women carefully weigh how far they can go in their professional development without irritating, threatening, or jeopardizing their relationship and those around them.

Many women choose not to accelerate their professional development because, at least at this point in time, they are unwilling to upset or put at risk their relationship and family structures. The disabling to violent response is not limited to a particular demographic; it is found in all social and societal settings. Violence is one of the most massive impediments to the exercise of women’s rights worldwide.

Women, who bring with them a rather lightweight school bag, are often not ready for substantial further education and intensive work on themselves until they have ended a meaningful, long-term partnership.

In the changes that a professional reorientation brings with it, women in particular must face multiple challenges. In addition to working on themselves and their careers, they must protect themselves and their children and assert themselves. The further they climb the career ladder, the stronger, more perfidious and more sophisticated the obstructive maneuvers by the other side, be it partners, colleagues, rivals or even superiors, can turn out to be.

If the process of change proceeds optimally, then the family system not only goes along willingly with the changes, but is inspired and encouraged by the changes of the woman, partner and mother to make positive changes of its own.

Because women have been conditioned for millennia to be well-behaved, sweet, pretty, thin, and above all, to conform, to be subservient to the man, and to serve the family, some find it difficult to develop the necessary bite and defensive rhetoric to assert themselves and protect themselves.

“Those who fear your defensive rhetoric will not attack you,” writes educationalist, criminologist and anti-aggression trainer Professor Dr. phil. Jens Weidner in his highly acclaimed book “Die Peperoni-Strategie” (Campus 2005, various new editions). According to Weidner, one of the most effective interventions that disarms the opponent is the use of “No” at best reinforced by “And think carefully about why No!”

But this is only a palliative measure, however, for use in the shock room of professional life.

The deeper problem, the position of women in society, the disrespect, the lack of appreciation, the complete lack of recognition in some societies of the value of women as equal human beings, will not be remedied by this.

This will only be the case when the woman herself develops into a person of respect, who, just like every man, by her BEING alone and by her appearance by law, can demand respect and set limits that must not be crossed with impunity.

Many women shy away from asserting themselves for fear of losing love on the part of their partner and rejection by their families, which can go as far as ostracism. The woman moves within the family and professional system, which passes on age-old stereotypes about her position. Marriage adds the system of the family by marriage, and so she is now doubly involved in family systems.

 The unconscious striving for affection, partnership and family recognition and the fear of violating male boundaries lead women to refrain from asserting themselves professionally and personally and from being successful in many areas. This phenomenon may also be one of the possible explanations for the “leaky pipeline” (/ in the natural sciences.

Supporting and strengthening the handling of domestic, collegial and social resistance to change is one of the tasks of consulting and coaching. A coach cannot accompany a client on her way to a more demanding or to a leadership position without also working out and training with her the necessary assertiveness strategies.

Susanne H. Keller has been a coach since 2012, specializing in systemic coaching, change management and organizational development. She has more than thirty years experience in executive management, project management and managing science and technol”ogy. As a systemic coach she can help executives and teams to manage change, develop their personalities and their companies, create start-ups, work on their projects, discover new perspectives,and reach their goals.
You can contact her at



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