Sunday, November 23, 2014

Marathon Training : If I were a man

The week before last, I was gardening and I tripped over a root, stepped back off the edge of the garden, and twisted my ankle when I caught myself with my foot sideways in the rocks that edge our garden. I walked it off and didn't think much of it until I went for a hike in my Converse and could barely walk by the end of it. So I took that week off from running and I eased back into it last week and am ready to go back to building mileage this week. I've got to hit nine miles!

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In other news, life basically 90% sucks. I've been struggling at one of my jobs...trying to navigate the social relationships required to succeed. Social situations in a work environment are exceptionally difficult for me. I don't do politics. I don't gossip. I don't backstab. I don't lie. I don't exaggerate to make myself seem as if I'm better than I am. I admit when I've done something wrong.

BUT

I say whatever I'm thinking. If something is being done wrong or I don't agree, then I say it. I'm not afraid to bring things up to whomever I feel needs to know what's going on. If I don't like a coworker, I'm not fake about it. I'm not afraid of conflict. I act with integrity and follow the rules and do the best I can do, always. But my personality doesn't fit in with...well, with everyone.

I just left another job this morning because one of my coworkers (with whom I had to occupy a ten foot square space) refused to speak to me and then called me the "most confrontational person" she'd ever met. I never confronted her, only tried to start a conversation. I'm not going to stand in a box and pretend like there isn't another person in there with me. So, I left. I drove home, and I told mom the story, and I picked up a friend, and we girl-talked all the way to a photo shoot that took less than half the time of my shift and made me twice as much money.

In my other job, I'm trying to be patient and work my way into management. Forget that I have more management experience than any of my managers and more professional management experience at that (whereas retail isn't necessarily considered professional), I have to start at the bottom. At the bottom, I've realized, I just seem like a problem employee. Despite my ability to smash sales goals and to stay on task and get shit done and to build rapport quickly with customers and to work really hard...again, my personality is a problem. Whether it's because I express myself in BRIGHT colors and mix prints or because I'm very direct and clear about what I want and what I need...I'm a problem.

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I had this realization today that has taken me 6 hours to type out onto this space : NONE of this would be a problem if I were a man.

If I were a man, I would not be called "confrontational." I might be called demanding, but only with positive connotations. If I were a man, and I were as direct as I am and the doer that I am, people would applaud me for going out and getting what I want. If I were a man and I were bold and honest and hardworking and ambitious, no one would have a problem with me. My coworkers would not stop speaking to me and cower in my presence. My bosses would not give me back-handed compliments about my wardrobe or use supposed interview time to criticize me under the guise of "constructive criticism". If I were a man, I would be promoted instead of insulted and pressured into leaving. If I were a man, no one would ask me to change or to make myself smaller. If I were a man, my ability to set double the appointments of my coworkers or to sell $1000 more than my manager in half the time, would be enough to fast track me into leadership positions.

But I am a woman. Worse, I am a small but fat woman who is not classically good looking and who has a loud voice. I am everything my society constantly tells me I shouldn't be and my managers and coworkers treat me as if I am breaking every rule...because I am.

So I'm stuck. And life is hard. And it took me almost 37 years to realize that I am not the problem. But even if I'm not the problem, it doesn't change the way things are. And I still need a better paying job with more hours.

4 comments:

  1. You are dead on about "if you were a man." Experienced it my whole career. And it's never from clients or customers! It's always from co-workers & managers! What is it? Jealousy? Fear? Misogyny? It sucks! Because even if you changed your clothes, stopped talking, stayed silent rather than truthful, ignored criticism, rudeness, etc., you'd still be a woman! Stay true to yourself and be joyful that you have the personality that allows you to do so. Most people hide behind convention, cowardice and political correctness. Stand out, stand up and don't stand down.

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    1. Thank you so much for your support! It's nice (albeit sad) to hear it from someone older and wiser. I have to believe in myself and stick to my guns. Because at the end of the day, I have to live with myself and not any of them. Money is not the most important thing.

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  2. I can't lie, I'm pretty quiet (I don't think I've ever had a conversation with my manager), I stay in my corner, and I do my own thing. I make sure I'm happy with my productivity, and that's all. My goal is to fly under the radar and do my job to the best of my ability. I will also say I have a strange work dynamic and there's really nowhere for me to go (unless someone dies). I'm also kind of a pushover so I'll continue taking on more work, I'll skip breaks, I'll stay late, etc. and won't dare say a word about it... I haven't always been this way, but the company I work for has kind of turned me into that... Oh well.

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    1. That kind of makes me sad. I don't work in an environment where I can fly under the radar. I work in environments that have high demand for social interaction. Maybe I should try something else!

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