Tonight, after ages, I had a fabulously long chat with Tigger. I miss her. And it’s at times like these that I truly thank technology- out of my 5 closest friends, only 1 is in Ireland- Ryan. All the others live in different parts of the world and yes, I have some extremely close friends in Ireland, these 5 are in a league of their own, it’s just different.
So anyway, while talking to Tigger, she mentioned how a b!tch was bullying her at work and telling her she was no good (now, seriously, if I could afford her- I would snap her and have her on my books so darn quick that the very thought that someone would think she is not good at what she does is mind-boggling) and how she should not have been hired at all.
It got me thinking… I have been in scenarios where I have had managers/ bosses/ peers put me down too. However, every time it was about my ability to perform, it usually came from the females- the ones who outwardly were all sugary sweet and all for women’s equality but in reality about stabbing the back and making sure they stood out and were recognised for breaking the glass ceiling…
Some years ago, I had read somewhere the glass ceiling was a phenomena that the women invented- sometimes I wonder if we have too much time on our hands to come up with such terms! The men were too used to it being an all-male club and all that but somehow I suspect, they were not completely averse to a set of nice looking legs joining their meetings- it took some adjusting but was it worth all the hoopla that continues today? Is the glass ceiling something that is really there or something we have dreamt up?
I mean, is it a bit like racism? I am always asked if I found it tough to become friendly with the Irish or if I ever felt discriminated against etc. I think if I went analysing everything, maybe yes I was treated differently ‘cos I am different (duh) or ‘cos there was a form of bias but I believe if you don’t look for it, there is none to be found. If I came here with the mindset expecting people to treat me differently, I would have probably been treated that way. But instead, today I run a fabulous young company with great promise, I am surrounded by an excellent set of friends (pity they are not closer to me- I do miss the occasional coffee) and I don’t ever feel I have been mistreated because I am darker, prettier, browner, more exotic looking or whatever else people want to think.
Yes, being a woman in the management world has its disadvantages- we are emotional, we think differently but you know what, those very things are our advantages too- we can deal with negotiations better, we can shed some interesting perspectives and we can help a team avoid groupthink- so there. I wish more people would judge talent for what it is, forget the gender, forget their biases and let the world get on in its natural state- ie, by letting the fittest survive- be it man or woman.
I think Buck Rodgers captures my thoughts very succinctly:
“There are countless ways of attaining greatness, but any road to reaching one's maximum potential must be built on a bedrock of respect for the individual, a commitment to excellence, and a rejection of mediocrity.”
The goal may not always be about attaining greatness but I suspect if you are talented, you manage to gather it along the journey.