You see it on the news and social media; suddenly it’s the day of the woman! If you’ve never read my blog on Living in a Man’s World, please do. You’ll learn that my experience over the past two decades when I may have been a minority was generally uneventful. So as we continue to recognize women for their roles in technology, manufacturing, distribution, and business in general I’d like to drop a few pearls. Pardon my sense of humor, but it’s gotten me through half a life time and I hope you can learn from it too.
1.) People Are People
I’m not saying there aren’t bad men (Like that one infamous film producer – whoops) or women out there. However, I almost feel for all the great men out there that are afraid to open a door or even compliment a woman innocently. How have we completely swung the pendulum so broadly that straight out of the gate words like Toxic Masculinity are thrown around as if they were nothing? If you’re smart you will understand that there are many men that you can learn from. Some of my very best mentors were indeed of the male persuasion.
2.) Lead with Your Work – Nothing Else
If you work hard, you will create opportunities. Don’t depend on any program, hand out or special recognition. However, if you receive help or recognition, be thankful for it. Integrity and work ethic seem like nonsense words but they are not. It is the hours you put in, the last ditch effort you make or the constant, if even mundane, tasks that will keep you afloat. Nothing more and nothing less.
I took a course, designed for women, on negotiation. One point was being too vague and I must admit, even I am guilty of this at times. Women, well at least me, sometimes have a softer touch when it comes to discussing terms and money especially. It’s only fair that if you are working and trying to excel, you owe it to yourself and company to get negotiations straight out in the open. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Take it from me, I lost too many deals after providing all my companies knowledge, ideas, and more to the “guy” who under-cut me. Sales can be risky, but you still need to ensure you’re being treated correctly and both parties have some skin in the game.
4.) Emotions are Fine
Now this is going to be controversial but there is nothing wrong with emotion. Your sensitivity may translate to great people skills. Your heart may prevent you from doing something unethical. Your maternal instinct will help you protect your time, your team members, and help notice important details. The other day one of my male friends said, “Women are just so emotional.” My reply was, “Yes, so what’s the problem?”
5.) Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
If you have not read my blog on Preparation and Presentation please do so. Nothing I can say as an individual who has problems paying attention and has a million things on my plate each day is as important as preparation. Look at your own life and tell me you can’t tell if someone is on point or half stepping it. And speaking of preparation, let’s talk a little humor! If you have long hair don’t forget to put several pony tail holders in your purse. If not, you’ll be subjected to purchase a goofy plastic barrette thing from the glitter store at the airport and have to pound off the shell to get to the elastic, trust me on this. If you buy a perfect pair of jeans or lipstick, you might as well get several because they are going to be discontinued. It’s Murphy’s Law.
I take pride in being unapologetically myself. However, I do not let my pride turn into bitterness of “living in a man’s world”. I believe each person has their strengths and weaknesses and it is up to us as individuals to be better to each other and accept everyone as they are. Being a woman is not always easy but being human in general isn’t either. Be kind, be respectful, and don’t ever let anyone ever tell you can’t do something because of who you are, just quietly go about your day and prove them wrong.