Posted on: January 4, 2009 1:22 am

A Woman in a Man's World

I’ve come out of hibernation to write a blog item that presents 2 dilemmas that I’m sure are common in the world today. One is a woman working in a man’s world, and the other is coping with interest in a man you can’t have who you also happen to see everyday on the job. My friend, who I’ll call Jill, is presented with both these dilemmas, and as it turns out, the man she can’t have is part of the problem in the man’s world too.

Jill works for a large company at a relatively high level position. She got hired about 2 years ago based on an impressive resume with years of experience and also favorable recommendations. After a short period of time, Jill’s talent was evident to her new employers, and when a higher level position became available, it was almost immediately offered to her.

I need to mention that Jill is an extremely determined person. I mention this because when she started with this particular company, she was somewhat overweight, but due to that determination of hers’, she gradually lost it all. With her new found figure, she had to buy a new wardrobe, and while she is conservative and tasteful when it comes to choosing clothes for work, she also prefers to be feminine. Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. I personally don’t think a woman should have to sacrifice being a woman in a male dominated workplace. Anyway, she’s turning a few heads in the skirts she chooses to wear, plus, she’s an attractive woman. I’m comfortable enough with my feminity to say that, lol. She’s not complaining, mind you, because she takes the looks as compliments.

One of the heads she’s turning is a man who’s in a higher position than her. She had some dealings with him at her former position, but now their offices are not only in the same building, but on the same floor. Because he pays her this extra attention, he’s handsome, and he’s just an all-around nice guy, Jill has developed a bit of a crush on him. She’ll never do anything about it because he’s married, but she feels very awkward around him which effects their interactions. So, how does a woman or a man for that matter, handle feelings for a person they can’t have when they have dealings with them almost everyday? I’m sure it happens all the time. On a side note, he doesn’t wear his wedding ring, and I’m curious as to why some men do that. Is it because they don’t want other women to know they’re married? Is it because they don’t like being married? I just don’t get it, but I’m sure there are men on this site who can answer the question.

Now, here’s the other part of the problem with this particular man. If Jill didn’t have this crush on him, she might conclude his looks were a bit lecherous. He purposely walks a little bit behind her to see the view from back there. He’s removed himself from behind someone to watch her walk up stairs. She’s felt a presence directly behind her, and when she turned around, it was him giving her the once over. She basically ignores it because she feels uncomfortable acknowledging it in any way.

As a professional woman myself, I’m always flattered by the looks I get from men I work with or whoever. I’ve also always been of the mind that flirting is fun, and what’s the harm in stroking a man’s ego a little. In fact, because I know my talent speaks for itself, I’m not afraid to help my cause with a little bit of that harmless flirting. There are women, and men too, whose talent is limited and use their charm and looks to get ahead though, so it’s a slippery slope. Should a woman like Jill not wear becoming clothes at work, so everyone will only focus on her talent? Should she be afraid to acknowledge the attention due to the appearance of impropriety? Hopefully, I haven’t lost my readership, and this blog item will evoke some thoughtful discussion.

Category: General
Tags: Job, Men, Women
Posted on: February 16, 2008 12:35 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2008 12:38 pm

Survival of the Fittest in Corporate America

My first job in the big city of Manhattan was so exciting.  I did the whole commute thing, wearing the sneakers with my suit to be more comfortable before I got there everyday.  I stayed at that job for awhile because it was fabulous.  How much better does it get than being able to watch sporting events at work?  The people I worked with were also great.  My boss not so much.  He was completely unprofessional.  He talked about inappropriate things and had affairs with employees even after he got married.  He created an environment where everyone felt like they could say or do anything when you really can't or shouldn't in the workplace, especially nowadays in the era of sexual harrassment.  Thing is, he was the boss, and at the time, I found it hard to play by his rules.  I'm not saying his rules were right, but when you work for someone else, they have to be.  Now, whenever I have an employee who can't seem to follow a rule, I have a private conversation with them.  In that conversation, I always say, "if you don't want to follow someone's rules, you should work for yourself."  I wound up leaving because there was nowhere to go there, but also because I found his rules repulsive.  My only regret is I didn't get out sooner. 

My next job was as corporate as they come.  It was a big transition because I was used to doing whatever I wanted, and now I had to get things "approved."  What the hell was that all about?  I knew what I was doing.  Why did someone need to check up on me?  Yeah, my previous job didn't prepare me too well for this.  What it did teach me was how to keep my mouth shut though.  I have never been a yes person, and my first job brought that out.  It caused many an argument between myself and my boss.  When I entered corporate America, I vowed to keep my mouth shut until I knew what was what.  I went about my business and performed my job well with no complaints or controversy.  That attitude served me well because it got me promoted twice within 2 years.  Then, I didn't have to be a yes person all the time because I'd gained credibility.  My opinion was respected because I hadn't argued about everything.  You have to choose your battles in work and life, or else you become the boy or girl who cried wolf. 

I still work in corporate America at the best job I've ever had.  I can honestly say I love it.  What I've learned over the years is balance.  You can still be true to your nature and beliefs while working for someone else.  You just have to get to know that someone else first.  Then, you're able to get your point across in a way they understand.  That goes for any employees you have working for you too.  You can't go into a new job like gangbusters or else you might alienate people and burn your bridges before you've built them.  You need allies at a job, not enemies.  It's important to choose those allies carefully.  Unfortunately, you can't trust everyone, so you have to start out by not trusting anyone until a select few step forward as proven people. 


Category: General
Tags: career, job, people
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