The equality for women in business is a major issue. I used to be more inclined to follow it during college when I thought I would be a great feminist who could change how corporate America runs. Where I’m from, at least, I realized there actually wasn’t that much inequality in the jobs I had or the places I went. This is when I gave up the feminist routine and decided to simply be a girl. I wasn’t fighting the power or putting men in their place. In my college classes there weren’t a heck of a lot of men to really fight against, and the guys who were in those classes were usually my friends.
I bring this up after reading Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants. If you dislike bawdy or sarcastic humor don’t read it. Don’t even look in its direction. In the book is this quote, “This is what I tell young women who ask me for career advice. People are going to try and trick you. To make you feel that you are in competition with one another. ‘You’re up for a promotion. If they go with a woman, it’ll be between you and Barbara.” Don’t be fooled. You’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with everyone.” This is the absolute truth from where I’m standing…which is not exactly corporate America.
Real competition is against everyone. Everyone is going to try and stab you in the back, so if you aren’t prepared the men AND women down the office from you will be coming for you. Be on your guard.
I realize there are some discrepancies between men in women in the workplace. Why else would there be an entire section in the book store about it? PBS had an entire segment devoted to it a few weeks ago. For me, luckily, it has never once been an issue. Is this because I work in a field where the competition isn’t so bloodthirsty? I don’t think so. We writers can be some nasty, cutthroat individuals when it comes to our work. The reason it hasn’t been an issue for me is because I honestly haven’t really given it any thought since college. When I am around men in a work environment I don’t actually see them as anything but workers. I don’t try and fluff my hair or impress them. I act like myself and if they don’t like it, tough. They still had to work with me. Even when dealing with chauvinist bosses – which I did have a few of – I acted no differently and they treated me no differently.
This past month at CEO Blog Nation has been a fun one. I’ve had the chance to hear some awesome stories from women about their workplace experiences, and I’ve had some letters of an unkind variety claiming I’m a chauvinist because I’m asking these topics, which is completely fine because everyone is welcomed and entitled to their opinion.
The point? It isn’t that one gender or another is out to get you in business; it’s that both men and women are out to get you and take your job. Because like it or not sharks can wear both skirts and ties.