When sitting and trying to fit in a blog post amongst the washing, cooking, tidying and doing homework with the kids – all after a day’s work – I often wonder why we, as women, try and have it all and do it all. Is the fancy workplace and title before so-and-so’s mom really as shit hot as we pretend?
And we still need time to Twitter because without it life would seriously suck and we’d never have any intelligent conversation at all.
Today’s post is about me (and other women) being intimidated by their peers with tongue-twisting titles, working in corporate offices, with PA’s and all sorts of expensive work-wear to don in the battle that is the workplace.
Having never worked formally in a corporate environment but as a consultant and an “external”, I have always been awed by the power wielded by the “Big 5” be it banks, accounting firms, law offices or even insurance companies. You’d think by now that I’d have seen enough to know better – liquidations, scandals and the general falling apart of reputations whether they have the backing of a conglomerate or not behind them – but no – I’m still a sucker for a fancy building in the heart of the city where people rush around importantly (read: frantically) talking on their mobile phones and where the concierge sees you to the boardroom.
I recently had occasion to work with a big name firm on a research project. I donned my powergear (always black – to be intimidating – yeah right!) and was suitably impressed by the fancy boardrooms, big words and jar of chocolates on the table (I mean, what’s a boardroom without chocolate?).
When the time came for a presentation, the setting up of a meeting was a gargantuan task peppered with misunderstandings and missed phonecalls. If you have a PA for Godsake how hard can it be? I guess as hard as getting your name correct on your email signature (Strike 2 corporate – and the dancing girls go yeehaaa!). Which caused said author (aka Doubting Thomasina at this stage) to question whether I myself had perhaps being calling her Jane Liswon when it was actually Jane Liwson. How embarrassing. For her it turned out to be. (Strike 3 people). And I won’t go into how I smiled when I noticed the picking of the cuticles (is there anything more disgusting?) which caused me to look at the hands attached to the cuticles. Clearly the corporate does not pay for porcelain veneers. They should. Is all I’m saying.
But getting back to the real crux of the matter, I realised this week that it’s all just smoke and mirrors. We’re all the same – everyone trucking along, doing their best, regardless of the stature of the business card you hand out, car you drive or whether your nails are bitten to the quick.
The sad reality is that this appearance of strength is what encourages confidence and faith where perhaps sometimes it’s sorely lacking and all you reallyhave is a girl in a smart dress (or a boy in an Armani suit), in a smart office, saying smart words, meaning nothing and desperately calling out for a lifeline because they’re drowning in their own hype. So, this week’s message is keep it real people – tell it like it is – because half the time they lose me at hypotheses…………..