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Aug 7, 2015

Use Your Words


Growing up, my mama was always fiercely adamant to tell me I had to be independent.
To make my own money, my own decisions, and not rely on a man to live.
That mantra, compounded with my dad telling me to not throw away my degree by having kids, set me up to be a working woman.

I think I said ok mom and ok dad a million times just to get them off my back.
But these days?
I get it.

I still married a man that I love with every inch of my heart.
And I will still have kids regardless of working.

But what I really learned, from all those days of listening to my parents preach, is that, even in 2015, it is still an uphill battle for equality in the workforce.

You must develop a certain wit and personality that not only meshes with the men in the office, but keeps you feminine.
Finding that balance of authoritative and confident yet uniquely tailored and chic, is what I strive for.
I don't know everything, but fine tuning the skills that I do have is what makes me a force to be reckoned with.

I have been at my new place of work for approximately four months now.
Knowing I would be the only full-time woman, I could only assume I would have an uphill battle.
A battle for equality, a battle for understanding and respect, and most importantly, a battle knowing that I was an outsider coming into a tight-knit group, in a higher position than most.

Say what you want, but it is still glaringly obvious that some men in this world simply do not listen to or respect women.  I would have loved to say that isn't the case at my new place, but I have witnessed it first hand.

Now, I can see why there could be an issue with communication. The role that I walked into was created for me. Prior to my arrival, they had a front-desk receptionist with the title of Office Manager.
These women before me were secretarial in nature, never truly embracing what a real Office Manager does.
It does not make them wrong, but it didn't help my case in the slightest.

So here I am, without much of an introduction, elbowing my way to the top as the company Office Manager, and most people here still think I am a receptionist with a pushy attitude.
And there has been backlash because of it.

So what do I do?
Instead of taking the low road, and lashing out to individuals who simply do not understand my role and my authority, I have decided to be at the forefront of our monthly staff meetings.

To give MYSELF the proper introduction I deserve.
To inform the masses of what exactly it is that I do, why I am here, why I was hired, and why my presence is not only needed, but will be met with respect and gratitude.

Will I be ruffling some feathers? Sure. You can't please everyone. But for the greater good of the company, it's time to reign it in on the machismo attitudes and get some rules and policies and procedures in place that everyone can adapt and abide to.

It's that simple.

So I have been spending my days writing and re-writing my speech.
Fine tuning my Power Point.
Dissecting each sentence to ensure I don't sound whiny, or too feminine, or too angry.

My message is simple.
I am here to help make this company great. There will be change. It is for the better.
Get on board or go home.

It will be presented with a bit of finesse and wit and facts. Mostly facts.
Without emotion and without pleading for likability.

No one hires an Office Manager to make friends. I have a mutual respect and understanding for those that came before me, but the policies and procedures I am putting in place are meant to shift the focus away from the Principals so they, in turn, can run a successful company.
It is not their responsibility to track every employees' move.
It's mine.
It is not their responsibility to deal with HR issues.
It's mine.
And the list goes on.

So you ladies reading this....remember, say what you mean. Use your words. Say them with grace but don't stutter or get too touchy-feely. You would not expect that from a man, why would they expect it from us?
There is plenty of other times to be girly and feminine.
But demanding what you need in your life is not one of them.

Just make sure you know your facts. Do your research. Look at the other side and big picture.
Know when to step away or stay silent. That's the tact part.

Not go on wit' yo' bad self.
Girl. Power.

3 comments:

  1. get it girl! I work in a male dominted industry too so I get it!

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  2. That's awesome. And I wholeheartedly agree that you have to raise a daughter to be independent, I don't think it's in their nature if you don't. As soon as Hannah was potty trained at 2 1/2 and we were in the store and she needed to go to the bathroom, I told her it was her responsibility to ask a store clerk where it was - the look on some peoples faces having a 2 1/2 year old ask where the bathroom was priceless! Now age 23 she's the most independent person I know, and that makes this Momma happy.

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  3. Good luck! I hope you are given the respect you deserve!

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