Wednesday, March 6, 2013
"She's a Real B****" - No, She Isn't
WARNING: If you are offended by "the B word" then you don't want to read this. It's used many times.
At various times in my life, when changing positions or getting a new manager, people have told me my new manager is “a real bitch”. “She’s impossible to work for, demanding, a slave driver”, and so on. I have learned so much from every one of these women. I have never had a problem with them. Were they demanding? Yes. Did they require my very best, sometimes more quickly than I would prefer? Yes. Did they push me out of the nest and make me fly? Yes. Did I grow? Absolutely.
These women are not bitches. They expect a lot. They’re smart. They earned their position by knowing the best way to do things in spite of obstacles. There are people out there, men and women, who bulldoze over anyone in their way and leave destruction in their path. I have not had this experience. I hope I never do. The “bitches” I have worked for communicate directly and ask for what they want. Their directness makes people uncomfortable. Is this because they are female? I think in part it is.
Directness in general makes people uncomfortable, whether it comes from a man or a woman. When it comes from a man people may become uncomfortable, but it is not a surprise. For some reason, it is a surprise when a woman is direct. I guess we’re supposed to be the soft, gentle, nurturing type. I think we can be both. I think there is an appropriate time for each. At work, when there is a job to be done, why not be direct? If you know the obstacles that may get in the way and how to get around or through them, why not say so and avoid headaches? If you know a better way or a faster way that gives the same or better results, why not say so? Why keep it to yourself?
I have learned so much from these women partly because of their work style, and partly because, as women, we have shared experiences. They understand the issues I encounter in my life as a mother, a single woman, a married woman, and other roles. And they are human. They get it. My experience with these women has been that if you can learn to speak to them as directly and free of bs as they speak to you, then you will come to know someone that is eager to have a professional relationship that is mutually beneficial and respects you as a woman.
Give me a bitch for a boss! Give me one who keeps me out of my comfort zone. Don’t coddle me. I get bored! Nurture me, encourage me, treat me like a human being, but push me. Tell me when you know I’m not giving you my best. Demand my best. You don’t do me a favor by letting me stagnate.