Archives for July 2014

21Jul

“Like a Girl” “Like a Woman”

As I watched the commercial about the meaning of “run like a girl”, I had to reflect back on my recent experience.  There seemed to be so many corollaries to “like a woman”.  What I mean by that is working through a career as a woman is quite difficult and sometimes brings to mind the bullies on the playground who said “she runs like a girl”.  Does the one follow through to the other?

As long as I am passive, easy going and accepting of others’ words and deeds, people think of me as “appropriate”.  Unfortunately, aggressive bullies interpret easy going behavior as an invitation to *push* more, and other types of people interpret it as an invitation to *take* more.  In either case, when I am not passive and easy going, my behavior is labeled as “wrong” and any “wrong” behavior justifies bad behavior by the second party.  Just ask anyone, if someone is mean, you can be mean back.

Back to the woman point…what I find with work and even with my family, is that passive, accepting and easy going is the behavior that gains their acceptance.

It is not always possible to be these qualities and there are lots of reasons why, and chief among them is the fact that – that very behavior invites bullying and advantage taking.

At my age, and I am a grandmother, I have attained a wealth of wisdom.  I am especially expert at raising children and recognizing human behavior for what it is.  Sharing these ideas and thoughts is never welcome in my family.  Any feedback is considered unwelcome, meddling, controlling.  I can actually understand this.  As a young woman, I did not want my mother to tell me how to raise my kids.  As a matter of fact, I particularly criticized her for the way that she raised me.  How ignorant I was and thank goodness that role-modeling is a powerful teacher, otherwise I may have lost all of my mother’s wisdom.

So, at least I understand my familial rejection of my wisdom.  What I do not understand is that there appears to be a universal rejection of women’s wisdom.  I am and have been for more than twenty years – a manager.  I have aggressively pursued a powerful career and have often managed more than fifty staff member and millions of dollars.  Even though I have achieved very profitable success in business, my role as a woman is always a challenge to my career success.  Usually my challenge is how “honest” I am.  Last year, I was more accepting and therefore nicer.  Unfortunately, my accepting behavior had consequences, particularly that others practice their bullying skills on me.  People are much more likely to identify ‘acceptance’ as a female attribute and are much more likely to accept female type attributes from a woman.  Ergo, they are unwilling to accept behavior that is more male like, such as evaluating, judging and offering or giving feedback.  Men get away with all sorts of behavior in the business community that women do not.

Additionally, people who have comfortably powerful positions never question their own actions, decisions or behavior.  Even when the world screams negative feedback, those in power will not question the actions that they take.  Because they cannot question themselves, they must make any questioner wrong.  This is how I become the bad person.  I do not know how I gained this role in life, and frankly, I do not care for the role of *questioner* but – there it is.  I question poor decisions, I question greedy behavior, I am disturbed by condescending behavior that affects people.  I am not mean, nor angry when I question behavior, but, at times you would think that I am breathing fire.  No one wants to be questioned, egos are so unstable that any questioning comes as a threat.  It is not only women’s wisdom that is rejected outright, but a culture of defensiveness has become a norm.

Reading this article may make you think that I think that I am correct.  I assure you I do not think that I am correct.  I simply wish for the kind of conversation that allows for an exchange of ideas between capable and intelligent people.

Having this kind of conversation requires that human beings believe that women are strong, smart, capable and even justly powerful.  I do not know many humans who do not color women with images of weakness (think accepting) and ignorance – even women do this.  As humans, we have a way to go, but I believe that we can and I believe that we must get there.  We must believe, in a fundamental way, that women are just as strong and just as deserving as every other human being.

18Jul

Life is Hard

People behave badly, sometimes very badly.  Move on.  Don’t let it hold you back.

14Jul

20 Years Ago

Before Windows 95, my (then) husband made sure that I had a computer.  Because of my work, my husband had us connected to the internet as soon as it was possible.  We were the first on our block to have the whole package: computer, internet and faxing.  When my husband first connected my computer to the internet, he gave me a card with a note inside of it that said “Now you can talk to the world.”  That note was very special to me because he was conveying a few different things to me by writing that note.  He wanted me to know that what I had to say was important and it was worth communicating to the world.  It is significant to me, that 20 years later, I am indeed, still talking to the world.

My husband is long gone now, he passed away in 2007.  His birthday is today and he would deeply appreciate that today is being called Malala Day.  He was always proud that July 14th is Bastille Day, the day commemorating french freedom.   The freedom of women is critical to the success of humankind.  If we don’t get this right, we won’t survive, it really is that important.

July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

06Jul

Legislated Profitability is not Capitalism

The picture on the news yesterday: lots of angry Americans protesting the transportation of South American mothers and children into this country.  The people seemed very angry, shouting, shaking their fists and standing in the hot sun with signs that shrieked “unwelcome here”.

It occurred to me that this anger is completely misplaced.  It is as if the wealthy capitalistic culture of America has convinced the average middle class person in this country that their unfulfilled desires and their shrinking wallets are the fault of tax dollars going to the poor.  That is just not the case!  I wish that knowledge and wisdom could be conveyed to others through the publication of facts… But, our culture buys into the pictures and stories provided to us on TV and on the internet.  Facts are not purveyed with the same fervency as “the story”.

For example:  The average American does not have less because of healthcare provided to the poor, the average American does not have less because of food stamps given to the poverty stricken.  The average American has less in this society because we worship capitalism above all else and thus put profit making before human beings.  Instead of assuring that everyone who needs health care gets health care, we legislate massive wealth to drug production companies by allowing them to charge obscenely marked up drugs to Medicare(taxpayer dollars).  Durable medical equipment is but another, in a long list of ridiculously priced “health care” products that the American public pays for.  The American public pays dearly for these items – not because they are valuable, but because we have allowed our system to become perverted with a goal and end product of profit rather than health for human beings.

This perversion runs rampant in our culture.  Insurance companies have been profitable in America for decades.  When the profitability was threatened by numerous hurricanes, all of those decades of wealth and plenty were forgotten and insurance companies were allowed to close down and leave the state.  After all, if there really were going to be a lot of claims then that would be Florida’s problem – not the grossly profitable insurance industry’s problem.  This is the thinking that has gotten us to where we are today.  Any interruption of profitability is to be plugged up by the government.  Who is the government?  Why, none other than the taxpayers – that is who – you and me.  Instead of understanding our fundamental error, we are attacking the poor, disenfranchised children of the Americas.

I think we should be angry, I just think we are aiming it into the wrong direction.  There are those who want us to believe it is ‘the poor’ who suck from the rest of us and thus make us poorer.  A more accurate picture is that our culture is finally catching up with us.  We forgot that the point of capitalism is for humans to make living better, humans being the key word here.  When capitalism becomes a weapon that is consumed by only a few, then it becomes a poisoned concept.