Recently a friend of mine, an engineer, was given a project at work. She has degrees and years of experience in the field of Engineering and was very curious about why she was given this particular set of tasks. When she spoke to her team lead, he replied by referencing her choice to work part-time and that it was the easiest job he could find to assign her.
Working part-time doesn’t mean a lack of education, time, experience, energy or that you are looking for an “easy” task. My friend chooses to work part time to enjoy a quality parenting schedule with her 4 and 9 year old girls. Her husband also works, making an adequate income to contribute to the support of the family. In fact, my friend’s part time working schedule gives everyone the balance they are looking for.
In this case, is this a success or a set back? An engineering degree, choosing to work part time and time to enjoy life, to me, sounds like a great success. But, being told you need easy work because you won’t work at home in the evenings and full time in the office sounds like a set back. Navigating through the bias of part time work is tricky. Finding the support and understanding from your employers is essential – and a little give and take from both is success. My friend has her yearly review this week. We will see how it goes.
How I relate and work with others while growing my moral and creative self is my best self. Enjoy your day and yourself. This is the best self. Learn who to trust, who to avoid, what to risk and when to quit. Seek time along, with friends, in new space and familiar cafes. This is the best self. When in doubt, listen and ask. When you are 46% sure, jump!! Look for newbies, mentor young women and enjoy new ideas. Seek out change, equip yourself and team for assertive moves and use failure. This is the best self. Nothing is the end, you can always pivot. When you are wrong, apologize. When you aren’t, don’t! And when it isn’t accepted, screw it. This is your best self and it is only the beginning.
Being Thin-skinned is not a recommended or appropriate attribute for any professional adult. Crying, withholding information, the silent treatment and passive aggressive behavior are but a few ways women reveal their thin skin, says author Dr. Lois P Frankel. Whether you are a musician who has heard a few, “thank you, don’t call us, we’ll call you…” Or someone who has made a mid-life career change or you are mom whose teenage angel just turned witchy. It’s OK. It’s your process of the event that will reveal your self with thin or thicker skin.
My go-to response when thrown a curve is to let it sit. I don’t judge, react or take action until I can sort out my view. Then, I move into an appropriate response. The answers to questions that address my values, feelings, time, self-respect and a suitable behavior should dictate my move. Do we sometimes get hit so hard that we cry? Yes – don’t worry, it happens. But should I continue whining about it or use pity to get me way? Of course not.
We have people in our lives who want us to be brave. Punching someone is not brave. Back stabbing and blackballing is not brave. Taking time and thickening my skin is brave. This is what I have learned about myself. My skin is getting thicker.
For me, January has been a bit of a yelling fest. My search for self has been interrupted by random people either yelling at me or “giving me a stern talkin’ to.” In each case, I am completely surprised. And in each case, I have a choice. – I can weigh their information up against what I know to be true of myself. – I can react and defend myself. – I can listen and in a low tone excuse myself. – Or, I could actually yell back at them.
In case you were wondering, I always choose the high road and respectable calm exit. But what about the more assertive response? What about saying, “you are out of line.” What about standing up to a bully or disrupts the self-righteous instigator? There is nothing wrong with this approach, in fact a more assertive response may be necessary. Women and girls in general should investigate that place between being mean and being a doormat. We need to incorporate an assertive response that says, “hey, you sound upset, maybe it’s me, but maybe it’s not.”
I have to admit, I did allow all this interaction to confuse the perception I have of myself. I wondered if I have had the right approach – for that day and for the entire length of my life? I kept my balance and decided to be better prepared the next time it happens, if it happens. It might be time for a new approach, a self, interrupted.
On page 124, deep into a book that finished my 2015 reading plan, I find the secret to a better life. It reads, “We need to refuse to enter into an antagonistic relationship with ourselves. Quit blaming ourselves and being victimized, and take responsible steps to remove the victim….This is only useful to momentarily indicate when we may have violated our own moral codes.” So, why am I the first one to disregard myself, my value and my worth? And, how does this thinking affect my ability to live with others?… or even impact others in my same career.
The St Francis Prayer says, “Let it begin with me.” When I carry the weight of the “should” and “can’t”, I have got to go back to the view I have of myself. What are my values and my passions? Am I valuing myself as a productive and even disruptive contributor in my career? If the answer is not yes, I have to find out why not.
The view we have of ourselves, guilds and carves the path. Whether that is to the right, left, into good relationships and away from. Over the month of January, I will lay out a few ideas that can help us get and keep the right view of self. It will surely help to lead my life in the right direction.