Updated: Feb 28, 2020
It was 2014. I didn’t think that work culture would still pit women against each other. Here’s the story of how building each other up gave us the opportunity to create a space where we can grow and find balance between our passion for our family and our drive to succeed and make an impact.
She’s too intense, she expects too much from other people, she has no balance, how could she understand?
I once worked with a woman who was painted as someone very dedicated to her job -- too dedicated. Behind closed doors, a certain persona was created and I wanted no part in it so I wanted to stay away and flat out said no when given the opportunity to work for her. But there were rare one-on-one moments where we would talk and it seemed like she understood the struggle it was to be in this type of culture, where only the women were in customer service except for her, who was thriving as an Engineering Account Manager.
It wasn’t until she left the company that I had the opportunity to get to know her. She had tried different things but it led her to starting her own business *boss lady status*. I noticed on Linkedin that she was hiring and given my time with her, I thought, why not reach out and see where it goes. At the time I was halfway into my second mat leave. I didn’t think I could ever be good enough, knowledgeable enough and I was definitely far from experienced enough. I felt that she only agreed to meet with me to be polite.
The meeting started off with small talk, but then she took a second and flat out asked out of nowhere. “You had a chance to work for me before, we were restructuring the departments, but you said no. why?”
If you read my previous blog (click here), you’ll see I was very shy and easily intimidated. Do I come up with a slight variation of what I really felt, to protect her feelings? Instead, I bared all and gave her my entire thought process. There I thought I’d be hurting her feelings but in the end, it opened up this space of trusting communication and this confidence that I didn’t have to alter my true thoughts and feelings for the sake of fitting in what was expected of me or to be cautious of an ego.
I’ve now been working with her for a few months. Before being seen as too intense, I now see as so enthusiastic and so driven, someone inspired by making an impact and whose spirit is so contagious. Changing the intention in our communication and culture in the workplace, we now have this opportunity to thrive. To see women as strong. To see females as bad ass business women. I have been given the flexibility and understanding of what it is to be a working mom and fully embracing it with support rather than finding ways around it. It’s rare to find a place of employment where you trust completely that what you’re saying is being heard and genuinely being considered. I work everyday, not knowing what the day will bring but being okay with it because that’s the beauty that grows when women truly support other women.
Being around her spirit is what really pushed me to not only want to find a way to help other women with their careers but actually believe I can do it.