Monday, October 21, 2013

I am twelve. Again.

Two incidents occurred last week that sent me right back to age 12. Both incidents could have been avoided had the people who instigated them put on their big girl panties and taken a less comfortable approach.

One of The Pinks had an "I am 12 Moment" last week, too, even though she's only 11. We pinky swore to both get over it quickly and focus on more important things. 

Because I work outside the home and outside of the leafy suburban bubble in which I live, I spend my days with a cross-section of people. Men don't ever seem to revert to age 12. Men, in a gross and broad generalization, care far less if people like them. Our culture rewards them for strong, leadership behavior. Women want to be liked. Sheryl Sandberg writes extensively about this in Lean In.

Many years ago one of my friends had a job in M&A. She told me that the first time she exited someone she ran into the bathroom afterwards and threw up. After six months of this she told me that she could literally be sitting at her desk eating an sandwich while telling someone that their job was eliminated. Progress.

Working more than 20 years in tech has given me a fairly thick skin. Still, I'm irritated when smart women don't have the hard conversations. If they aren't working for a paycheck, great, that's their personal choice.  I applaud them for their decision. However, use your brains, use your power for good, people! These are the same women who don't step up to leadership roles in their children's schools, their churches, their community at large because they are afraid of conflict. They leave the hard stuff to others. What a missed opportunity. What a waste of talent.

If you need coaching on doing hard things, things outside of your comfort zone, call me. I promise you will feel better afterwards. And you will still have friends.

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