Because in a man's world there is no time for crying.
The story that follows is not directly mine, but it could be any of ours. Amen?
Source: By Shauna Zamarripa
In most professions, as a woman, being assertive is attuned to being a
five-letter word beginning with the letter "b." Yet, this is what it takes to
survive in a career field dominated by men. Mind you, I don't hate men, not by a
long shot, but dealing with upper management in my career as middle management
meant being assertive, and learning how to be overly assertive and vocal in
order to be effective. Essentially, you have to develop the persona of the
woman-no-one-wants to-mess-with. Unfortunately, for me, this process took a lot
of trial and error.
Allow me to explain. I worked for a propriety tech school that specialized in IT certifications (man's world squared). From admissions (sales), I worked my way up the corporate ladder to Campus Director in an unheard of one year. I was one of only three women directors in the company (out of 32), and I was a woman you didn't want to reckon with. However, because I had some staff with extraordinarily poor
communication skills and subversive personal agendas, I had to deal with upper
management in the face of ridiculous complaints not founded in fact. My upper
management took it upon themselves to contrive data and information from the
most unreliable of people and bring it to me as fact, not fiction. Had I been a
male in this company, these issues and complaints would have been brushed aside
like a displaced hair on a forehead. Because I was female, however, these
"concerns" were met with a very unjust recompense.
Regardless of circumstances, I remained assertive and strong. I didn't let
upper managements attitude or suggestions bring me down. This is rule number
I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was called to the corporate office
to discuss the "issues" within my center. I replied to the email with a response
of, "Should I bring anything with me?" The response was a terse, "No."
Regardless of the subpar evaluations and information I had in my possession,
my upper management had no interest in seeing it. Had I been smarter and more
savvy back in those days, I would have prepared this information in printed
format and brought it along anyway. Sometimes, hindsight is 20/20. Yet, I
attended the symposium, took my licks and didn't retort. I had a mission I was
given to complete and had every intention of completing it, without upper
management hearing my side over a round of golf.
Do what you are told, but keep records
In a man's world, men fail to understand anything other than a man's most
primal language: action. I did as instructed, yet, upper management still
undermined me at every turn. They took away my ability to lead, they said,
"contact me if -- " and all of a sudden, all of my authority had disappeared.
The issue, when all was said and done, was not with me, but with my upper
In fear of my job, I took the correspondence and information to my state
workforce commission. It was here that I was told I had a major case for
wrongful termination should they wish to pursue that route. Unfortunately, for
me, my heart got the better of me, since I knew the CEO and his family quite
well and did not want to drag them through a legal quagmire. I opted not to
pursue this claim, and chose, instead, to submit my resignation and pursue
career options elsewhere. However, when I left, I did so with a scathing
reprimand to upper management regarding the falseness of the claims against me,
the records I had kept of every employee who had complained (and who only
complained due to their poor skill set), as well as a string of emails and
records proving my innocence. This "man's world" that I left behind wound up
firing these folks in upper management in coming months. Justice was indeed
However, allow mine to be a truly cautionary tale. When it comes to doing
business in a man's world, a woman has to be ultra-cautious, ultra conservative
and ultra-assertive in order to be successful.
That about covers it! Anybody have a Kleenex? Better yet, toss me your balls!