How can a Woman in Business ever feel Good Enough?

Posted by Gay McKinley on May 23, 2016 . 0 Comments

 

When I was working in the corporate world more than 30 years ago, my (male) boss gave me the following to read and have a bit of a laugh.  I don’t know who wrote it but back then it rang very true and I didn’t find it amusing at all.

How to Tell a Business Man from a Business Woman

A business man is dynamic.  A business woman is aggressive.

A business man is good on details.  She is picky.

He’s a go-getter.  She’s pushy.

When he’s depressed everyone tiptoes past his office.  When she is moody it must be her time of the month.

He follows through. She doesn’t know when to quit.

He is confident.  She is stuck up.

He stands firm.  She is hard as nails.

He has the courage of his convictions.  She’s stubborn.

He is a man of the world.  She’s been around.

He can handle his liquor.  She’s a lush.

He isn’t afraid to say what he thinks. She’s mouthy.

He’s human.  She’s emotional.

He exercises authority diligently.  She is power mad.

He is close mouthed.  She is secretive.

He can make quick decisions.  She’s impulsive.

He’s a stern taskmaster.  She’s hard to work for.

He climbed the ladder of success.  She slept her way to the top.

In my counselling and psychotherapy practice I saw several female clients who worked in the corporate world and from their experiences these sentiments still hold true today.  The rules for, and judgments of, men in business and women in business are very different. The ‘glass ceiling’ is still well in place. 

These women felt even though they had to work harder and smarter than their male colleagues they still weren’t on the same level.  They watched their behavior to make it rigidly perfect and therefore incapable of attracting criticism – and for that they were criticised. They were never going to be ‘good enough’.  I wondered – good enough for what? Good enough for whom?

The sense of being ‘good enough’ cannot be given to us, nor can it be taken away.  It can be stomped on, hidden, denied, disbelieved, ridiculed, questioned, shouted at, ignored, doubted and diminished – but it is always there.  Waiting.

The business world can be ruthless – even when it’s good.  No-one, male or female, is going to find their good enough ‘out there’.  It needs to come from within.  That can take hard work!

If I feel, if I know, that I am good enough, nothing anyone, even the toughest boss, says can change that.

In spite of all the external influences that might state the contrary, that’s how a woman in business can feel good enough.

 

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