Monday, June 18, 2007
I am WO-men!
So I mentioned before that I got a self-help book to deal with my new work environment. How American! I read it about twice over the weekend and now I am ready to comment on it. The book itself does not try to be prescriptive. And in fact, the thing I liked most about it was that it laid out the Rules of the Game, at least how it's played in NY. Moving from London to New York was a noticeable change in the way gender politics are played. I believe that women are actually accorded more equality in Europe than in the US. The US, I find, is a more traditional and patriachal society where gender characteristics are more pronounced. Feel free to disagree with me, I've only been living here for less than 2 months!
Anyway, the key takeaways from this book for me:
1) Men are able to compartmentalise more effectively than women. Work is work and personal is personal. I should not take everything personally.
2) Men play the Game to win. This enables them to stay focused on the Game. Similarly, I need to focus on getting my job done well, and ignore everything else. This goes back a little to compartmentalising.
3) Men are better at bluffing. They speak up at meetings, even if to say stupid things. They are able to appear knowledgeable even though they only know 50% of the stuff. I should not afraid to speak up because in most cases, I know more than the guys do.
4) There are different rules for men and women. It's OK for guys to have disgusting habits. (Trust me, I've seen my VP have his hands down his pants throughout a 3 hour meeting before!!) It is also OK for men to be ugly and fat, but ugly and fat women don't go down well, not in this business.
The book has given me a new confidence to deal with my work environment. It made me remember that I'm a tough cookie and have always been. I have nothing to fear and I am not going to fear anything. I'm good at my job and work is going to be only about work in future.
Of course, my VP did make some reference to my perfume and how he liked it just the other day...