Friday, March 26, 2010

pay no mind to the woman behind the curtain

I may be one of those women so long decried in business magazines: the woman who silently seethes for lack of proper recognition.

If I was a man, I doubt that ManChristina would be so...acquiescent about being the 'voice' for his boss.  I doubt ManChristina would be ok standing behind the curtain, writing the words that get other people kudos.  I also doubt ManChristina would be so slow trying to figure out what ManChristina was going to do about it, without sounding petty or childish. 

In fact, I don't think ManChristina would give a flying fuck whether he sounded petty or childish.

Oh, sure. ManChristina would understand that this is part of being on a communications team, but sooner or later, he'd simply say: 'I want fucking credit for my work.'

I wonder what ManChristina would say to me?

ManChristina: You are being such a whiner.
DeliaChristina: No I'm not! I'm trying, really hard, to be a team player!

MC: (snort) Whatever, you big baby.
DC: I don't want to be the ... disruptive, angry one. Uh, anymore.

MC: You also don't want to be the one who gets credit. Your choice. (shrug)
DC:  You don't understand! We're a team! Our team's job is to make the CEO look good. So...that's what I do. I do the policy research, create the argument and serve it up all nice so she can repeat it.
MC:  (snort) That's some bullshit.
DC: You don't get it.  That's what a communications team does.  Our labor goes into lifting the profile for the organization.

MC: Then why are you so mad? If that's your job, that's your job!  Deal.  Suck it up.
DC: You're such an asshole.
MC: And you're a whiny baby! Why are you so angry, then? Don't you like being the researcher, writer, argument-maker, secret policy brain?
DC: No! I am tired of being the smart brown girl who does the frakking work and then some savvy, connected white chick comes along and then uses my work to get the big byline, sweet gig or promotion! Aagh!

MC: Then what. Are. You. Going. To. DO.
DC: I have no frakking clue.  This is not the best job seeking market, you know.  Communications folks are a foot thick on the ground out there....(whine whine)
MC: You need to stop making excuses and do fucking something.
DC: You are no help, ManChristina.

MC: You need to stop being such a girl.

Apparently, ManChristina would be a sexist pig.  Huh.


-k- said...

Is this true? Is it possible to transition from the 'disruptive, angry one' to a 'team player'? Is it worth it?

I beat up on myself a bit for being too good at saying no. Part of me does not regret it at all, because it's all honest, and about looking out for my own values and sanity, but the other part, the part that has internalized all the expectations about What a Good Employee Does, is somewhat bothered by knowing how it must look.

So.. can the transition be made? Happily? (Or does it all end in hypothetical conversations with the opposite-sex version of oneself?)

Joy said...

Have you read "Women Don't Ask"? I haven't read it yet, but I've heard great things about it, in terms of identifying ways women can effectively be more assertive and demanding of recognition, salary raises, etc etc.

You're right, the market right now is awful, but they're not going to fire you if you ask for what you deserve. Worst case you don't get it. Best case you do.

Delia Christina said...

@-K-: hard to know if such a transition is possible. i don't want to paint the picture that i'm a troublemaker at work, but i am the one who is more likely to ask questions and challenge policy when it doesn't make any logical sense.

i think this particular disquiet i'm feeling is because of the natural ambition i'm feeling; i don't quite know what the next professional step is for me, but i've spent enough time to build up a good skill set and body of work that now i'm wanting more recognition of it.

normally, this recognition would either be in the form of a promotion or raise of some sort. but since those things are out of reach because of this frakking state budget and funding issue, the only thing left is credit for my work product.

i guess this is all to say that normally i wouldn't be having these crazy conversations with a male alter-ego; normally, i'd find myself well-compensated for the value i bring and the matter would be moot.

@Joy: no i haven't read that! i'll have to check that out the library (just after i pay that fine...) the 'new normal' is at work here and in this new context, the worst case could very well be 'you know, you need to shut up and an intern could probably do your job.'

Tam317 said...

I've been trying to balance my introverted nature with my right to receive credit for my work. I haven't really figured out the balance, but suddenly over the last few months, my boss has been pushing me out more on my own. I can't say it's always comfortable, but it feels good to hear folks say, "Great job!"