AND then I was thinking…
About my 30-plus year business career. Hmmm…
It was the spring of 2014. My latest business stint was just ending for me – with mutually agreed upon buyout terms (sort of, you know, like, BYE!!). I was about to get married to a wonderful partner and high school friend who had come back into my life in 2013, and I was also exhausted after building and running a retail website for the past 5 years. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
I immediately started getting calls from head hunters for the “next big thing” but my heart wasn’t in it. I felt like I was pushing a rock up a hill and my enthusiasm for this task was nil. All of the new opportunities sounded exactly like the old opportunities. “Change our culture, be a change agent, create something new, create our digital footprint, create our social media platform, fire everyone, hire everyone and yes, the CEO is totally behind all of this change and will support you 100%”. And the unspoken line is this – “the CEO is totally behind all of this change and will support you 100% – – – until…too many long term employees complain, he finds a bright, new shiny object to take under his wing and he has to actually find money to FUND the changes. Then it’s that “bye” time.
So, I decided to write a book about what I have experienced in my long and illustrious career. I have hit the glass ceiling. While I have never been sexually assaulted at work, I have experienced endless streams of gender harassment because I am a woman. And as I talked to other female business colleagues, I discovered I am not alone.
When I was dabbling with publishing and promoting my book in 2016, Hillary Clinton was running for President and it looked fairly likely that we would have our first woman president. And while I knew that having just one female president wouldn’t change everything (didn’t we all learn from Obama?), I felt confident that our conversations would have to change. And maybe me beating my drum about being The Only Girl In The Room would be less relevant or even important.
Well, guess who ended up openly weeping on November 8, 2017 and realized that we still had so much work to do? It is hard to put into words what I felt that evening. That our country is so afraid of women in power that we would elect ANYONE over a woman? Literally ANYONE? It struck a cord with my experience. ANY type of man in a leadership position is better than a woman. ANY. Because, hey, look who we got?
Let’s partner together on this journey as we face reality, face where we are, how far we have come, how far we have not come and join together to keep moving ahead. It’s our only option. We have a lot of work to do. We need to END sexual, gender and racial harassment in the workplace. Because guess who is still running the workplace in the United States.
Men. Who tend to be white. Just saying….