Sunday was National Women’s Equality Day, and it really got me thinking about how the nebulous landscape of the working world has shifted in recent years to accommodate-and in certain cases hinder- the efforts of women to be heard and to stand in their own power as the professional, whip-smart badasses we know we are.
We’ve come a really long way since the days of 9-5, but with the all the news surrounding the Me Too movement and others that are highlighting the plight women still face, I wanted to highlight some of the ways I feel empowered in the workplace, and certain areas I desperately hope improve, as our societal tolerance for inequity continues to plummet and our level of activism increases.
I feel confident in my own abilities, and the value they provide my employer.
Those of you who have followed my journey thus far know that I haven’t always felt so secure, in fact, I have historically struggled with feeling like an imposter at work. However, it seems like every day I am inundated with visuals and editorials about strong women making their own way in the workforce. Simultaneously, I am recognizing more and more how lucky I am to work somewhere where I’m surrounded by women (and men) who create and innovate, and push me to do the same. I’ve been looking around waiting for the other shoe to drop for months, and finally, I had to just accept the fact that I’m starting to feel more empowered and inspired by my own femininity and intelligence.
I don’t always feel comfortable speaking up when I disagree with something.
We are trained from an early age not to want to stick out. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down, and all that. Strangely, that translates in the workplace to not always feeling able to voice a drastically contrary opinion, or speak up if one feels they are treated unfairly. I think that has less to do with workplace culture in many cases, and everything to do with social constructs of conformity and acquiescence. Something I’m working on is to emulate some of the strong career women I admire, and sticking up for myself in a way that makes me feel good, but is also still professional and situationally appropriate.
I have struggled with establishing a work-life balance.
Sometimes, I do feel a pressure to work, work, work, until I literally can’t anymore. I think having a strong work ethic is something everyone should strive for, but I think there’s a fine line between working hard, and working yourself nearly to death. One of those things will get you where you’re going, the other will inevitably hold you back through sheer burnout. It feels at times as though I’m trying to prove I deserve something that I think perhaps I’ve already earned. I’m working this year on letting myself relax when I am doing well- I’m not going to get that promotion if I lose myself to stress and exhaustion, and I’m not going to get taken out of the running if I freaking allow myself to get up and go on a coffee break, so why not? I’m also doing a way better job of not taking work home with me, but I want to start establishing a solid self-care routine so I can make the most of my home time as well.
I feel excited and hopeful for the future.
Things might not always be rosy, but in my workplace, I feel strong, I feel confident, I largely feel heard, and most of all I am excited for what feels like the first time in years. It wasn’t always easy to be a woman in marketing and advertising, and I feel overwhelmed with gratitude at the women who paved the way before me, and also the women I work alongside that give me hope for the future of women at work.
Let’s all continue to push for equality without stipulations on race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, or other belief systems. The world needs a little more kindness.
Keep it real,
*Image credit via ABC News