RSS

Tag Archives: work and life

I didn’t “let you do anything,” sir (a declaration)

I am one of the many women you brushed up against in line. One whose waist felt your arm slither around and hold a bit too closely as you helped me into a vehicle. A female whose body you leaned into for a hug instead of a handshake, pressing your hand into my back so that my chest came into harder contact with yours. Those are my legs you ogled in a meeting because I dared to wear a pencil skirt. It’s my laugh you heard when you told me the racy joke. My big brown eyes that looked away over a lip-sticked smile when you made the flirtatious suggestion.

None of what you did was wanted.

None of it appreciated or invited.

But, like the Republican presidential candidate, I’m sure you believed one of two things: (1) she’s giving me cues that she wants this or (2) I can do this because I’m me and she’s her.

And did I kick up about it? Did I slap your face? Go to HR? Write a blog post, even? No. So that must mean I wanted it, right? Must mean I enjoyed it? Must mean you’re allowed to be this way.

No. Here’s what really happened:

You stared at my legs. I asked myself why I didn’t put on the slacks because I knew I had a meeting with men today. Then I berated myself for the idea of changing a completely acceptable wardrobe just because you can’t focus on business in a business meeting. Then I thought about moving to another seat, one that wouldn’t give you such a good view of my knees. Then I berated myself again for thinking of how to accommodate your ridiculous actions and how un-Sheryl Sandberg that is of me. Then I thought about just taking the bull by the horns and interrupting the entire meeting to say, “If you could stop staring at my legs, I’d appreciate it,” but then all the other men in the room would either think I was an ice queen or suddenly also become aware of my legs and the other women would withdraw from me, grateful it wasn’t them but eager to not be put in the ice queen territory, too. And then I needed to stop allowing myself to care that you were ogling me because I had valid contributions to make to this meeting that would be helpful to the project, so I turned away and worked.

Or let’s talk about how you do business hugs instead of handshakes – only with the women, of course, because you’re “a hugger.” So, you throw your big arm around my shoulders and pull me in, pressing my breasts against your chest and holding me there until you’ve gotten your fill, talking the whole time about how good it is to see me and how you’re looking forward to being a part of this project, blah blah. Since I didn’t slap your face, I must have “let” you, right?

“…they let you do it,” Trump told Billy Bush. “You can do anything.”

While you were busy getting your cheap feel, here’s what I was thinking: If I say something right here, right now, will I lose my job? Will this project go south if I embarrass him and he quits? He matters more to this than me because he’s the one with the money/prestige. If he leaves, his funding leaves, too and then we’re back to square one on this. Does it really matter if he feels my breasts for a few seconds if, in the end, we get the project done and it makes a positive difference in the world? My comfort level isn’t as important as getting the job done. This is just part of it. Part of working in a male-dominated industry. You don’t want to be “that” woman who can’t work with men and get along or you’re done in this industry, Rebeca. Be a grown-up. Smile. Overlook it. Stay focused on the mission. Laugh.

I did.

I smiled. I laughed.

You took that as acceptance and possibly even encouragement.

It’s no wonder you are confused by the female outrage over that Trump video. You’ve been hugging and ogling for years and you know dang well that women are fine with it because none of them has ever objected and most of the time we smile and laugh right along with you, right?

Let me clear things up here.

I fake smile and fake laugh so I can do my job.

I fake smile and fake laugh so that I can be effective in my role.

I fake smile and fake laugh so that I don’t get fired.

I fake smile and fake laugh so that I have relationship capital.

I fake smile and fake laugh so that you’ll keep working on the task.

I fake smile and fake laugh so that I don’t slap you.

I fake smile and fake laugh so that I can be a team player.

I fake smile and fake laugh so that the situation will end and I can get back to business.

I fake smile and fake laugh.

And you see and hear acceptance, even invitation.

 

If Donald Trump becomes president, your belief system on this will be exemplified by the leader of the free world. Suddenly, the sexual innuendo, flirting, hugs, touches, and ogling will be even more acceptable because, hey, that’s how the president gets things done and it worked for him, right? Married to a topless model, living in the White House, millions in the bank – the guy is the epitome of Man of the World and what man doesn’t want to be that?

So I wanted to be clear right here, today. Make a declaration, even.

You touch me, you flirt with me, you treat me as a sexual being that you are entitled to access, you’re getting called out on it. It shouldn’t require me to sacrifice my career, but that’s a length to which I will go now. Why now? Because the threat level has risen with every defense of Trump’s behavior that I have read on Facebook and Twitter or listened to on the radio or watched on television since that video came out.

I don’t walk in a room and stare at your penis. I don’t crack jokes about its size or call it by derogatory names because I’m not thinking about it at all. I don’t picture how you would be in bed. I don’t try to determine if you want me. I do not even care that you are capable of sex. I’m not interested. At all. Ever. Even a little bit. No, not even that much. The door is closed. There is no crack in it. No window for you to climb through.

Your sexual nature is not wanted.

Not even if you’re famous.

Not even if you’re rich.

Not even if you’re the Republican party’s nominee for President of the United States.

You want to work together like two adults who are talented, intelligent, resourceful, and can get the job done? Bring it. Let’s do this thing. I am all over that like white on rice. You wanna joke and kid while we work? Absolutely. I love a fun workplace. You wanna explore ideas and brainstorm about how we can do this job better, how we can enrich the culture of this country with the stories we bring them? Holy heaven and hottest hell, yes, I am down for that.

But check the rest of it at the door. I’m not going to quit genuinely smiling just because you walk in the room and mistake it for sexual invitation. I’m not going to quit genuinely laughing because you find it sexually attractive. I like to smile. I like to laugh. That’s for me, not you. That’s me enjoying the amazing life I get to lead and the adventurous career I have – it isn’t an invitation for you to be a part of it in any way but a colleague.

Thanks for letting me set the record straight here. Whew, I feel lighter already, knowing I won’t have to have those internal debates anymore.

Now, let’s get to work.

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dead End Places

Those of you who know me are aware of the recent upheaval in my world. Those of you who don’t probably know upheavals of your own, or are praying someone through a world turning upside down.

Questions from within and without became a barrage as I navigated through the intricate maze of emotion, faith, reality, and action. Had I done something wrong? Should I have seen this coming? How would all this affect my career? My family? My finances? Relationships? Reputation?

Ultimately, every question came back to the same place: Did I not hear God correctly?

When I found myself backed into what appeared to be a dead end, I couldn’t help but wonder if my feet had somehow slipped from the path He carved for me. Surely if I’d followed him correctly, I wouldn’t be here. Right? I felt like Job, eagerly listening to all his friends espouse their views, sifting through the words to find the elusive wisdom.

On the day I went to move out of what had become my former office, (hubby at the wheel and me firmly ensconced in my passenger seat with reading material) one thought kept popping into my consciousness: Exodus 14.

Exodus 14. At least I’d grown enough in the faith to recognize this prompting as being Holy Spirit-driven. So, I inwardly responded, “Yeah, yeah, be still, be quiet, be amazed. I get it, God.” And then that quiet voice again. Exodus 14.

Since embarking on this major career expansion two years ago, I’ve lived in Exodus 14 and various passages in Nehemiah and Isaiah. Comfort could always be found in reading again how God called His people, then equipped and provided. So, when I heard Exodus 14, I remembered well how the Israelites came screaming at Moses with the Egyptians bearing down on them. They were panicked, asking him why he brought them into the desert to die when they could have done that in the comfort of their own homes back in Egypt, thank you very much. Moses responds with some of the most comforting words in all of Scripture,

“Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”

Exodus 14.

Yeah, God. Be still. Be quiet. Be amazed at the deliverance.

Exodus 14.

Okay, fine, evidently I’m missing something.

I grabbed the Bible from the dashboard and flipped to Exodus 14. Here’s what I read:

“Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.’ Then I will harden Pharoah’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.’” (vs 1-4)

Hmm. God sure was specific about exactly where He wanted them to go camp. Crazy specific. Did you catch that? God told them to go to a place of death. He sent them to a dead-end place. Hemmed in by the sea, there was no escape if the enemy came against them. No earthly escape, anyway.

With moving boxes tucked under an arm, I climbed the three long flights of stairs to my office, my dead-end place, and stopped just before the final seven steps. Did I believe God led me here? Yes. Absolutely. I’d never moved without talking to Him and asking for His direction, submitting myself to it.

If I believed that – if I believed that God sent me to this place, then running to Moses screaming wasn’t necessary. I knew what Moses would say.

Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord…

If you are in a dead-end place and you know that you didn’t get there as a result of disobedience or not seeking God’s will, you might want to consider – is your Red Sea moment almost here?

And if that could be true, then remind yourself: even when the dry ground comes, you’ll still have walls of water on both sides and an enemy bearing down from behind. Step firmly on that dry ground. There’s a bank of freedom on the other side.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Life Lessons

 

Tags: , , ,

On working

I’m often told I work too much. A fellow branding professional asked me not too long ago about my work schedule. “When can clients get you on the phone?” he asked.

“Always.”

His eyebrow quirked up. “What if you’re playing with your kids or it’s nighttime or the weekend?”

I smiled. “My kids know Mommy is clear on what she’s been called to do. They know I love them because I say it. I hug them. I play with them. I’m engaged with them. But, I answer the phone. They listen. They learn.”

We talked more about why I don’t have “office hours” and how that impacts the other areas of my life. I considered our conversation after he left and have continued thinking about it. Why am I content – peaceful, even – about the mountainous amount of hours I work?

Two reasons: It isn’t work. It will stand the test of time.

It isn’t work
I’m very blessed to have figured out early on how God made me to operate and in what fields that works best. Okay, I didn’t really figure it out – wise people pointed it out, but that’s close, right? What I do for a living, I’d do anyway, even if money wasn’t involved. It’s who I am. Who I was created to be, just as much as I’m meant to be Mom and Wife and Daughter and Sister and Friend.

It will stand
More importantly, though, is the sure knowledge that the work to which I put my head, heart, and hand is work that will stand. I just re-read Jeremiah 51, another rendition of how God will avenge Israel and basically annihilate Babylon, the country that dared to mess with His people and His consecrated worship items. The lines of verse 58 gave me pause.

The builders from many lands have worked in vain, for their work will be destroyed by fire!

A spurt of sympathy shot through my heart, thinking of those guys watching the ruin of all their work. Walls that their bloodied hands struggled to build would come tumbling down. Why? Because they worked for the wrong boss. As we say here in the country, they hitched their wagons to the wrong horse.

Once again, that conversation with a colleague came to mind. Why do I think letting my children see me work is more important than playing CandyLand uninterrupted? Because they need to see their mother make a decision for the work that lasts. They need to know the hard truth: God is a priority above them. I love them more than my next breath, but I must love the One who gives me breath more. I have to trust that He really is in charge. That His timing really is loving. That, when a project lands in my lap which requires urgent focus and attention, He knew what was coming even before we got the CandyLand box from the closet – and He’ll hold my little ones’ hearts while I am about His work. As a matter of fact, He’ll hold them more perfectly than I ever could.

And, just maybe, I’ll raise kiddos who trust Him, too.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Life Lessons

 

Tags: , , , ,