Thick Skin

Photo credit: aftab. via / CC BY-NCI had a conversation with someone last year who relayed a story of how they enjoyed making me cry. According to this person, whenever they felt like they needed to make themselves feel better  they would come to my cubicle and tell me something I have done wrong. The person I was at that point would burst out crying in an instant. This person told me how they would have fun doing this several times a month, they really enjoyed seeing my me vulnerable. I was stunned that someone would think this was fine or normal.

Personally I was raised in a home where crying was allowed and I was not made to feel bad for shedding a tear. That is how I would deal with stuff, cry first then face the issue. UNTIL I started working in a male dominated industry that is so masculine that one has to fight and work twice as hard to get the same recognition as the male colleagues. It is not only the work itself but navigating through office politics as a female who is perceived as weak and ready to burst out in tears at any slight criticism or correction. I was surprised to learn from other young female professionals that it happens in other industries as well. The struggle we all have is how to cope in such environments without losing ourselves. At my first job a senior female called me aside one day and told me that if I keep challenging my male counterparts I will never get anything done and no one will ever listen to me. She went on to tell me that if I ever want to be heard or if I wanted my ideas to be taken serious I should bring up my points in such a way that I make them seem like they are my male colleagues ideas instead of mine….. I was disappointed that someone I looked up to would tell me something like that, it sounded so demeaning, so unfair and not progressive at all. I had to learn it the hard way, yes she was right, rebelling in this male dominated world is energy consuming, I am defeated and I’m growing my thick skin.



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