It seems to me a woman has two choices at the workplace nowadays. And very narrow ones mind you. Either she’s eager and enthusiastic, at the risk of being perhaps somewhat of a pushover. Or she can choose to have her defences up at all times, turn her attitude meter on high and set herself up as unapproachable. I don’t like to generalize- although I often do. And I’m very well aware of the prejudices that come along with categorizing people, although it often helps me put things into perspective.
Roula and Heba both work at the same interior design firm. They started out at roughly the same time and hold the exact same position-hierarchly speaking. Roula has always been eager to please while Heba’s known around the office for harbouring some attitude. Since their boss would rather avoid than confront, last minute requests usually land on Roula’s desk, that means more late hours for Roula while Heba gets to bounce early each day. Now in a just world, Roula would get the nod from management while Heba would be perceived as the underperformer. In a just world.
Unfortunately for Roula, she was always expected to do more, so when she wouldn’t deliver something mind-blowing the boss would let her have it. On the other hand, when Heba would demonstrate more enthusiasm and present something above mediocre, her work would be applauded. At the end of the year both Roula and Heba got equal pay raises. Although this sounds like an isolated incident- it actually isn’t. Many women resort to being “difficult” in order to survive at work. What do you think, do nice girls finish last?Disclaimer: Although similar incidents can occur with men at the workplace, that’s an entire different ball game that I will get into at a later time, the fact of the matter is, men have it easier in the workplace, especially in Lebanon. Big statement- but I can back it up.