i’m in the archives. this is a post from a few years ago that i never published. it’s still relevant. how many of us are afraid to ask for what we want? then complain when we don’t get it? we owe it to ourselves to ask. push past the fear of “no” or of rejection and ask for the promotion, the sale, the opportunity, a discount. whatever it is, ASK.
i attended the texas women’s conference two weeks ago, skipping my eMBA class to be there. it was worth it. one of the questions posed was, did your company pay for your registration? no they didn’t. i didn’t ask. why didn’t i? because they’re “giving me” a friday off each month for eMBA class. because my leader allows me to invest time in the BRG. because they denied my request to attend a project management leadership training in DC. because i didn’t have the courage to ASK.
this is typical behavior of women. we accept less than what we want, deserve, or desire out of fear. they’ll say no, she’ll be angry, he won’t like me. that’s one of the key takeaways from the conference. i returned to work and had an experience that set a marker for me.
my white male colleagues pursued a project that was not fully funded, that did not have buy-in from other teams, and that i recommended they delay until 1q2019. they ignored my recommendation and with a week to go until the vendor was due to be on-site for training, we had a come to jesus meeting. i escalated to my veep (white male) and he recommended a course of action. i messaged the men and they responded with what they would NOT do. my veep engaged and suddenly a call was scheduled. i provided him with a timeline of events, the issues (no longer a risk) and the recommendation i provided. (incidentally, another female director escalated the same issue to her (white male) leader, outlining the timeline and actions she and i both took to prevent the issue at hand. no action was taken by her leader to resolve the situation.)
on the call, the white males laughed and joked and then “got down to business.” my veep outlined the issue and recommendation and they all agreed. at one point, the ringleader says, “i don’t like to fail. i’d like to know where i went wrong with this.” i bit a hole in my tongue to keep from saying, i told you months ago to take the delay. i told you resources have not been assigned. you’ve been invited to every meeting with IT where they outlined what is required.” but i remained silent. why? because there isn’t a white male (or any color male) on the planet who will accept a black female (or any color female) telling him he’s wrong. my veep says, you didn’t do anything wrong. this was just an issue of IT priority. i sat there seething.
here’s the deal. we (women) attend conferences where we are challenged to “speak up!” to “bring your whole self to work” (i’ll write on that later) to “challenge the status quo.” yet when we do, we are branded as a “bitch” or “hard to work with” or “too aggressive.” the tacit expectation is that women will be silent observers in these board room meetings where the men gladhand, slap each other on the back, give each other a pass for fucking up, and hand the lone woman in the room a broom, dustpan, and mop.
i’m weary of hearing white male leaders pontificate about wanting women to feel like they have a voice, only for shit like this to be acceptable.
days after the meeting while munching on a snickers bar swiped from my candy dish, my veep reflected on the meeting. when he said, “where did i go wrong” i know it was because he didn’t listen to you…but i was ok with taking the hit on this one.”
i sat quietly. once again, a white male aligns himself with the power elite, leaving the SBF on the fringe. the one person with the right answer, the right recommendation, the correct solution to a problem created by white men, is ignored.
sisters, this shit happens daily. in your homes, at work, at school. the power elite is cocksure, yet impotent. women have the answers, the strategies, and the methods; what we don’t have is the influence to execute. what we need is ONE, just ONE white male in a position of influence, power, and authority to extend his cachet. ONE time. that’s all it takes. have the fucking courage to stand WITH a woman. my veep knew my reasoning was sound. he knew my recommendation was correct. and so did the other white males on the phone. this was not my first call with them. this was not my first time outlining the risk and providing the recommendation. instead of taking the delay 2 months earlier at my suggestion, they gave the vendor a 1-week notice and had egg on their faces.
at every conference i’ve attended (#NALC, #texaswomensconference) the message is the same: we need men as partners and allies. the question for the men is, when will YOU stand with US? we have stood with you for eons, propping you up, encouraging you, supporting ideas that were off-center, covering for you, fixing your mistakes, and now it’s time for you to be the pylon that heralds our approach as the new power elite.
yep, this post is still valid. we need men to stand with us, support us, and value our perspective. nothing much has changed since 2019, except my resolve.