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9th December 2018
At the moment I’m running an ad for a Facebook group I lead called Corporate Women Feeling Sick of Feeling Sick. In response to the ad, I received a comment from a lady called Linda. Linda said, with just a little bit of a hint of venom, that “… to be a corporate woman you probably are no shrinking violet anyway. I think the house wives, mums and less confident amongst us probably suffer more.”
Linda is doing precisely what we’re all brought up from the day we were born to do. Judge. Linda is making sweeping judgements about – and on behalf of – whole sectors of people and individuals that she doesn’t know. Judgements that housewives and mothers aren’t fine and do need help, and judgements that corporate women are fine and don’t need help.
Yet Linda made me think. Linda highlighted precisely one of the reasons that corporate women are not okay. This might sound a bit upside down but part of the reason they’re not okay is because EVERYBODY THINKS THEY ARE OKAY.
Yes, us women working in the corporate world – and I used to be one, I’m not making this stuff up – we stand strong. We have to! We stand tall and strong in a greedy, competitive, distrusting, hypocritical, ego- and personal-agenda-dominated environment that would knock us down for breathing, and then stamp on us while we were down there, before it would commend us, encourage us, treat us like we mattered. We stand tall and strong because we have to! If we didn’t, we’d be completely screwed over and spat out.
People saw me as strong and capable and yes, I acted that way, sometimes I even felt that way, and I created excellence in my circle of influence. But looking strong and capable on the outside doesn’t mean your insides aren’t being eaten alive. I won’t weigh this article down with the list of reasons why corporate women are NOT OKAY. That would need a volume not a page. But believe me, they’re not okay.
What is incredibly alarming is … what happens when all of this moves into the quagmire of mental health issues which, for a lot of corporate women is becoming the case!? We acknowledge that bullying is rife in schools; however, I’d challenge that bullying is equally, if not more rife in the corporate environment where no-one – and I repeat NO-ONE – will tackle or approach the corporate psychopath and their destructive psychopathic behaviours and detrimental effects on the health and wellbeing of other people. The criminal psychopath is pursued, caught, tried and jailed. The organisational psychopath is allowed to wave his wand of damage over all within reach, and then some – and on top of that usually has the support of others in the organisation. We are deluded if we think we live in a world where the extermination and genocide of the second world war wouldn’t happen again. What is it that’s happening now, during the course of the everyday work day, that is different to the slow gassing of a huge population of people? This slow poisonous slaughter is to the mind what gas was to the body.
If Linda thinks that because corporate women look capable and confident and so don’t need help – ‘well, they look fine so they must be fine’ – does she then judge that because someone with a diagnosed and incredibly debilitating mental health condition ‘looks’ fine, they don’t actually have anything wrong with them. If we all ‘look’ okay, then we ‘are’ okay – right?
And how many of us think like Linda.
Please! Let’s start creating a world where we care, offer compassion, and accept others quietly for what they’re doing and for whatever reasons they’re doing it. Or if we can’t do that, let’s at least start by minding our own business and keeping our mouths shut about things we know nothing about. Just because western culture and society brings us up to judge, condemn, compete and, indeed, hate, doesn’t mean we have to conform with that. We can be kind, we can accept each other, we can listen, care and give each other a hug. We can step out from the crowd and set a new example of living.
We’ve made a right mess of things, us humans, but we CAN clean up the mess and thankfully a lot of us have started.