Monday, May 3, 2010

What If Working For "The Man" Was Working For "The Woman"?

There are a lot of things that will catapult one to reinvention. But when it comes to career reinvention, especially for us Corporate expatriates, most will agree that the idea of working for "the man" ever again brings on a raging headache and nausea. 

Anyone who chooses their career as their point of reinvention experiences stress. The fears of failure, the financial worries, the self questioning.  They might talk about, but it rarely shows on their face, at least not the way you or they remember it did when they held that corporate job. I'll let you in on the reason 
reinventors are generally such happy people. The stress of ever working for  "the man" again is far greater than the stress of recreating their lives.  They are doing what they want to do, their way, on their time schedule. What makes them smile, that look they have that makes you wonder if they had a face lift since the last time you saw them is because they are no longer working for "the man." 

What I want to know is why we call it working for "the man" and not for "the woman" ? And if we did, would there be as many of us willing to flee the steady paycheck and health benefits?

If working for "the man " is no longer gender specific and refers to the Corporate structure that creates cultures based on driving stock prices, managing with a sharpened pencil, eliminating waste  and making sure those in control get big bonuses, why is it when I write working for "the women" it sounds so much less ominous?

There are a lot of women running  corporations now, enough to warrant their own list of the most powerful in Forbes. But it hasn't been that long.  Things really only started changing in this country for women in the 1960s. Fifty years is a speck in time when you consider we are now living in the 21st Century. Not long enough for us to stop referring to it as "the man."

This morning I watched a video of Eve Ensler  at TED  on the subject of Embracing Your Inner Girl. She talks about how we are all brought up, men and women "not to be a girl". It got me thinking maybe that's it. Maybe that's the very simple reason we say it's working for "the man".  And maybe if as she says we all valued the girl gene in us a little more, it wouldn't sound so ominous. Maybe we might even start mixing it up and call it working for "the woman."

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