Sighing from the sidelines…

Hello lovely ladies,

I am a TV professional. When I say “I work in media” it usually elicits a desired response not just in the financial city of Hong Kong but in most parts of the world. At the risk of sounding lame, my work is a huge part of my identity and my self-esteem. I’m not proud of this admission but I can expand on it. I was average in studies, below average in sports and pretty much average all around. But all that changed when I entered the corporate world. This is where I excelled. I thrived on challenges. Finally there was something I was good at. There was no turning back.

I don’t have grandiose plans of success and if I were to be perfectly honest I’m still unsure about what I want to be at 50. A CEO? Maybe? Self-doubt rears his ugly head as I type this. It’s a tantalizing but distant possibility.

For my current role, I was one of the youngest candidates who was approached for this position. Others had been around the block but what I lacked in experience I made up with enthusiasm. But instead of patting myself on the back, I thanked God and my luck. Luck NOT talent.

Therein lies one of our biggest problems. While men can seem boastful about their success, most women suffer from an imposter syndrome. We’re reluctant to give ourselves credit where its due. We shyly brush aside compliments. We’re embarrassed when the accolades come our way. Why? I fail to understand. Isn’t it possible to feel proud and not arrogant?

Being a woman is hard work. The responsibilities of raising a child and running a household . The grooming despite the gruelling schedules. The balance sheets and balancing in heels, the monthly pains whilst politely ignoring the snide remarks about PMS’ing. We master the art of multi-tasking while attempting to look like a million bucks. Yet, the fairer sex is treated unfairly?

So, if no one else congratulates us can we, at the very least, celebrate us? Are we all in agreement that we shouldn’t be apologetic or seem undeserving of our success? Hurray!

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Dear alpha-male,

I like you. In fact, I’m a lot like you. I’m not a feminist and this isn’t meant to be a male bashing opportunity. Please don’t take it the wrong way because what I’m about to say is said with the nicest intention. I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend over the years. Something that I’ve been silently observing until now.

I’m concerned about your attitude. Things said in jest. The inappropriateness of the water-cooler conversation. The beer-banter and the irresponsible use of information.

Our jobs involve working and networking in equal measure and sometimes small talk turns to slander. Whispered conversations in conference rooms and long chats over cocktails, when you’ll drop your guards and your voices, touch my arm as if I was a confidante or co-conspirator. That’s when I am informed imprudently and almost unnecessarily about how a particular woman has risen to the top in questionable ways.

“ABC was promoted because she was close to the boss” or ” XYZ doesn’t have to worry about being made redundant because she’s a (the choicest sexual act)”. Comments made in churlish contempt.

From your reports it would seem the only way a woman could climb the ladder of success was, lad by lad.

The rumour mills are always churning. Producing idle gossip. Presented unsolicited.

Irrespective of age groups, countries and demographics, gossip is a universal problem. You’ll are well-educated , well-read, well-travelled and well-meaning guys in general and yet can’t comprehend that it’s not very macho to be so malicious. To belittle someone’s success on account of sexuality?!

NEWS FLASH: Men flirt with their bosses too!!! Over sports and single malt. On golf courses and in gentlemen clubs. I’ve been privy to many such wooing attempts when a guy sidled up to a more successful man who happens to be conversing with me and wanted to hog the attention. Said schmoozer then suggests stepping out for a cigarette. There is a perfunctory inquiry of whether I smoke and I decline as if it’s a personal failing.

Also, even if there is an element of truth and if two people did get involved in a sordid affair and broke the protocol, it doesn’t absolve the man either!

Men are neither innocent, gullible or victimized. They’re sexist, stupid with their locker-room humour and sometimes, quite simply, jealous.

Behind every successful man is a patient woman but behind every successful woman is a begrudging man.

Gentlemen, play fair. Be nice.

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