I’m a consultant. Therefore, I work with a mix of people. On a daily basis, my world consists of phone calls and emails. I juggle one task after another yet ultimately accomplish what I want for each individual client. Some days I work well into the evening, but my hours are my own, and the work always gets done. There is one topic I know a lot about: Being supported by and supporting women.
Right now I’m working on several different projects – from a United Nations NGO to a global summit to a bilingual resource for children to promoting an international tourism/foreign policy expert to joining the team at a remarkable media firm (I can’t wait to talk about this but must wait!) but guess what? My two managers there will be female.
Yep, I’m working with smart, resourceful, and especially supportive women. Some of whom I’ve actually worked with before (clearly smashingly), so we’ve reunited on new projects. Some were brought to me through referrals, who happened to be women. All of the work is rewarding in its own rite, but when you work with people who trust, respect and applaud you, it makes all the difference in the world, and I must admit, it’s a great feeling to have these cemented relationships.
I should know. When I first moved to NYC, my first job was working for a major TV network. My first two managers were two men, but later I moved across the department to work for two women. The tables actually turned on me, but not for the better. While the men were extremely supportive and my biggest cheerleaders, the women were vindictive, looking out only for themselves. The irony is that it was a women’s network. I worked for the other big cable network for women years later, and it was very much the same way. While the head of the network was all our biggest cheerleaders, the women under her were the first to stab you in the back.
You’re probably thinking, “Well, she’s not meant for the corporate world.” Well, trust me, I’ve thought that. But when I went back to work after having my first child, the woman who hired me was determined to make everything work for me, being my first job back in the world post-babies.
That woman (who passed away, unfortunately, from breast cancer) created the most amazing schedule for me and for a while, I was truly able to have it all with a largely flexible schedule. That job kicked off my consulting career, where I’ve mainly reported to women, but not always. The men I’ve worked with have been equally supportive but they don’t necessarily come back to me with additional opportunities the way women have.
The women I love working with are considerate of my time. They know that I’m juggling several things at once but want to grow in my career. The women I love working with are creative and business savvy and ensure that my workload is substantial and satisfying. The women I love working with toast my achievements and provide an amazing level of collaboration. They give credit where it’s due. The women I love working with address conflict and don’t sabotage me…or themselves. They care deeply about work ethics and treat me like the professional I am.
And that suits me fine.