Thursday, May 23, 2013

Was It Worth It?

The reality was that all our jokes, remarks, and clichés were gender-biased...

 Most of our adult life is spent in and around our workplace. Our interactions and experiences there comprise a major portion of our entire time spent on earth. And our jokes, our conversations, and our approaches at work all add up.

I remember my days as a young event manager. I loved my job and I was warmly received by my teammates. We worked hard and played harder. Our company had loads of men who were there for many years, but there was a massive turnover of women. Like many others in the company, I used to believe that “women were not made for this job.” We thought they weren’t tough enough and lacked dedication.

It’s sad how we need to act harsh at times just to prove we are “men.” For us, it was just “guy talk”—young men trying to overcome our insecurities by being excessively aggressive (not physically but socially). The reality was that all our jokes, remarks, and clichés were gender-biased.

When I look back at those days I realize how foolish and irrational it was. Honestly, whose acceptance was it that I was trying so hard for? Was it worth it? Well, the answer is a loud and clear NO.  

My job changed, my country changed, and a million discussions later I am able to analyze my behavior. Had this transformation not occurred, I don’t know if I would have ever realized the serious implications of my actions. I am now very careful about my language, my behavior, my approach, and my clichés. Today things are different—they are a lot harder.

Is this hard work worth it?

YES. My colleagues—women or men—today feel equally comfortable working with me, which in turn, fosters a more productive work environment.  And on the social side, my transformation made me a more aware and accepted individual, plus added to my confidence to interact with the opposite sex.

It’s clear to me now that the most genuine way to bring about change is to start with oneself. If you want to convince others, you need to first convince yourself.

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