I just came home from a very long day which started with a funeral–for a young woman who was stripped of the rest of her life by cervical cancer. Even though the entire ceremony was delivered in the Romanian language, I got the message loud and clear: I am blessed; If I am standing here and witnessing this death, I am alive and I am blessed.
Later in the day, I had a conversation with a male business friend, who opened by saying, “Women have it tough. There is so much more to deal with physically as a woman.”
“You’re right,” I said, “I think women do have it tougher. Our bodies are so much more complicated; and fortunately or unfortunately, we’re hyper-sensitive and in tune with our bodies. How vulnerable are we that we can know something is wrong inside us, we can ask for medical help, maybe we’ll get told we’re okay, and then a year later may get told we have to prepare for death.”
“And in the workplace,” he said. “Women just don’t seem to be treated fairly.”
“Well, I’ve been lucky,” I said, “I’ve had a lot of support in my work career. I suspect, though, my New York sense of humor had something to do with it. I’ve always known how to play the game, how to roll with sarcasm and wisecracks. I can dish it out as well as I can take it. For whatever reason, I think that somehow earned me respect around my male peers.”
“It helps,” he said.
And I can’t deny it. In my work life and in life in general, it does help to “play the game” if doing so doesn’t harm you or anyone else in any way. It’s helpful to get good at it, to throw something back one better when you’ve been hit below the belt, to roll with the punches and try to find your sense of humor about it, because, let’s face it, life can suck sometimes, but it beats the alternative.
When I reflect on my work life, I suppose I’m one of those rare women who has a good story to tell. I’ve been welcomed and embraced in the male-dominated electronics and computer field I’ve claimed as my own. I’m immensely grateful for that. I’ve kept a positive attitude, developed an excellent sense of humor, and used it to my advantage. Only rarely have I been mistreated on the job and when action was necessary, I was taken seriously. It’s important to feel like we are taken seriously. Not all women are. Because it has served me well, I take these lessons I’ve learned with me into the rest of my life. Life is so short and we need to figure out how to live it well in the short time we are given.
I’ve been blessed . . . in life . . . in general.
Today, I’m especially mindful of that.
Don’t forget to make time for the ones you love,