“You’re too assertive.”
I’d never heard those words in my life. Not related to me, anyway. Yet that’s what my supervisor was telling me because that’s what a woman in the office told him. Apparently I was too assertive and I made people (other women) feel uncomfortable. He ended the conversation with something like “don’t change anything. This is their issue, not yours. I love how you are. You work hard and get things done.” The whole exchange could be a textbook leadership lesson on how not to handle office drama.
It got me thinking about my relationships with co-workers and it caused me to pull away from everyone in the office. Because he wouldn’t tell me exactly who said it, though I had my suspicions, it caused me to put my guard up. I had helped several of my coworkers – edited a wedding photo, was always on hand to assist them with projects – where did this come from?
When I came across this article in The Atlantic, there were pieces of it that sounded very familiar.
On active duty, women were my support network, a situation encouraged both by our small numbers—approximately 15 percent of the active duty force is women—and by the military’s emphasis on teamwork. My experiences with civilian women, however, have not always been as friendly. Other women veterans have also reported negative experiences with civilian women, ranging from lack of understanding and inability to relate to cold shoulders.
I’ve always felt I was relatable to other women. I’m of the mindset that we should adjust each other’s crowns. I’ve dealt with catty women, sure, but for the most part, I’ve had great female friends. And I love having girlfriends – girls’ night is fun, carpool karaoke is a blast and I love a good sleepover with face masks and wine as much as the next girl.
Maybe it’s not a Military thing. Maybe this is a strong woman thing. Maybe women Veterans feel it more because, by default, those are some strong ass women.
Comment below – have you been called out for being a strong woman?