Women at Work and at Play
by Connie H. Deutsch
Women have made great strides in the workplace but it's still not a level playing field. If she gets a promotion, it's because she slept her way to the top. People often blame men for circulating those kinds of rumors but it could just as easily be spread by women. After more than half a century of women struggling to climb the corporate ladder and get equal pay for equal work, you would think the sisterhood would be more supportive of its members.
The truth is that while some men encourage women to reach the top, women often sabotage other women even when they are not competing for the same job. Is it a jealousy factor? Do they begrudge other women their success or are they programmed to think that women don't deserve to have the same success as men? Relationships for women are difficult in the best of circumstances but it's almost a schizoid duality of nature to see how differently they operate in and out of the office with other women.
In the office, they often resemble a piranha always going on the attack. They might even have a smile on their face while stabbing you in the back. But take them away from the office, and they are so supportive of you that you'd never know it was the same person who sabotaged your promotion and tarnished your reputation.
Women have always found comfort in talking to other women. They help each other through emotional crises and even help them find better paying jobs and celebrate their promotions as long as it's not for the same company that employs them.
When a woman is going through a divorce or ending a relationship that wasn't formalized with a marriage certificate, you usually can't ask for a more understanding confidante than another woman. She knows about heartache and men who have difficulty expressing their emotions. She knows what it feels like to play second fiddle to a man's other priorities. In short, she knows what it feels like to be a woman. When you try to explain these things to a man, men don't seem to be able to "get it" the same way that a woman does.
Women often form "best friends" that often last from childhood into adulthood. They go through the ups and downs through each stage of their life and heaven help anyone who hurts their "best friend." If they are both attracted to the same man, they may try to ignore that attraction, but all too often when the attraction doesn't die, then all bets are off as they compete for his affection and their lifelong friendship can come to an end.
Men have often come between the friendships of women, sometimes for no other reason than to see if they can. And sometimes it's due to jealousy; the man may be jealous of the time his friend is spending with his lover. And sometimes, it's the family of one of them that comes between them and it can be for the same reason, jealousy, that the man or woman isn't spending as much time with them as s/he used to because there is now a partner in his life.
Work has definitely come between women but work has also given women their self-esteem, self-confidence, and an income that gives them the freedom to be independent, to make their own choices, and to live life to the fullest. Now, they just have to learn how to bring their best qualities from their personal relationships into the work environment. They can still be professional in their climb to the top, but they don't have to destroy the reputation of other women in the process.