Boy was this a validation of everything that I've been feeling in my career. I am assertive. I am focused. Yes, I am out of the closet about my mom status. But it doesn't matter. I act more like one of the guys at work. I have one picture of my family at my desk. One piece of art that my son and I did in art class over a year ago. It's not that I don't love my family. I just have to compartmentalize my life from work. It's how I get through the day without choking on the guilt.
Year after year during performance review season, I'm always told that I am "intimidating," "agressive," or "too tough." Yet, during the rest of the year those qualities are praised by getting the toughest projects, by handling more escalations that anyone else on the team, by being brought in as the "ace" that can get things done. The rest of year my skills are sought after. But when it comes to review time. Well, then suddenly I need improvement.
I've decided that I'm calling them on it. I want specific examples including the context of the situation. I'm not rude. I'm never unprofessional. I don't get caught up in office gossip. I don't berate folks or treat them like idiots (even when they act like it). I just cut through the work BS so that we can stay on time, within budget, and still get home by 6:00pm.
But the kicker for me, is that if I acted more feminine. If I acted more like a girl, then I'd be told I was too "soft," couldn't "tow the line," not "management material."
I honestly don't know if I feel better or worse. Right now I just feel pissed off knowing that no matter how I play the game. No matter how much I do or don't contribute. No matter how many times I put work in front of my family or visa versa. It doesn't really matter. Because, no matter what, I'm not going to win. I'll just keep on keeping on. Because at least now I know, it doesn't really matter anyways.