I am ridiculously happy with my job and my company.
And, this morning, I realized that – until now – I’ve never worked anywhere that I could just be me. Where I’m treated with respect. Where I don’t have to reassert myself many, many times in order to be treated like a peer, and then have to tell myself many, many times that it’s ok to be considered a bitch and get ahead rather than be considered nice and stay stuck.
My colleagues respect what I say. Seek my opinion. Follow my leadership and simply expect me to follow theirs.
I don’t have to constantly prove myself in ways that men around me don’t. I don’t have to yell at meetings. I don’t have to pretend that I’m someone I’m not. I don’t have to make the choice between a bitch who goes somewhere and a fun person who doesn’t.
And then, this morning, when I was reading about the GitHub engineer who quit, I found myself wondering, “Is how I feel with my current job what men feel like at work?”
Suddenly, it makes more sense to me that men are more easily considered superstars. Because here’s what’s happening to me:
- When I don’t have to spend my energy fighting, I spend it on ideas and execution instead.
- When I don’t worry about how my comments come across, I express my thoughts more.
- When I don’t get disproportionately penalized for being wrong, I take more risk.
- When I don’t feel held to a different standard, I take care of myself and don’t get sick as often.
- When I don’t find myself judged by my gender, I can ignore it and make better working relationships.
I realize that men have other challenges at work. I’m sure they’re challenges I can’t even imagine. And I know that no one escapes the repercussions of crappy, political, hostile environments.
But without gender pressure, I can get more done. I can be better at my job. I can be happy at work. My stress level is shockingly low, despite feeling all the stresses of a crazy seed-stage startup and the full measure of our growing pains and limited runway.
Is this what men feel like at work? It’s more powerful than I ever imagined.