I try to keep the public/private divide intact on BloodyBrill, despite what you think after having read my previous post about poop, which is why you don't know much about my work or where I work or what I do. I allude to my job and my career, but I don't believe in sticking my foot in my mouth virtually. Plus, come one - everyone can find everyone these days on the ol' interweb.
But I will share my frustrations in this forum more often than not, and I think that's acceptable. My latest is that I just had my performance review (or appraisal, or whatever). I haven't had one since this time last year, and so much has changed at work and in the economy and my life in general that frankly I sort of didn't want to know. It didn't turn out too bad - definitely could have been worse - but the number one piece of feedback I received was about crying. I am considered, across my office, to be overly emotional and prone to crying way too often.
Now. I'm not saying I haven't had to duck into the loo every so often, or gone behind closed doors to let out my frustration, both here and in New York. I know it's considered a sign of weakness for women to cry in the workplace and that generally it's bad for one's career if they're seen to constantly break down at the drop of a hat (which apparently is the general consensus about me), and yes, I get it. But dammit I am so angry about the really ridiculous double standard that exists in British culture. Women shouldn't cry, shouldn't have any emotional response at all to anything in the workplace, but also are treated like second-class citizens even when they do show a characteristic stiff upper lip. I've never seen a culture so crude, with all female PAs and EAs, where the all-male old-boys club is still going strong, and where women more often than not carry the bag in the colleague relationship - and not the handbag. It's absolutely disgusting and one of the biggest disappointments I've had since moving to the UK.
In New York, if you're a confident, strong, articulate, smart woman, you can go anywhere, do anything (with ok maybe a bit of luck). But here, no way. Even in a creative industry women are still weak and still volatile, so men have to run the show. The head of my company is a woman, and I'll bet she still encounters the same crap I do. I feel for her, and for every other woman in business in this country. I know that my sometimes frequent work breakdowns (becoming less frequent, but still) don't help crush the stereotype. It's probably been the hardest thing for me to overcome since moving here, because it's a vicious circle: treat a confident girl like crap, even she will cry - and then you'll treat her more like crap, because she's acting like a girl. It's not fair, but I suppose life isn't fair.
I had an interesting conversation last week with an old New York colleague, and relayed this Catch-22 to him; he sympathized, but reminded me that I did want international experience and this was the dirty underbelly of it. I didn't like hearing it, but I know he's right. I guess it's up to me to prove to the world that us Jersey girls can take their poop and throw it right back. With an English accent.