Ladies, We Can Be Awesome. But Not TOO Awesome…

Image for post
Image for post

As usual, 3+ items triggered this post during my social media hiatus (even though I’m still writing over here at Medium during my #ghostingnotposting January), one of the many articles that I read that was absolutely fascinating to me AND validated something I’ve felt for a long, long time, but never could quite articulate well was this one, by The Atlantic. It shares research out of Sweden, which basically showed that certain kinds of promotions for married women at work nearly doubled their likelihood of divorce, but did not increase men’s divorce rates in the same situation. LinkedIn also did a post on it, with a ton of interesting sidebar comments as well.

Second: Once upon a time, Sheryl Sandberg said the following as well, which has haunted me ever since the first time I read it, long after her leaning in and out and all around, which is this:

Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively for women. When a man is successful, he is liked by both men and women. When a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less.”

Third, I googled the something very similar to the title of this article, to find this op ed piece on how successful women should and can be awesome, but not too awesome. A quote from said op ed, “You want to be successful and be a confident leader that gets work done? Nah girl, you’re just stuck up and demanding now.”

Bonus item: Even Perdita gets a bad rap! Luckily, a few posters embrace her as their spirit animal!

Ladies, I want you to raise your hand and like this post if you’ve ever felt this way at work. Or for that matter, even at home…or in ANY situation.

Women in the US, and all around the world are raised to be the following:

  • quiet,
  • hardworking,
  • and to work for free in the home —
  • and be grateful for it.
  • We are taught to value putting the care of others in front of our own.
  • We’re also encouraged to be pretty,
  • wear the right attire,
  • be nice,
  • cheer up,
  • and smile. (Think about it. Have you ever heard a man tell another man to smile?)
  • We’re taught to watch the parade, but not be in the parade, or God forbid, even lead the parade (unless, of course, it is a beauty parade). And…
  • bragging about any of our accomplishments is something we should never, ever do, and avoid at all costs.

Even worse, here’s the double standard at play: If we hold others accountable at work: men are “getting things done,” while women are “impossible to work with.” If we dare question quality of work: men are “raising standards,” but women’s standards are “way too high.” If we show any negative emotion or frustration at work whatsoever, men are allowed a pass, because “their just tough or have a short fuse,” but women are “too moody…and or b!tchy.”

Friends, this has to stop.🛑

This double standard is killing our universe and our women’s well being (which hint: is half the population!) In 2020 and beyond, gender, and for that matter race and/or any other differences should not matter.

Here’s what SHOULD matter at work, regardless of gender, ethnic background, even education or work history at work or even how you do it. Ready?


Here’s what SHOULD matter at work AND at home. Ready?

Being yourself. Not who or what others want you to be.

Personally, I’m exhausted from trying to be something I’m not, and I’m just not going to try and do it anymore. I am who I am. And fortunately or unfortunately, this article by The Atlantic supports my personal choice not to get married, as I never want to be held back and would never choose a spouse who held me back — personally or professionally. And, I’m actually in the majority now of adults in the US. The singles in this country outnumber the marrieds. We’re also not having as many children anymore either. (Not that you need one for the other…necessarily.)

Is my choice right or wrong? That’s not the point. The point is, is this choice the only choice for aspiring female CEOs who want to win in a man’s world for those who want a life and a cool leadership gig?

I hope not.

  1. Videos on unconscious bias — from ironically —
  2. Five ways to take action for equal pay
  3. Hold management accountable for diversity initiatives and track them.
  4. CEOs: Follow the best in class example — Marc Benioff. You don’t need billions like he has either to promote and honor the work of women in your companies and use their own style to do it, either.
  5. CEOs: mentor women, but don’t try to change them to be just like you. That’s not leading — that’s micromanaging and dangerous. Instead, celebrate and embrace the differences, rather than ridiculing the differences.

In conclusion — the first part of change is recognition that there is a problem. There is a problem that still exists even now in 2020 in the workplace, and even at home. Women are treated differently than men and held to radically different standards, just because and solely by their gender. It’s up to all of us to recognize it and stop it dead in its tracks.

Last, ladies, if you’re out there being too awesome — I’m here to give you the blessing, hall pass, and straight up high 5 to just keeping being your awesome selves, and never, ever dull your flavor or turn down your volume when others around you just can’t handle it. They are not your people! Find other people who love, appreciate, and value you for being you and your loud, colorful, flavorful self, and celebrate your awesomeness with them. Vacate from the rest. Keep being awesome — and TOO awesome!

In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, I leave you with the following:

You need to just stop, like can you just not step on my gown?”



Erin L. Albert is a writer, inter alia. Opinions here are her own, unless otherwise cited to others’.

Pharmacist, author, lawyer, entrepreneur and The Edutainer Podcast Producer. Opining is my own.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store