Job and career: the weapons of a woman

Knowingly, the lady next to me is nodding towards me. “It´s exactly the same for me” she whispers to me, while the seminar trainer is giving instructions to an actress in order to show the potential for conflict of female leaders. “I act exactly like my male colleagues. And what do I get for it? A bad performance evaluation. I´d be too dominant and aggressive.” I nod towards her. “Same for me.“ Excited, I listen to the tips of the trainer. “Allow your femininity“ was one of her mpearlsantras. I raise my hand, “Which concrete tips do you have here?” The trainer looks over to me and says, “Pearl necklace and slightly tilt your head while listening. That always works.”

Somewhat helpless, I hold the pearl necklace in front of the black turtleneck sweater. I simply can´t convince myself to buy that. It was never mine, turtleneck? Pearls? Have you already seen a natural scientist at work wearing posh jewellery? I feel like a 50-year old economics student. Crestfallen, I leave the changing room and put the pieces back in their place. “Goodbye” the saleswoman is singing behind me. I can only nod and think to myself, “never in my life.” I firmly stride along the main road. The way I walk, the clicking of my high heels could be part of a marching song. I have to think of the trainer from the career coaching and her oh-so-wonderful tip. Screw that! And her damn pearl necklace and turtleneck as well.

I tilt my head, cross my legs and give him my most wonderful smile, including a long look.

I just so make it to the tram stop to catch the number five and drop straight on a seat. “Tickets please,” a blunt bloke is yelling at me and rips me right out of my trance. I am enraged about his manners. What on earth is he yelling at me like that? I won´t let him do that to me! “Dear Sir” I begin “first of all relax.” “Now come on and show me your ticket and I´ll bugger off,” the uniformed dude replies. “You´re joking, right,” I counter. I´ll show him who´s the boss here. How does he treat me? After all I am a PhD scientist leading a little department! Just as I want to begin with my next counter, I see that I forgot to stamp my ticket. With a shrug, I hand him my invalid ticket. “Sorry.” He gets his electronic notepad and asks me for my photo ID. In that very moment I have to think back to the trainer. I tilt my head, cross my legs and give him my most wonderful smile, including a long look. “Can´t you turn a blind eye, just this one time” I ask him. “I totally forgot it in all this hectic.” His reaction takes me off guard, “OK, but just for you.”

I get out at the next stop and quickly run back to the small shop. “Here I am again” I greet the saleswoman. “One turtleneck and a pearl necklace, please.”

Lisette Feldmann 2015Our blog Author writes under the alias Lisette Feldmann. As a PhD scientist she works as modern leader in a large multinational. Privately, she tries to strike a balance between family and career.



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