Do you feel like you work harder than your male peers? Well, guess what? New findings suggest all women feel the same. Hayley Buckle ponders if we really are trying to make it in an us-against-them culture...
Ever worked in a supermarket? I have and trust me it's not glam or exciting. So why is it then that as a mere shelf stacker for Morrisons, I always tried to impress? While my male colleagues would dump trays of tinned tomatoes on the shelves, I'd line up stock immaculately. I'm talking OCD fashion.
Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't trying to climb to the heady heights of being on the till. I despised this job. But in the typically male environment of shelf stacking, I knew I had to be a lot more precise than the lads to get the shifts I needed. I had to work hard for recognition.
And guess what? A new study says women working harder than men is the norm (quelle surprise, right?). It was conducted in America but I'm pretty sure a British version would draw the same conclusion.
I believe women and men work equally hard, but I do think we girls try much harder. We are fussy, pay attention to detail and won't stop until whatever we're working on is completely flawless. We are perfectionists – it's not about getting the job done, it's about getting the job done right.
When I got my first writing gig, I would refine, refine and refine my work until deadline, inspecting features with a fine toothcomb. I didn't need to – I had put the work in - but I wanted perfection. Also, having had some editing experience now too, it turns out girls make fewer mistakes in their copy than boys. Soz dudes.
Another finding of the study? Men work less when women are around. Now this I can relate to.
Despite previously working for an organisation staffed mostly by women, the male boss would dictate down to his employees and call our desk the "girls table" while he happily swanned off surfing.
If he had been working alone, I'm sure he would claim to have finished our work in half the time (he was that sort). But if we hadn't been there, how would he ever remember his Twitter login I just don't know...
So why do women feel the need try so hard? Is it really because of all the age-old gender rivalry? Or is it simply a matter of survival in hard times? I'm swaying more towards the latter.
With so few jobs, and so many deserving applicants, it seems to me that these days working hard is less women vs. men and more women vs. the world.
Job opportunities in the creative industries are heading the way of the Dodo bird and, personally, I'm finding that achieving my dream job is practically impossible. Knowing that there are countless other people after the same position, I have no choice but to work hard, try harder and make myself the best I can be.
So who does work harder? My head is telling me no one can be ambivalent about their job these days if they want to get anywhere. But my heart? It says us girls try WAY harder.
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