Are you a competitive person when it comes to your career? Are you driven by ambition? Maybe you are embarrassed to admit it. Depending on your viewpoint, you might see a competitive or an ambitious streak as a good thing - something that drives you or pushes you on when the going gets tough. Perhaps you disagree and see ambition as more of a negative attribute? Something that makes people push themselves forward, over and above the consideration of others?
Historically, competition and ambition have been seen as masculine characteristics. Men have been type cast into the dominant, ambitious roles in film, TV and books. Often unapologetically so. In fact always unapologetically so, especially at work. How often do you hear a man apologise or down play his success? They don't. They own it.
How about a competitive woman though? A woman propelled by ambition? What does that phrase conjure up in your mind? For me, it conjures up the image of someone who is forthright, not very feminine or motherly, someone who knows what she wants and reluctantly I say this, but maybe a bit of a bitch. I almost hate myself for saying that out loud because it's such a negative and untrue stereotype.
Bitchiness is a problem that I have experienced a lot at work. I would hazard a guess that there isn't one woman reading this who hasn't experienced or met a woman who has been bitchy to them. I would also hazard a guess that there isn't a woman out there who hasn't been a bit of a bitch themselves at times too. Put a group of women together and the air will commonly turn a slight shade of bitch. It's like it's hardwired into our DNA.
Recently I have been around a group of women, all of whom I liked and admired and I found the talk turn to another woman. A successful, ambitious woman - definitely someone who you might refer to as competitive but in a very unapologetic manner. She was making a lot of money and she wasn't afraid or ashamed to say so. This group of women did not like that. It started off with a tentative comment from one with a slightly bitchy angle to test the waters. Once the rest of them got wind of a bit of bitching they all jumped right in. They genuinely seemed to enjoy ripping strips out of this particular woman. Did it make them feel better about themselves? I'm not sure.
What I do know is that this is not unusual behaviour and I'm ashamed to say that I've done it myself. You just get carried away with it don't you? But why do we do that to one another? Is it because we inherently dislike said woman? Perhaps. Or is it, as I suspect, rooted in jealousy of another woman's success.
If that woman had been a successful doctor helping the sick or an Olympian representing her country you wouldn't hear quite so much bitching. An entrepreneur? A business woman? A CEO or director? Well that's a different story.
Why do women seem to inherently dislike other women that are deemed ambitious and making good money off the back of their success? It isn't as though it precludes them from also being successful.
It really shouldn't make us feel threatened or less of a success. I'd hazard a guess that it does though.
Women are fabulous. Against all odds that society, history and politics have thrown at us we have risen up to a place that is now often on an equal footing with our male counterparts. We work, we multi task, we make babies, we raise children and we can even run the world. And yet here we are, it's 2016 and we are still ripping shreds out of each other if one of us individually is successful and is making money off the back of that success.
If you are reading this to the end it's likely this ramble has struck a chord with you. Perhaps you will join me in thinking twice before bitching about ambitious women. If you feel threatened or jealous it would be far more productive to ask yourself what it is they have done to get to that place or why you feel like you do. That's what I'm going to be doing anyway. If you want what they have then go out and get it. Don't tear them down for having the balls to do it first. There is enough success for all of us after all.
If you are an ambitious, successful woman, I hope you will stop apologising for it. Own it and be proud of it. There is nothing wrong with standing up and saying "You know what, I work bloody hard at what I do, I'm shit hot at it and I'm not going to apologise for my success because I've earned it."
I'll start it right here.
Hi, I'm Fi. I'm going to rock the blogging world and create an online empire in the process. I work all hours of the night so I can make it big one day. I am motivated and inspired by other successful women in my field and I aim to motivate and inspire you too. I will hold out my hand to help you if you need it but I will never apologise for my success.
Don't be ashamed of your success and celebrate with others in theirs. We need to support each other in business. Own it ladies. Do it and do it bloody well.
After all, ambition is not a dirty word. Bitch is.
For more from Fi you can read her blog, A Mum Track Mind here