The other day, as I drove home from a family weekend out-of-state, an indicator light came on. I pulled into a gas station to check my tire pressure. The cashier said they didn’t sell tire pressure gauges, but offered to lend me theirs. After thanking her, I asked where the air hose was.
“Around the corner by the garage,” she answered, and then added, “Do you need help?”
I looked at her blankly, confused.
“Most women need help with that,” she explained.
Most women need help checking and correcting their air pressure? Really?! You have got to be kidding me.
That story reminded me of a Saturday night a couple weeks ago when my husband and I stopped to see my nephew Tristan working the door at Fat Tuesdays, a local restaurant/bar with live music. During the hour we stood chatting, I noticed with great interest how couples handled the cover charge. Without exception, as each couple approached, the woman stopped in her tracks and as she hung back, her date stepped up, extracted his wallet and paid for both.
Later I asked Tristan for statistics on the whole evening and he responded that 80-90% of the time, the man paid both cover charges without discussion. On rare occasions, both parties paid or the woman promised to buy the first drink.
What does this have to do with Women of HR? Well, all of us in the HR blogosphere are all-too-acquainted with the hackneyed phrase, “Seat at the table.” (In fact, there is a distinct danger that my PHR may be yanked for using such an annoying cliche. But bear with me.)
HR professionals want to be recognized as full, active, competent, invaluable business partners who make a positive difference to the bottom line, not as administrative support staff who fill out forms and plan the company picnic. That’s not so different from women wanting a seat at the table in politics and business. We want to be taken seriously. We want to share our gifts and talents, advance, success. We don’t want to hear patronizing comments like, “What will we do when she gets PMS?” when we run for office or pursue a promotion. We want to break through that glass ceiling and have all the opportunities and rewards of our male colleagues.
Now this is just my opinion, but I believe we can further our cause by being self-reliant, resourceful, capable adults who can take care of ourselves in a pinch, even if we don’t always need to. Now at times, whether male or female, we all appreciate being cared for by our partners, and I’m not knocking that. But if in our personal relationships, men know as to be consistently helpless and dependent, guess what image men carry into the voting booth and the C-suite?
Let’s stop hanging back while men step up. Here’s your homework. Get out the tire gauge and measure your air pressure, even if your partner is glad to do it for you. Learn to check your oil. Learn to change a tire, even if you have AAA. Who knows, one day your cell phone may fail you and you’ll be stuck out in the country. Learn some simple repairs around the house. Insist on paying for date expenses fairly.
Knowing how to take care of yourself feels GOOD, and who knows, being capable and self-reliant might help us all win seats at the big boys’ table.
Photo by devdababe
Krista is our featured contributor on Linked In this week. Click over to meet her!