Yesterday, I had the apartment to myself, which meant…
Binge-watching The Royals, consuming everything in sight… and a dash of Sex and the City thrown in for good measure.
As I watched a Sex and the City episode I have watched more times than there are days in a workweek, I reflected on why exactly this show resonated with such a great audience. The girls on the show were discussing a very real phenomenon: women at work.
You may remember this scene from The Devil Wears Prada, where Andy complains to her boyfriend about her boss.
How is it that women at work, years past Sex and the City, years past a show that celebrated women’s rights to have the same sexual playing field as men, we still experience the same phenomenon that they speak of in the workplace? I know this is a topic that recently has garnered some attention with Lean In, and other such resources, but as a twenty-something woman, I still feel there are inherent rules we have to play by that only make sense to other women.
The commandments of women at work:
1. Don’t cry.
3. If you do, you’ll be (as Charlotte points out in the episode), always the target of “watch out, she may cry.”
4. Be nice, be collaborative, use words like “we,” include everyone.
(Because if they see you’re excluding someone, it comes across like:
6. Negotiate your salary, but not too heavy-handed, or you will be looked at as greedy.
My friends and I came up with some solutions.
1. If you must cry, cry when you are alone and in your own office.
2. Actually, just don’t cry at work unless you have makeup handy.
3. See above.
4. Be nice if you must, but manterrupt if you must, too.
5. Set your own boundaries. (Again, as a South Asian, the guilt can come naturally.)
Women who can and choose to work, I am proud of you. If you choose not to work or you cannot, I am proud of you too. Let’s make the workplace a woman’s world.