You're Not Bossy, You Are The Boss
Updated: Mar 12
Lately I have been working on sitting comfortable with situations where I have to stand my ground. I am really good at doing it, but the problem, is that I feel terrible afterward. I second guess myself and replay the scenario several times over.
As most women I know, I have had to deal with some sexism in my career and men that either sexualize women or don't accept their decisions as eagerly as they do a man's. Nothing gets under my skin more than when I assert my authority get the reaction that I am being bossy or yep b*tchy.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I am in the middle of a home renovation and as renovations of old homes tend to go, it has not gone the smoothest. Over the years I have done everything from small partial remodels of apartments to complete gutting of commercial properties and the thing that always amazes me is how contractors respond to a woman being in charge. In particular, whenever you make them toe the line on the job and that conflicts with taking the easy way out.
I remember a few years ago I was replacing the windows in a commercial property. It was a sizable job of about 15 to 20 commercial windows and at the end of the first day of the project, one of the installers asked if he could store the new windows in my tenant's retail store over the next couple of days. These windows were 8 feet tall by 3 feet wide and would definitely be in the way of my retailer's patrons. So I told him that unfortunately, they would not be able to store them in the boutique because they would be in the way of the customers and be a hazard. I then asked him if they had room on their trailer parked outside. He said that they did have room but that he didn't want to have to load them. Then he proceeded to ask me if he could speak to my husband. Oh no he didn't! I said "My husband? Why do you want to speak with him?" He replied "Maybe he would let me keep them in the store?".
Sadly, I was not surprised given my experience with other contractors in the area. There seemed to be a sexist culture when it came to doing a job for a business woman and property owner. The truth is that if my husband would have said the same thing, it would have been the end of it. He certainly would not have asked to speak to his wife.
My response to him was that I hired the company that he worked for, that I owned the building not my husband, and that if he wanted to speak to him he could
absolutely do so, but then I would never hire his company again. I could tell he was taken aback, but I could also tell that he realized the offense.
I am learning to own my authority with confidence and that a part of having that authority comes a responsibility, a responsibility to see it through even if that means having to stand my ground when someone wants to take the easy way out. If anyone has a problem with that, well it is really their problem.
As far as my relationship with the window installer, the next morning I brought donuts as a peace-offering and when he grabbed one he said "Thank you boss lady".
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