The Gambler – a song by Kenny Rogers has a line that says “You gotta know when to hold up, know when to fold up, know when to walk away, know when to run.”
As I was listening to this recently I was thinking how this wisdom applied not only to gambling, but also to women as they work toward a successful career in the trades. There will be times when using good judgement will require that you “know when to walk away, know when to run”.
Knowing when to speak up, Knowing when to let it go, Knowing when you’re wasting precious energy are all skills that will serve you well.
If you want to break it down a little further you will notice that you’re only knowing “when”…..
When is it time to go to the supervisor with a complaint about a co-worker for example? I would have to say that there should have been an attempt to solve the problem on your own first. Developing the skill to advocate for oneself has many benefits. It sends a message that you’re strong. You don’t need to be rescued. Imagine if everytime someone at work did something you didn’t like, you went to your boss and complained. You’d get a reputation after a while. Even as children we were encouraged to solve our own problems at some point. It’s good business.
But…there’s always a limit. If you’re tangling with someone who gets a joy out of irritating you then it may be time to crank it up. Let me give you a concrete example. I was walking through a worksite one day when a man made a very sexist comment to me. I turned to him and quietly and politely told him that I was offended by his remark. He laughed and then when I walked by again – he once again repeated the remark, obviously delighted by my discomfort. I walked over and asked him once again, a little firmer, to please not say it again. But he blatantly laughed out loud and said it again loud enough for others to hear. I informed him that if he didn’t stop, I would have to go see the supervisor. He chuckled as I walked away.
The next time I walked past him, he repeated the remark in front of 8 co-workers. I didn’t speak to him. I went to my supervisor and lodged a formal complaint. He was reprimanded and forced to apologize to me.
That’s the only time I’ve ever had that kind of response from a man. I find people in general are very reasonable but you have to learn that there will be times when you are out of your comfort zone and at those times you have to “know when to walk away, know when to run”. Do you know?
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