Today, I complete three months as a manager in this company. I am really glad I did well throughout my probationary phase as it is my first time to be a manager in my career.
In celebration of the occasion, I take a coffee break with a colleague of mine; another manager from the next company near ours. This is my first casual talk with her away from the office. She seems like a nice person though I don’t know her that well.
As I start my first bite of my tiramisu, she raises her two eyebrows in surprise and smilingly says:
“Wow! I never thought that crossfitters can eat cakes!”
I give a short laugh before I reply:
“And they eat fries, and they belly dance, and they joke around, and they color their nails and wear heels and mascaras too”
Just then her smile faded away.
It took me a few seconds to realize it’s because she is the opposite to everything I have just said. So that sounds like mockery to her.
To correct the awkwardness of the situation, I go on:
“I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean any offense to you. I’m just talking about myself”
“No that’s fine” she said quickly
“and since you talked about yourself, let me talk about myself too”
“I’m all ears” I said
She took a deep breath before she starts talking then she began:
Since I was a little girl, my family would praise my loud, almost-blatant voice. When I talk, the whole room anywhere I am in would stop to look at the source of that audible voice. That was not out of admiration every time to be honest. I could easily tell that from their facial expressions. They would be surprised how could a little girl have such a big assertive tone of voice.
As a school student, I participated in morning motivational speeches before classes begin. Sometimes I would sing too. I was also chosen to do some theatrical performances due to my voice and extreme confidence in myself.
I grew up, now I have a career. After only one year in my first job, I was appointed a manager. No wonder. I have got all what it takes. I am educated, strong, confident, fair, have a strong voice and sharp tone. Even the way I walk shows that I am is a manager; head up high like almost all Saudi managers. Well, maybe except you!
I couldn’t tell wether she was joking or serious, so I make no comment.
She goes on:
I forgot to mention that I lift weights too to keep myself fit. Not crossfit but body building.
A woman has to look after her body and looks. Except that…(pause) I don’t feel like …(another pause) a female.
Being a manager for almost 8 staff members now, I always try to protect them. I must always prove my value being the first female manager in this company, and so I constantly compete with other managers. They are all men. No matter how good I make, I always want to do better than what they do. I usually succeed doing that but it takes a lot of my energy. At the end of the day, I am exhausted.
Recently I realized that I drink only black coffee, I wear no makeup, and I eat my lunch in the office really quickly everyday. I can hardly taste it. All my talks are about work, money, promotions, offers, development. That’s my passion now. There’s nothing wrong about that, but I feel I’m starting to belong more to men’s world. I don’t know much about fashion, beauty or makeup. I am starting to feel that all those are irrelevant. Especially beauty. It’s not an idea I think about because I don’t feel like one. I don’t feel beautiful from the inside. Even when I wear makeup, deep within I don’t feel pretty.
I’m only afraid if I change to look and feel like a woman, those male managers would win over me. And I will never give’m that chance. Ever. Now, who is the winner, huh?
P.S: picture is from Google.
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My name is Noor Elhayat and I’m a Saudi writer. I like to eat bagels, read and dance.
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