It is interesting to see how women function in the workplace. Women who do jobs requiring force like being in law enforcement tend to validate the expression that “a woman can do anything a man can do just as well, or better!” Unfortunately, in law enforcement, women tend to do the hostility part just as well or better than men can do it. Women often feel insecure in particular roles which society may feel do not suit their nature. Women in law offices feel they have to prove themselves, and then reprove themselves and are in an endless cycle of having to continuously prove themselves as others don’t always take them seriously. So, what is the solution?
First of all, women do much better in business than as Attorneys or in Law Enforcement simply because the prejudices against them don’t exist as strongly in the business world. Second, women are better than men at particular types of tasks and situations such as being non-threatening, and maintaining relationships. So, let’s see how a woman can optimize her chances in the business world.
(1) Let the men handle the conflicts while you concentrate on other things!
Women are seen as non-threatening. Is this good or bad? In my opinion, if you are trying to smooth over a situation, you need someone non-threatening. But, if you have to assert your authority, a non-assertive man gets more respect in the real world for being an authority than an assertive woman. It makes no sense, but this is a proven fact. So, if you are a woman and you need to lay down the law, you can always hire a man to do the job. He can lay down the law in a neutral tone of voice and people will listen.
(2) Forget about seeking validation
People’s prejudices get in the way. How they see a woman entrepreneur may never be evenhanded. So, forget about trying to gain people’s approval. Focus on building your business the right way and not on what people think.
(3) Focus on relationships
When men are younger, they have an easier time being friendly and maintaining relationships. I remember in school that I always had a huge social circle. But, as an adult my social circle fell apart and I had no way to grow it. My housemate is a woman, and I found that I made more friends through her than on my own. Many men find that they make friends either at work, at church, or through their wife. I don’t have a wife, but my spiritual group and housemate filled the void for a while. The point I’m trying to make here is that women do a better job at creating and nurturing relationships than men do as adults over twenty-five. So, instead of worrying about what people think of you as a woman entrepreneur, focus on what you are genetically superior at — building relationships. As a business owner, your success depends on creating and maintaining nurturing relationships. Yes, they need to be profitable, but even a non-profitable positive relationship can turn into a seed for endless referrals and good will. So, recognize your assets and milk them! Let the men handle authoritarian roles while you build relationships.
(4) The 30 something and 50 something female breakdown syndrome.
Femanists have conditioned society to think that women are identical to men in almost all ways. But, this is not at all true. Women do well in the workplace at certain stages of their life. But, in their mid thirties, many women I know have experienced a mid-life crisis. They lose their urge to succeed and work hard. Many want a family, but failed to build a relationship with a steady man and hence don’t have a marriage. Other women have children by this time and need to tend to their children. Then, twenty years after this breakdown there is menopause which is another serious female issue that leads to emotional instability. As a woman, you need to plan for children, emotional instability and breakdowns. But, how? Realize that in your 20’s you are full of energy. Realize that you need to create your business in such a way that you can take more time off in your thirties. Additionally, try to have other people who are reliable take over your customer service role when you reach menopause because you will lose a lot of your best business relationships if you get nasty with them! I’m just being realistic.
(5) Controlling your destiny is good
In a male dominated world, women may not have as much opportunity to move up. Men often prefer to hire men as middle and higher level managers. As a man who works alone, I don’t know how easy or hard it is for a woman, but I can imagine that in many circumstances there could be artificial roadblocks to your success. Having your own business eliminates these roadblocks. You start at the top, and build your clientele and network below you. By being an entrepreneur, you create your own blocks (or unblocks) to success rather than letting some male chauvanist do it for you! Interestingly enough, many Palestinian guys choose entrepreneurship for the same reason. They see working for a boss as constrictive and oppresive and they want to control their own destiny and give themselves a chance to get rich. Many work 80 hours a week, save up, and buy small markets or gas stations and build their empire brick by brick.
(6) Get more nitty gritty
Women can often be tempted to want to live the dream, rather than getting involved with smaller aspects of the business. There is a lot of analytics and nitty gritty tasks in business. You will not do well in business unless you learn to embrace more technical aspects like calculating profit margins, accounting, calculating opportunity costs, assessing the value of doing particular tasks, and more. Women tend to be more people oriented then number oriented. But, to do well in business, you need to be good at both even if you are always better at the people side of the business (without even trying.) As a warning, I would suggest against relying on outsourced staff that you hire for analytical work. They can easily pull the wool over your eyes and deceive you if you are not completely in control every step of the way and if you don’t understand the equations they are working with.
(7) Being in control
As mothers, women understand they need to be in control of their toddler. The minute you take your eye off them is the same minute they try to swallow something poisonous or jump off the porch only to await a ten foot fall into the bushes. Business is similar to babysitting. Most people you hire are not going to be smart or reliable. The minute you stop watching them or lose absolute control over them, you are finished. As a business person, you need to always be in control. I will not say that women are better or worse than men at being in control, but Chinese women excel at watching every move their assistants make which is why women are more powerful in China than in many other countries. If you are not in absolute control and able to simultaneously watch everyone who is working for you — you are through. So, think of it as glorified babysitting.