On The Run On Women’s Day

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day and I took the day off. I have planned a day of me time which includes running and eating what I like. I am training for the next marathon on April 1st (hoping it will not become a joke) and am quite excited for the opportunity to have this day to myself. The last LSD before the race — Long Slow Distance.

I have been thinking for a while on this. I am a good runner. I will not win the marathon, but I usually make it into the top ten of any local running event. And I am proud that I actually dare something so challenging at times. Every year while I am running my annual marathon at around 14 miles in I start cursing myself, confirming that it will be my last time ever… just to find myself a day after the race already planning the next running event. Surviving a challenge, beating yourself… this energizes me.

I have been in a slump for a few months now. I hate my new gig working in Germany. The office is more sexist, I am not getting the same respect I did in the US, and I am tired of being treated as anything less than the expert I am in my profession. This constant questioning of the value I add by myself, and the direct push back from some of the upper (male) management here has taken its toll.

It is so amazing, because whenever I am in US-only meetings the tone is so different. Dialogues happen. And there is a genuine respect in any conversation while here in Germany things are different. These obvious differences might occur in my company only. But, man, my company has a respect issue. In particular towards women. They simply do not exist in Germany’s top management here in my organization and stop in middle management with less than 20% representation. The way people talk down to women or see them as worker bees is frustrating. Outspoken women are not called bitches here; they simply do not exist — No clue why. Women literally sit in meetings and do not talk unless addressed directly.  It is sad for someone as educated, ambitious, and outspoken as me. Being able to participate in something big that in a large organization like this and shaping future business and potentially industry trends is really exciting to me. I typically spend an immense amount of personal energy on making work a better place and really bringing the business forward.

The subtle sexism is draining me of this energy. Too often I am asked to step back and let the men speak (yes, that is happening). Too often I am asked to stay quiet and listen more on items that I am the expert on in favor of letting almost always male newcomers talk (yes, this is happening also quite often). Too often: I was warned, I was given an explanation…

So, I am staying out of it for one day. I am taking the day for myself. And I will run…to regain energy. Because running is objective. I am measured like everyone else and there is no denying that I am good at what I am doing and that I am getting better the more I do it.

I wish everything was so objective.

… nevertheless, I will persist.

 

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