I often hear that I’m sensitive and emotional. In the right surrounding, these are positive characteristics as I get defined as emphatic instead of sensitive for example, which is a much more negative definition. However, in the wrong environment it won’t be something positive as people can see me as weak, unstable or touchy. I used to work for a stockbrokerage firm where I was the only girl in a group of 10. That wasn’t easy, I can tell you that. It was all about the money and being seen as the best, smartest and most hard working person in the group. I often heard that I was way to sensitive and that I needed to “be able to take some shit”. It didn’t matter if we discussed a topic on stocks, the way we spoke to clients or the fact that a girl from a party last weekend was wearing “fuck me heals” and obviously wanted to get laid. One time, a colleague from another department started contacting me a lot, telling me things such as “Great, I know where you live now so I can come visit you any time..”. Freaking scary! Another time, the brokerage manager was telling me during a night out with the company how great he thought I was and that he was pushing for me to become a stockbroker (at the time I was in sales). I was flattered and felt that I finally was being seen by the management. By the end of the evening, he started saying how beautiful and sexy I was in the dress I was wearing and my hope got crashed. He just said those things to get what he really wanted. Even with these two incidences, I got told from my closest colleagues not to take things so personal and be less emotional. In another company I’ve heard that I need to become more mean when talking to people. I needed to stop being a nice person, because no one respects a nice person.
I’ve tried to change to fit my environment, but that simply isn’t who I am. I am emotional, emphatic, sensitive, sentimental, touchy – call it whatever you want but I will use those characteristics in an environment where they are seen as an advantage instead of as a disadvantage. Changing the way we are for someone else is foolish. Nothing good will come out of that.
This is your world, you need to shape it or someone else will do it for you.