Saturday, October 08, 2005
I used the "S" word! And it's a 10-letter word, so that makes it 2-1/2 times worse than any 4-letter word! Recently, I've been involved in a large purchase for some very expensive medical equipment. About $850,000 worth, to be more precise. I found myself to be the only woman in the room with about 17 men involved in the negotiations on both sides of the discussions. A few times, I had to take the lead position - over my boss and even his boss. I'm not uncomfortable in these situations. I've been handling negotiations like this for most of my professional career, although at my current employer it's more common for me to be the only woman involved than ever before. And there are more levels of authority so I'm sitting there advising and possibly disagreeing with Corporate Directors, VPs, Senior VPs, etc - again, mostly men. I'm a woman with a lot of authority at my workplace, over both men and women. I'm the boss. And in purchase negotiations, I have the responsibilty to my employer to protect their interest so at times I have to "go on the attack" against the vendor, usually represented by men. My work situation coupled with my single status make it difficult to cultivate a submissive spirit. Everyday decisions are dependant on me. Every aspect of my life, from homemaking to wage-earning is dependent on my perfmance. It's a catch-22 with which I continually struggle. How am I to learn submission when there's no one to whom to submit?