May 14th, 2013


A moment of revelation

I was in a project meeting today and had a moment of revelation, that caught me unawares and reminded me of the cartoon below. I was late to the meeting because of the meeting before overrunning. I walked into the meeting room, followed by my boss and my boss's boss. I took my seat at the opposite end of the room to the door.

I am the most junior person in the room, one of only two women, and the person least close to the door. As the meeting comes to order (after us walking in late), the woman next to me says to the chair - are we all here? - and looks towards the (still) open door.

I am just about to get to my feet to stand up and walk over to close the door (my thinking - I was late, I should close the door) when the same woman (a colleague and friend, somewhat older, 2 hierarchical levels higher) hisses at me in a nice way - "Sicher nicht!". Literally, "certainly not" but in this context "don't even think about it". And of course the person nearest the door stood up and closed it, and the meeting started.

I was so startled by my automatic response: "I was late, it was my fault, I should make amends and close the door."
My lesson to take away? Nice girls always leap up and close doors. Assertive women only do so if they are the one closest to the door :-)