All my previous posts for Peaks and Harbours have been about life side of work-life balance. I was reflecting on this, and think I tend to talk more about my kids than my work partly because it’s a more relatable thing to talk about. But also, parts of my work are super boring, and it’s hard to spice up the hours I spend trying to remove all superfluous adverbs from my writing, or reading lengthy statutes.
But, what’s missing when I just talk about my kids is that I actually really enjoy my work. I get to do interesting work, earn reasonable income, and work reasonable hours (which I guess helps me enjoy my work). I actually tried to get my husband to be the stay at home parent a while ago (no dice, he likes working too).
However, I don’t just like working because I have a good workplace, although that’s part of it. I enjoy working because I am ambitious, and I want to be in charge of stuff! I like going into court and destroying a lawyer who was talking a big game to me hours earlier; you get underestimated a lot when you’re a woman, especially one who appears younger like myself. I also love the personal connection I get connecting with customers for Devon’s Drawer, a side project that I run with my mom, we make heirloom children’s clothing (shameless personal plug here).
I was talking to my husband about this, and realized that even though I am ambitious, I don’t generally talk about myself as being an ambitious person. It’s hard to put yourself out there as being ambitious (then people actually expect you to accomplish something), but also, we tend to not talk about female ambition in positive terms. I’m not the only person who thinks this, I spent a few short minutes googling and came up with a number of articles echoing the sentiments expressed here.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about breaking the glass ceiling, and reading about either leaning in, or leaning back, but the upshot was how difficult it is for women to get ahead in the workforce. There are multifaceted reasons for this of course (ahem, structural misogyny/classism/racism for one), but I think a very small piece of is that we don’t talk about female ambition in positive terms. Many ambitious women I know describe their ambition in ambivalent terms. And I know that I am guilty of this as much as anyone. So I wanted to declare my ambition, publicly. It’s a little scary and I’m worried this all may seem a little silly. But I here I am, standing up to be counted and hopefully making you examine and rethink your perceptions of female ambition.