“Just this once everyone lives!”
-9, Doctor Who
“Just this once everyone lives!”
-9, Doctor Who
“Perhaps there’s hope for us yet.”
-Elim Garak ST:DS9
“It is easy to be a saint in paradise.”
~Captain Benjamin Sisko of ST:DS9
Last week I was training for a new job and during a break the subject of majors and minors and career ambitions came up, as it often does in college aged work settings, and a trainer made a comment that made me supremely uncomfortable.
“Well aren’t you an over achiever!” he said.
It was condescending and also not what he meant. What he meant to say was “shouldn’t you be looking for a husband? Why are you wasting time/money/effort on two majors that don’t have high earning potentials?”
And he said it that way because I am a woman. Any man with my ambitions would be congratulated. I watch them being congratulated being advised and admired. They are selfless for their efforts whereas I am dismissed.
Women who have high hopes in our society are often dismissed as dreamers. We call them “over achievers” as if looking to become more that what is generally expected is a bad thing. Being an over achiever should be admired. I don’t just say that because I am often labeled as an over achiever, but because I am often made to feel like dirt for being an over achiever.
lets dissect the label. (** all etymology information comes from the Online Etymology Dictionary**)
‘Over’ is a word element meaning “beyond, above, upon, in, across, past; on high,” this element started to be used as a prefix to alter nouns like abundance, achiever, and confidence to change their connotation from positive to negative. thus, what could be called a surplus is now an over-abundance. “beyond, above, upon, in, across, past; on high,” are now bad things to be.
‘Achiever’ is a noun derived from the verb achieve which is “to finish, accomplish, complete,”therefore one who is an achiever is one who is capable of finishing, accomplishing, and completing tasks. When you put the two together over achiever is used to describe one who finishes tasks above the standards usually expected or found to be acceptable. But this isn’t a good thing. Really???!?!? It isn’t a good this to exceed expectations? It isn’t a good thing to do more than the minimum required?
I ask you, What sort of messed up society do we live in?
I take classes during the summer, I work year round, I look for opportunities and experiences that will enrich my life for the sake of self-improvement not to impress others. It still matters, however, that society is disrespectful of my ambition.
I remember a sociology professor telling us a story about an experiment he participated in as an undergraduate. Participants were put into groups and told to select a leader then complete several tasks. At the end, all of the participants were asked to describe the leader. When the leader was a man they described him as CEO-like, organized, driven, and focused. When a woman was the leader they described her as Mom-like, nurturing, Type A, and perfectionists.
The words used to describe the men are, arguably, more positive than those used for the women however they describe nearly identical behavior.
By my own account I am moderately successful. I am usually able to achieve what I set my mind to. This has the side effect of making me someone who is intimidating, so I’ve been told. And its hard to make friends in a competitive setting when you are known as intimidating, twice so if you are also a woman.
Basically it sucks.
Sometimes I feel pressure to downplay my accomplishments or to omit information in order to blend in. This is similarly disheartening because I put a lot of work and passion into all that I do. However I’ll submit to these pressures for the sake of fitting in.
I’m proud of my accomplishments so when people, like the trainer at work, call me an over achiever I’m going to smile and say “proud of it!” even when their tone suggests I shouldn’t be.
I am going to change my mindset about being an over achiever because I am a woman and not only do I want to live in a society where it is a good thing to exceed expectations, I deserve to live in a society where it is a good thing to exceed expectations.
This is a societal problem. This is gender discrimination deeply ingrained. This is a way of thinking that should be abolished.
Rise successful women and reclaim the label “over achiever”.
Happy post-4th of July Lovelies!
I hope you all had a lot of fun. Living in the DC area has given me a new appreciation for what it meant to party hard, at least where independence day is concerned. Even the “lamest” fireworks display in DC puts my Chicago memories to shame.
This year I celebrated with some friends in a backyard BBQ, and I have about a zillion bug bites to prove it.
I called my Aunt Annie for help on the 3rd because I am a disaster when it comes to baking. She texted me her Seven Layer Bar recipe, which is pretty much dummy proof and therefore perfect for me!
Here is a PDF of the recipe complete with notes: Auntie Annie’s Seven Layer Bars Recipe
They were a big hit, which made me one happy girl!
For now on I think the 4th of July will mean closed streets (welcome to DC-life), fireworks, friends, and Auntie Annie’s Seven Layer Bars to me.
If you try the recipe let me know how it turns out!
“I don’t own emotion, I rent”
~Rent What You Own
“What is it with you girls and your girly-girl drama??”
~Wallace (on Veronica Mars)
The Twins are graduating. The siblings I never asked for (and tried to send back) are all grown up and it is freaking me out! Seriously I still see A in his fireman pajamas and Z with her blonde ponytail smack dab on the top of her head sitting at the kitchen table falling asleep in their cereal as I got ready to go to school. I got to see 18 halloweens, 18 birthdays, 1 bar/bat mitzvah, countless bickering matches/hugs/nights-watching-star-trek-by-the-fire-place/life moments and I left two years ago but now that they are also leaving we all seem like real adults in a real adult world. So with that in mind I started looking for graduation gifts.
Why is the gift important?
Well, that’s a tough question. This isn’t about being materialistic or lavishing them with things. The gifts I try to give are about telling someone that they are important and that I think about them. But these gifts are about more. Moving away is really hard- anyone who says different is either a liar or had a really terrible childhood. So having little things from the people in your life can really make a difference. My room is filled with things from other people. I have a photo album from one friend, old notes from my grandparents, a blanket from an aunt, a pillow pet from C and a thousand other things around my room because they remind me of home and people and memories that I find comfort in. Therefore it is really important to me that I give them something that is tangible.
Also, I kind of have a reputation in my family as the best gift-giver and it would really suck to be usurped.
I have been searching for weeks for the perfect gifts that I can afford on my I’m-a-really-broke-college-kid budget. I have found nothing. Nothing sums up “I’m your big sister and I want you to do well and have fun and call me every once in a while and try not to get into too much trouble but if you do I’ll have your back unless it’s a felony” attitude that I would like my gift to convey.
Graduation is a big milestone because, while I never doubted they would graduate, it is something they worked really hard for and have earned. I would really lie to properly acknowledge their achievement because lets face it, as their older sister I’m pretty sure I’m at least partially responsible for how awesome they are!
So if anyone has any ideas please please PLEASE let me know (I’m running out of time)!
Here are the ideas that have been nixed thus far (please keep in mind that I crack myself up):
“I didn’t expect it to be beautiful“
“Some people are so much sunshine to the square inch.”
~ Walt Whitman