Sunday, 11 May 2014
She is very ambitious
I am in Luxembourg today, so I prepared a little – maybe revolutionary? – post for you. Let me know if you like those kinds of ideas and what you think about the topic. Enjoy your weekend!
"She is very ambitious" is not a compliment in our culture.
In all job interviews I have taken so far, my interlocutor asked me at one point what I consider as my strengths. Without hesitating, I generally stated "I am pretty ambitious", always thinking that it had a pretty positive connotation. After having read "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg lately, I keep re-thinking some of her assumptions. Let me stick to this quote that concerned me the most: I am ambitious. Since my early childhood, I have been playing tennis in a competitive environment, had to deal alone with victories and defeats. In school I always wanted to get the best grades and this behaviour hasn’t changed during college. Yes, ambition is certainly one of my values that I especially inherited from my Dad who was a competitive athlete. But it was thanks to my mother and my so-relaxed brother that I always could lean on an antipole that avoided me slipping into an abnormal ambition.
Since I met one of my best friends, I consider myself as moderately ambitious because she truly is. Many people in our university don’t understand why she now completes an internship in an investment bank, sleeps only a couple of hours a night and even goes to the office on weekends. They always say ‘She is very ambitious’ or even ‘She is too ambitious’ – and don’t mean it in a positive way. I am not saying that I would have chosen the same path as she did but I admire her will, her ambition. Let me even say that she will be a CEO one day.
Let’s now take a guy who would do his internship in the same company – he also would be considered as very ambitious. But a man being ambitious, that sounds great, doesn’t it? He knows what he wants to reach in his life, he knows where he wants to go.
You see the ambiguity. My friend – or let’s take even me to a lesser extent -, we also know where we want to go and therefore we work hard, keep being ambitious and endure in order to reach our goals. And I keep stating it as one of my strenghts since it is one.
Although I don’t agree with all statements given in Sandberg’s book (we can discuss about it openely if you’d wish), I – as a young female business student – see the choice to either stick to rigid role models or to change the perception. I chose the last one and hope that a lot of others, you for instance, will do the same. You don’t necessarily have to read Sandberg’s book to be aware of issues that (business) woman still face, but speaking of myself I needed the kick, something written black on white, although I face the fact every day while working on a storey with 75% of men.
Have some of you read the book? What to you think of this gender discussion?
Posted by Svenja Cole at 08:10