No Grit

On June 26, 2014, in HRExaminer, by Heather Bussing

photo of woman saying, "Yippee, I have grit!"

“The emperor is naked and taking selfies. We should try harder to be more like that? No thank you. It’s time to stop trying to out-man the men.” – Heather Bussing

Women make up most of the college grads,  half the work force, 45% of law school and business school grads, and a majority of doctoral degrees.

We should be running the legal and business worlds, but we’re not. Women are:

So a group of well-meaning, and completely misguided, women decided to study women who have succeeded in law firms to find out what it takes. The idea was to focus on how to get ahead, instead of what is holding women back. They learned that it takes “grit, which is similar to perseverance, and growth mindset, a belief in the ability to develop skills versus seeing them as predetermined.”

No shit.  

Based on this brilliant insight, they have launched the Grit Project to help women develop the belief that they can overcome the complete insanity of working in a law firm.

Right. Let’s find out how women have survived the most sexist, racist, greedy, insensitive, weasel-filled institutions, call it grit, and then advise young woman they need more grit.

Law firms are run by men whose advice to women is: Don’t giggle, don’t squirm, and practice hard words,” “If wearing a skirt, make sure audience can’t see up it when sitting on the dias,” and “You cannot sport hair that is longer than shoulder-length if you wish to be taken seriously.”

This is the same nonsense about not calling girls “bossy,” or not telling girls they are pretty. It’s the same bullshit about leaning in, trying harder, and overcoming institutions and systems that do not work.

Has anyone wondered whether the reason women are not running these institutions is because they suck? The emperor is naked and taking selfies. We should try harder to be more like that? No thank you.

It’s time to stop trying to out-man the men.

It’s not a competition. It’s not a war.  And mine’s bigger, anyway. Get over it. 

Women already have more grit, determination, and persistence. We work our asses off. Not only do we earn a substantial portion of household income, we also have babies, do the majority of cooking, cleaning, child-care, driving to activities, and everything else it takes to run a house and a family. Oh, and we run companies better too. 

Most of all, working harder is not the answer. Both men and women are falling apart trying to do it all, have it all, or at least make it look good on Facebook.

We need to stop trying to convince others that we are worthy. We need to stop asking for permission and waiting for recognition and power.

We need to start our own companies and run them in ways that support each other, our families, and our customers. We need to work for companies that support our values and our reality. We need to ask for help from our partners. 

It’s time to learn to get comfortable in our skin and lives, make sane choices for ourselves and the people around us, and know that we have everything it takes to be happy right now.

Success is not something out there. You don’t have to keep trying harder until others finally give it to you. They won’t. It’s an inside job.

Related posts:

Our Glass Ovaries

Women and Work: Personal Questions

Diversity: Get Off My Lawn

 
  • Here is the Harvard Business, We Need to Change Our Institutions argument, to which I ask: How’s that been working for you? http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/06/more-women-starting-businesses-isnt-necessarily-good-news/

  • ‘It’s time to stop trying to out-man the men’. Based on where the last kazillion years of man-agement has not got us to, I could not agree more.

  • BobCorlett

    Love it. “Both men and women are falling apart trying to do it all, have it all, or at least make it look good on Facebook.”

  • Nicole Greenberg Strecker

    Heather – as always, I love you! 😉 I think any woman who has ever worked in a law firm can relate. I remember how difficult it was to go to my first ABA conference after I passed bar. I was the youngest person in a room filled with men my father’s age or older. Grit? Maybe a little… but I still talk to everyone I met there years ago because I didn’t fall in line. Thanks for the reminder to know who you are and what you’re worth – but most of all, no matter what you decide to do with it, own it!

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