I share this as a reminder about how things can be for a woman trying to work. For me, it started at 15. And I will go back and say I have a working spirit. If I could work, I did. I did odd jobs, sold candy, delivered newspapers, and other things until I was 15 and old enough for a work permit.
And yes, I wanted to work. I went to a nearby family restaurant in Waterworks Mall in Pittsburgh to ask about a job as a hostess. I came in and spoke to the manager and was told that I would be great but he couldn’t hire me because I was too pretty and would distract the guys working on the kitchen. At 15 I didn’t even have a response. It wasn’t a compliment but he tried to make me feel like it was.
It would be the following year before I found a job, and only because I met someone who knew the manager at the McDonald’s downtown. My next job in the back of a dry cleaners steaming out clothes and pressing shirts was because of knowing someone as well.
I learned a lot from these experiences but I will never forget that in my first foray in the job market my looks and being a female were a liability (later learned to turn that around) but it stays with you.
As a female coming from a poor family I wanted to work and I was put in the margins not because I couldn’t do the job but because of other people’s inability to manage themselves.
Did I really have that much power? No. What I had was the excuse those who hold power have held over women since the beginning of time. I am not your Eve. I am not the apple you are powerless to resist. Man up and resist the temptation.
Bernette Sherman is an author, speaker, and coach. See my creative works and offerings, including classes, and playshops at www.CreativeCoreHS.com.