Wednesday, September 24, 2014

You must be tired....

You know when folks say to a busy person "Oh you look so tired! I don't know how you do it all!" or something to that effect?

It's meant to come across as a compliment. Often the recipient suddenly sags with fatigue they didn't realize they were carrying and feels the effects that adrenaline held at bay.

The last time someone made that comment to me (and I suddenly felt the blue circles under my eyes pop out like stones against the snow), the person standing next to me shook his head. "How quickly someone can make great effort look like wasted energy," he said. "Plus, a man wouldn't say that to another man."

He saw the comment as someone envious of my energy and looking to justify why they don't push themselves the same way. Seriously, the comment alluded, who would want to go the 100 extra miles when there is little recognition for the effort and the personal sacrifices (time, sleep, life outside of the project) are so large? No, thanks!

I am not sure which way the comment is often meant; I believe it's meant kindly. But it does show that our recognition of efforts by women can sometimes be marred by editorial comments – in this case a commentary on how we look.

The next time I notice someone in my network is tired, I hope I'll remember to simply offer to help instead pointing out that they look like they could use the help. If I don't have time to spare, I will remember to compliment the effort and not the temporary impact they may or may not feel.

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