Just because we’re good at doing it, doesn’t mean we have to do it!
Women are overworked enough without taking responsibility for things others should be doing.
Think about it: how often do you step in to make someone else’s life easier or more comfortable?
How often do you
- fill the silences when no one else is talking?
- initiate and organise social events for friends and family?
- make the kids’ lunch or do their chores even when they’re old enough to do so themselves?
- attempt to create harmony and smooth over harsh words between family members and friends?
Are you a woman who:
- Does the work of others because your good or faster at it – until you resent doing so?
- Agrees to work overtime, join working committees, or do more than your fair share just because ‘we need someone to do it’?
- Assumes that if a colleague or a boss identifies a problem, it must be yours to fix: ‘I can’t get the photo copier to work!’ groans a colleague. ‘Let me take a look,’ or ‘wait a minute, let me find the number for the maintenance guy…’
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important that we offer friendship and support to others. It’s vital that we work towards creating harmonious relationships and contribute to more productive, effective workplaces. But it’s a shared responsibility.
Every time we step in to do the work, fill the space, fix the problem or create the peace we prevent others from stepping up to the plate.
Every time we do something because we’re better at it, or it will be faster or more convenient, we deny others the opportunity to learn, grow and develop. When people don’t learn, they don’t grow, have fewer opportunities available to them and are less able to contribute fully.
Every time we take charge we not only collude in perpetuating the perception that women are on the planet to make the lives of others’ comfortable, we also risk our own work, expend valuable energy and time and we prevent others from learning, contributing and taking responsibility for themselves.
We need everyone to contribute to creating a better world. This means we need to create the space and opportunity for everyone to participate.
So next time you have the inclination to step in and do something for someone, stop. Give them the respect they deserve and the encouragement they need to do it themselves.