feminism

Superguanajas (the multitask women)

Multitask
Before I start, I have to explain the meaning of this adopted Canarian word: “guanajo/a”. It comes from the arahuaco language and it´s used in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. It designates contemptuously a silly and/or stupid  person*… Pronounce it like this: “supawanahas”…
This Sunday I finally felt down: it´s not easy to assimilate that you are going to be without a job and you have to look for another one in no time. You feel guilty because you think you are responsible of many matters at the same time and you want the people that surrounds you to be happy… and you believe (with no scientific explanation at all) that you take all the merits. Normally this weight on my shoulders is not a problem but it seems that my body needed to say “Enough is enough!” and I had to cry to relieve tension. Yes, I am a woman after all: when I finished crying, even when I didn´t have a solution to my problem, I felt relieved. I know that men do not understand this reasoning, which has no reason at all, but I reccommend you to do what my partner did: he just held me in his arms. We do not need anymore (Damn! I should have made you pay for this piece of advice!)
Yesterday afternoon I laid down on the couch watching realities. In one of them you can be witness of the birth of a baby and what surrounds it. One of the cases I saw was about a couple that already had a two year-old baby and they were expecting their second kid. The father on one side was worrier about his best friend´s stag night than the birth of the baby; the mother on the other side, histeric, weighing up everything, with unhealthy remorse, because she felt she wasn´t doing things as well as she would like to. Her guilt made me feel sorry for her. Finally, we have the typical end: the mother tied up with both babies (thank God her mum was not as histeric as she was and she helped her out); The father went to the stag night one day after his second and last baby was born but only had a beer and came back early home. In the end, the father toed the line and colaborated with her: he took care of the two year-old baby so she could go to the gymn to get fit. When the programme finished, I was exhausted.
I decided to take Venus for a walk, trying to stop thinking about all I have to do to be a superwoman: the house, my daughter´s school, pay my debts, work, look for a job, recycle myself, learn new things, do exercise, make myself up, be a good cook, be a good citizen, good manager, good friend, good lover, good daughter, good mother, good pack leader… I took my new MP4 and I heard my all-time favourite band´s music (Duran Duran), went out and cleared my head a bit. I could do it and I was happy for a moment: I needed nothing else.
I saw a friend of mine during my walk. Last week she was sick and she didn´t think about going back to work yet, even when she is self-employed and this is one of the best seasons for her job (all of us spend what we don´t have on Christmas time). When I sat down with her she explained me she has suffered from ansiety´s attacks because all she had to get out in her daily life: house, husband, daughter, job… Many women don´t know how to explode by crying and she´s one of them. Luckily I can. She needed to have acupuncture done on her.
At the end, we agreed that today´s women have a strong pressure to be a superwoman: a woman that is successful in all aspects of her life… When we were saying goodbye, she declared this statement: “We are not Superwomen but Superguanajas!”. I guess I don´t have to explain the meaning of this word right now.
There are women that think the best situation is to stay at home and wait for the men to bring the money. The complications are not many and you don´t have the responsibility of all the spendings on top of your head… The only thing you have to worry about is to take care of the rest of the family, to be a good cook, mum, wife, friend, lover, household manager, stunning, take care of yourself, have the house tidy and clean… It´s not too much, isn´t it?
If you ask me, I don´t want to renounce to my work career. I come from a family full of fighter, brave and hard-working women. I couldn´t be at home, when I can develop other aspects of my personality in a job. I bought the  idea of a more fulfilled woman is the one that also works outside home… The truth is that she is more tied up also!
I didn´t have a New Year´s good intention but this is going to be one of them: I will stop being a “Superguanaja” trying to be a Superwoman and be a simple mortal, with her defects and obsession. To achieve this good intention I have to let other help me more, I have to learn not to wait for everything to be as I expected, not to be perfectionist with myself, be thankful with what life has given me so far and leaving away those remorse feelings… This only good intention is going to take me a long time, so I´m not promised myself anything else…
*http://www.deperu.com/diccionario/?pal=guanajo
family · Work

Downshifting

slow-down-downshifting1

People that know me well know that I like to learn foreign languages. The ones that know me very well know also that I defend Spanish (my mother language): the “Spanglish” language that sometimes we speak without noticing it isn´t appropriate for me… Yes, I´m the contradiction made human. Sometimes there are some words that are difficult to express in my mother language: this is one of them.
I knew about the meaning just a few years ago, when I was practising myself and I was glad I wasn´t the only one in the world. Downshifting is a philosophy of life a little bit different from the “hurry-up” of our times. The main law is to downshift and go slower in all of your acts… Many people like me are doing it now,e even when they don´t know the meaning of the word. Many others may wonder how.
As always, the Scandinavians are ahead of everybody. It consists on not being so avaricious when it concerns to work (in other words, stop working as much as you can to get as much money as you can) and be content with enough to live… Right now I´m imagining many of you raising your hands, being surprised, calling me nuts. Its simply as trying to have an austere live, enough to live. No more, no less.
It´s understood that we all are trapped in a consumer society that “oblige” us to buy anything, even when we can live without it. I´m the first one to fall in the system but I try my best not to do it. For me it´s more importat to come back home to be with my family thatn anything else. It´s very important to be productive in your work hours. As some experts say, staying in our work lots of hours doesn´t  mean being productive: the work needs to be done.
I was like many of us: I wanted to improve in my career and get lots of money above all. I left a very hard work for an even harder one. The salary that was promised to me was more than OK with a reasonable shift. I thought that I couldn´t offer any better to my (at that time) small family of three (my daughter, my dog and me)… Ath the end, I got to lose one year of my daughter´s life (I lived to work all day) and summons at the court: I was defrauded.
I learned the lessons and I went to a job where I worked less hours but I was proportionally better paid. Of course, I couldn´t afford going out for a drink or diner every weekend but I could spend some more time with my family and for me. I learned to be happy with less money: I ajusted my spendings. I remember like yesterday when I called the credit card company (I only have one): the person that attended me couldn´t believe I wanted to reduce my card´s limit. My answer was clear: “My earnings has lowered, so my limit has to go down as well”.
Right now I have a job where I finish at six and enjoy life (that´s why we work, don´t we?). As a boss of mine used to tell us: “There are many moments in a worker´s life: time to wait for a client to receive us, time for bureaucracy, time to attend clients and time to rest”. And that´s what I do when I finish work: enjoy my (actual) enlarged family.
(First published in http://maritza-in-english.blogspot.com.es/2010/12/downshifting.html on December 11th 2008)
family · feminism · Politics · Uncategorized

Make feminism dissapear

patriarchy

How to write an article about feminism now that is so fashioned? How to make feminism be understood and why its existance? And above all: Why do I want feminism to dissapear?

A song from Offspring (Self Esteem) came to my rescue. It tells the story of an abusive relationship in which she brushes aside the boy, bugs out on him, insults him and even cheats on him… Ridiculous and funny situation at the time, right?: what a henpecked guy… until you change things up and it didn´t look like a parody anymore (and I´m not saying that all men are al the same and we, women, are always the victim).

That´s why that I decided to revert the roles like the song did so the persons that can´t understand what feminism stands for. Now I want you, men, to imagine a world in which:

  • You have to think carefully where to walk on the street in case someone comes to you and assaults you… more so if it´s at night time…
  • You have to take some of your time grooming yourself a lot (creams, make up, hair…) because society and the beauty canons for men say you have to do it. If you don´t, you´re not men enough.
  • You assume that you don´t have to earn the same salary than the rest, no matter how much you study or work, just because you´re men.
  • A position in life has been imposed to you that means that your professional goals and achievements are not important but if you were able to create and keep a family or how well dressed you always are.
  • To get that dream job you have to “pay the price” and let the powerful do or suffer degrading situations. If you don´t fall into line,  the most probable situation is that that job will be given to other that has accepted the contract holder´s whim.
  • When an abuse is reported from others to you, the idea that you consented the situation and all the versions of the story wouldn´t count, because you didn´t show rejection and let them did what they did. Yes, it has happened in Spain!!!
  • Even when you had straight As at the university, it is expected from you, guys, that you professional aspirations are left behind to form a family and support your partners in their own professional career…
  • When someone has to decide to reduce their working hours to take care of the family, the men are the persons that decide to cut their salaries and expectations, because that´s the situacion that is expected from them.
  • When a man goes out with many women he´s called a whore that is worth nothing and a woman that goes out with many men is a real woman. The double standard.
  • It´s possible that our boss at work force you to wear with certain clothes (normally sexy ones) and if someone resists to do so, this boss tells him that there are plenty men on the street that would like to have that job and won´t complaint as much.
  • The songs that we hear talk about women having affairs with men (at the same time or not), how they (the women) play with men, with their feelings, how the men are going to receive what they deserve and it seems absolutely normal. Your sons will hear it and will think it absolutely normal that a woman would come and abuse them: you wouldn´t care less that your son would hum these type of songs.
  • Women believe that men´s bodies were created just for their personal satisfaction: society has shown it as a normal situation. Any ad you see it´s a portrait of this idea.
  • The legislatives decide to create laws in which it tells men when it´s ok to reproduce or when it´s necessary to do a vasectomy… and all of them are women that do not understand the men´s nature.
  • Some women believe that, because men were created just for their personal satisfaction and they are in this world to serve them, when some men rises up and doesn´t want to continue a toxic relationship, they (the women) decide that “with them or with no one” and kill those men because.

Do you need more reverse examples to realise the situation? I could write many other examples but I don´t want to extent the article much more. For these examples and many more is why I desire feminism to reach its goal: to make a person be judged because of being a person, not because of his/her gender. When this happens, feminism automatically will stop existing, it wouldn´t have a reason to be. That day everyone will have to make a party to celebrate. I´m afraid that there´s so much to be done still that I won´t be seeing the day. We are on the way: don´t stop fighting.

I invite you to watch a video from 1971… not that far away…

Work

Attitude, attitude, attitude

attitude

There´s a lot of talks about attitude: I like the one from Debra Searle. There´s other one in Spanish, by Víctor Küpers en TedxAndorralaVella. I can´t agree more with him. Knowledge and skils sum up: attitude multiplies the other two together. Knowledge and skills can be acquired: attitude, if you don´t have enough of to be successfull, it´s difficult to get.

Attitude for me is one reason to be motivated to wake up in the mornings and do the job I have to do during the day. It´s the electricity that makes me stand up with eager to eat the world. The energy to go forward, never backwards.

I have to admit that there are days in which I feel like eating the world and others (a few) that I want to reflect and rest and let the world eating job to others. Isn´t it part of what it makes us humans?

Throughout my professional career I have had to deal with colleagues or clients with different types of attitude. From colleagues that didn´t mind the end result of their work, to others that used to get sick because of their perfectionism; from clients that demand the impossible so you do the job correctly to others that don´t care as long as they got the standardized minimun.

And what about training? There´s plenty shades of Grey (do not get confused with the book). I see it in the generations of high school students. All of them in general say that they don´t like to study: they prefer doing other things. Just a few take their studies seriously because their eyes have been opened to reality and they know that their future depends on being as well trained as possible: if they don´t study, they know the consecuences and they don´t want to be economically dependent on others or obtain low paid jobs. Then there are cases of adult training people that want to have a better paid job with no effort at all.

Knowledge is acquired, skills is practiced but attitude has to be cultivated.

Work

About presentism, procrastination & mania for meetings

Coworkers Getting Bored

In this post I´ll talk about my own work experience, which I really know. In my wide work career I´ve suffer these bad behaviours, either with my own or other´s experiences. Let´s going to talk about it with some humour, even though it´s not a laughing matter.

Let´s start with presentism. There can be an exception to do presentism when you have to work for customer care. In other cases, the working hours should be flexible: for your own good and for the company´s. What´s the use of having an employee hired for forty hours and he/she stays at work for fifty? No use whatsoever. As a story taken from my collection of anecdotes, I can tell the time I was in a company where all minutes employed in one task had to be accounted for. When you had done your eight hours, you could go home. A have a co-worker that entered before me and criticized me behind my back because I used to leave the office on time: she usually stayed around an hour extra every day. When there was the need for staff reduction, she was the one chosen. I couldn´t understand why her and not me. My bosses were surprised at my question: “Do you still wonder why? Well it´s easy: you come to do your job and she dedicated more than an hour a day to make private telephone calls”. That´s when I learned that being isn´t synonymous of working.

Procrastination, such a difficult word to say that you feel like leaving it for later… 😉 That´s what it really means: leaving things pending to do for an uncertain future. It´s a bad habit that personally it´s difficult to get rid off… Who feels like doing something that is tedious/annoying/uncomfortable or all together at once? No one! It´s a defect that makes all more human. Let´s be honest, the sense of guilt wins over and you end up doing that task peevishly. I have to confess it: it´s ridiculously painful for me to organize a visit schedule to clients. It´s hard for the ego (even when it´s nothing personal) the fact that your petition for a date is rejected over and over again. You get over it with time but you keep on leaving it for later every time you can. Don´t you worry: you aren´t an alien.

I left the mania for meetings for last on purpose and that´s not because I wanted to procrastinate… The reason is because this is the worst behaviour of all for me and the one that gave me no satisfactions in my working life. Raise your hands who hasn´t suffered being in a meeting where they cannot participate, or what it´s discussed has nothing to do with the work they are doing or realizing that there´s no clear purpose of the meeting… or the three situations together. I still remember one of the useless meetings that I had in an important company where it was discused the project I was leading (well, I was the only person working on it) and the rest where arguing about closing the project all together and replace it for another. It seems that no one realized that my job was at stake and I was present hearing my (no) future in the company. There was no opportunity to express my point of view or anything. Many would think that my future was discuss in front of me at least. If I have to tell you the truth, I wasn´t obliged: I felt like an invisible being that no feelings where expected to have, as if the decision wouldn´t hurt anyone. And there I was, listening that in the near future I was in the unemployment office.

Have you realized that everything is related with time? Isn´t it curious?