Site icon Alexandra Kirsch

Let Me Be Clear: I’m Not Sorry

I take my work seriously, and to some extent, personally. I think anyone who crushes her parents’ dreams of her being a power lawyer in favor of working as a penniless publicist in the publishing industry has to hold on tightly to what pays her bills. Years – but not many – later, I’ve left publishing and have situated myself more securely in the world of social media strategy.

From where I sit now, I’m quite comfortable. But getting here? The phrase “whoa nelly” sums it up squarely. I’ve been called “aggressive,” “domineering,” and “challenging” – and only one of which was ever said to my face.

And, at the end of the day, I want to be clear: I’m not sorry.

As a woman – and a young one at that – in business, the world we live in labels me as an opportunistic millennial (a marketing buzzword that I wish would just putter out already), and as such am pitted against allegedly seasoned — read: old and male — professionals who can roughly talk at the same relative shtick as me. And for that, I should apologize?

I think not.

My motivation for writing this post was hardly a reaction to an experience. In fact, my agency (and boss, team, etc.) are fantastic, and have almost always recognized and rewarded my demonstrated experience above all else.

Writing this post was instead a means to vent against a pathetically patronizing wave of articles about women that have popped up as of late.

It started with a wedding announcement shared on Facebook. Using something as coveted as a New York Times wedding announcement as a platform for exploiting rhetoric about a woman in academia accepting her job as a one-way ticket to becoming a “Mrs.” was so disappointing.

Follow that with unsurprising Jezebel coverage on the percentage of women in tech who have been told they’re too aggressive, and well, there you have it — a real recipe for rage.

After two days in Nashville for a work retreat, I noticed that too many people were starting sentences with conditional statements about the quality of their contribution to a discussion, and most troubling to me was that many of them — especially the women — were starting their phrases with “I’m sorry.”

In my mind I was screaming, “FOR WHAT!?”

I will never be sorry for adding my two cents and for doing my job to the best of my ability, and hope that in 2016 and beyond, we can work together, gender aside, to create a stronger culture of confidence in the workplace. I’d like to think that doing so will help foster those small wins that make big things possible.

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