The Professional Lady

When I was a little girl, I loved the sound of a professional lady walking through the halls of power. Whether those halls were political, professional, or the lady was the center of attention for some reason, that click-click-click-click of high heeled shoes and the jingle-shake of keys meant one thing to me: authority.

I believed from that moment on that if you wanted to be taken seriously in the working world, you needed to look, smell, and sound good. Everything underneath your clothes had to be better than what was on the outside. Then, the coup de gras: if the jewelry, makeup, and perfume were just expensive enough, you’d be beyond reproach.

That’s not quite exactly how my experiences have played out. The challenges of the working world don’t melt away in the presence of a fabulous pair of shoes or a signature pair of earrings. The day’s efforts are certainly made more interesting by the presence of style in the mix, but looking like a woman and trying to do business like a man are ultimately at odds with each other. Worse, it’s a waste of a lady’s time to try to pretend to be anything than what she is.

What then, is the answer?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer – not even close. But I do have a solution for the angst of fitting into the working world as a professional woman: don’t bother. Stand up, stick out, be heard, be seen, take up space, steal the show — but however you do it, be yourself.

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