Monday, August 1, 2011

Black Bra Wisdom: The Old Boys Club

I would start with “this one’s for the ladies,” but frankly I think the men can always learn a lot from anything that’s “for the ladies.” So this is for every reader we have of every age and gender, but it is going to be addressed to the ladies.

Alright, ladies, listen up! You know how for years we’ve been grumbling about The Old Boys Club? As a woman, it’s a bit aggravating (threatening? disheartening?) to hear about male colleagues going out with each other to play golf, grab a beer or even hit a strip club – oh, yes, this happens, and not just in movies – building tight relationships with each other that lead to close partnerships at work that in turn lead to growth opportunities, promotions and the like.  Well, the time to stop the grumbling is now! 

It’s our turn.

Before I explain, let me ask: Is it supposed to be The Old Boys Club as in “a club full of old boys”? Or is it The Old Boy’s Club as in “there’s some old guy who started this club”? Or perhaps it’s The Old Boys’ Club… but this even leaves room for interpretation. Is it the club that’s old or the boys in the club who are aged? No matter how you look at it, though, it’s old. Outdated. Going the way of the dinosaurs.

The new club is for us. I refer to it as The Soccer Mom Alliance. Before anyone becomes offended, of course this club is not limited to mothers or married women. I only temporarily named the club The Soccer Mom Alliance because the power of us hit me when my fellow soccer moms (bear in mind, my soccer child is 3 years old) started to reach out to each other to hook up via LinkedIn and to get together for a ladies' night. If you would prefer, we could call it simply The Alliance. Or anything else, really. Thoughts? Suggestions?

Here’s the deal. Up until late-ish in the 20th century, men held the cards. For years, the majority of women either worked as homemakers, which restricted their sphere of influence due to the technological limitations of the times, or worked outside the home within a very limited subset of roles. Men’s roles allowed more freedom and visibility, thus providing them the opportunity to establish that Old Boys Club in the ways now familiar to us all.

Recent times have provided us the foundation for the new order, our new Alliance:
  • A waning of the limitations on women in the workplace
  • Reinvigorated respect for the challenging work homemakers manage
  • Ever-more extracurricular activities in which children of ever-widening ages participate, with ever-greater parental attendance
  • Social media
In other words, we women are together more than ever, often in groups, with ever-widening circles of influence. And now, thanks to social media, a tool that reinforces and breathes life into our natural inclination to interact and socialize, our time has come. We can reach out to one another 24/7: for laughs, for fun, for a check-in, for an ear or a shoulder… and yes, for professional support.

Two future Alliance members, already supporting each other.
Professional support… Hm. No, that’s too wishy-washy, too old-school, too women-in-the-age-of-the-Old-Boys-Club and not Alliance enough. How’s this:  To build and reinforce our professional caché, to leverage an expansive advisory network, to impart our own expertise, and to establish and broaden our professional empires. 

There. That’s better.

How do we start? Well, there is one thing crucial thing we can learn from the boys: Ask.  Ask to connect – on Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, via email, for a ladies’ night, for coffee…  And yes, ask for the opportunity to learn about what we can offer each other, personally and professionally. There’s power in asking, power in sharing and amazing power in building those bonds. What is it they say in those lottery commercials? You can’t win if you don’t play?

Sure, we might get No for an answer. But we won’t get to Yes if we don’t ask.

So, what do you think we should call this Alliance?


Pam Asberry said...

Megan, I don't know what I would do without my amazing network of female friends. How about the League of Lustrous Lassies? ;-)

Megan said...

Oooh, I like!

Lindy said...

Hell yeah! I fully support the League of Extraordinary Legacy Leavers(aka. the Alliance). Fa-bu-lous!