Staring at My Shoes

Guest Post by: Gabby Kailas

I blinked. There I was in my creative director’s office, staring at my shoesKailas

patiently, awkwardly. This had become the norm for him and I. I bring him the new version of a project and then I wait. I wait for him to review it and give it back to me because he didn’t want to take the time to return in to my desk. So, there I stood, staring at my shoes, for months.

My female coworker asked one day, “Why do you just stand in there?” My response was, “He asked me to do it one day and I just really want him to like me.”

It took me 8 months at my current job to fully realize what I was doing. The last three weeks of that I was in Dr. Grow’s class. I realized I had succumbed to the male leader like a lost puppy, but I was no lost puppy.

In my short time in Dr. Grow’s class, I had become aware that women in creative are knights going into battle by themselves. They live in a man’s world full of beer and locker room talk. This traditional view of a creative department in the advertising world is somehow unable to be shaken.

Sheryl Sandberg provides a fascinating perspective on the overall business world. It was not about becoming one of the boys or acting like her mom, it was leaning in and being herself. Sheryl Sandberg was herself and people respected and appreciated her for it. She even said that her “desire to be liked by everyone” would hold her back.

So, there I was again, staring at my shoes in my creative director’s office. I then saw my shoes walk out back towards my desk. I heard him yell, “Hey, I thought you were gonna wait?” I looked back to him, shrugged my shoulders and said, “I got shit to do.” He laughed then said, “That’s cool, I’ll bring them back when I’m done.”

It was from then on that him and I established a new norm. I was just as busy as he was and he respected that. If there was anything to take away from my first job in an agency, it would be to trust who I am as a person.

Sheryl Sandberg did say it best, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

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2 thoughts on “Staring at My Shoes

  1. In class today, we discussed how marginalizing yourself by hiding in groups of women at work wouldn’t be beneficial. Instead, you have to make your presence known and stand up for yourself (much like Gabby did here). We think that to get more women in leadership positions quicker, a group outside of work is a positive idea. MPLS MadWomen is a wonderful example of what creative women all over should be doing.

  2. This is so interesting! I would never had thought to just walk out and change the norm. I think this is a good message for young professionals already working too, it’s never too late to change a work dynamic.

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