A few weeks ago I read a @nymag article on a study that found women who are witty at work are often taken less seriously and could even miss out on opportunities for a promotion. Study participants observed two scenes: one with a man and one with a woman, they were both named Sam. Sam the man’s jokes were well received and he was perceived to be a strong leader. Sam the woman’s jokes were thought to be disruptive and she was perceived as ineffective. The researchers said that this was tied to stereotypical expectations for men and women. Men can joke around, because their credibility is rock solid. Not so much for women.
I wonder why that is? It’s an interesting question, don’t you think? Are people not comfortable when women show their wit? Do people in the office like to maintain the status quo? What’s your explanation?
I shared this study with a few women leaders in the C Suite in the tech sector. These women are smart, sassy and successful – they balked at this study and said, if that’s the case, you’re in the wrong place. Women face enough hardship in the workplace; from suffering financially for having a family to being overworked and underpaid. If your workplace doesn’t appreciate a sense of humor, maybe it’s time to find a place that values you, and your authenticity.
We will all come across difficulties in our daily lives, challenges we can’t control. But you want to be able to be yourself during the hardships and the glorious heights. Whether you’re vivacious, soft spoken … be yourself, that’s how you’ll do well, and you’ll help others do well. Everyone else, well they can just f&*^ o##.