When I was a high school teacher, part of my job was to encourage my students to think about the future. When it came to resume writing, I’d say, “What are you good at? What have you accomplished that you’re proud of?”
Often, I’d be met with blank stares, which was understandable because they were just kids. Still, I’d press on. “When you choose a career, it’s important to think about what you like to do, what you’re good at, and what someone will pay you to do.”
When the conversation would stall, I’d point out some of my own accomplishments. “When I was your age, I discovered I had a good speaking and singing voice, so I performed in a lot of plays. And I really enjoyed sports. I was an ice dancer and I loved swimming and skiing and watching ice hockey. Eventually, these things put me on a path to becoming a TV sportscaster.”
“Your bragging, Ms. Montgomery,” some child would blurt out. Others around the room—mostly girls—would nod their heads.
“So, you don’t think it’s right to talk about your accomplishments?”
“No!” a chorus of them would answer.
Then, I’d point at a boy who played sports. “How’d your game go? Which would lead the young man on a tangent about how well he’d preformed on the gridiron. Strangely, when I’d ask female athletes the same question, the response was rarely positive. “I could have done better,” one would say. “I missed an important free throw,” another might add.
Bragging, it turns out, is a habitat peopled mostly by males. A young man can walk into a job interview and wax on about his accomplishments, while women of all age groups seem to feel they must be demure, that identifying their skills and successes is unladylike and casts them in a bad light.
A perfect example is the way many women handle compliments. When someone says something nice about our appearance or a job well done, lots of us stare at the floor, or point out something we did wrong, or give credit to someone else in order to counter the accolade. And this is a problem.
I think denying our successes holds us back, especially in the business world where self-confidence and life experience say a lot about who we are and what we might be capable of in the future. Take participating in sports, for example. Business owners are delighted to hire those who’ve been on teams. They know athletes understand punctuality, working with others toward a common goal, following rules, and getting back up when you’ve been knocked down. (Note here that championships and won-loss records are not relevant. Just participating is all that’s important.) And let’s not forget those other “team players”: young people who’ve participated in choir, marching band, theater, debate, and other activities that are equally favored by many human resources departments. But those doing the hiring will not know about a person’s past if the applicant is unwilling to share the information, so it’s important that people speak up. That’s not bragging. It’s smart!
Today, I don’t hesitate to share stories about my past and the things I’ve experienced and exceeded at. And I’ve learned to accept compliments with a smile and hearty, “Thank you!” It was a bit uncomfortable at first, but now it feels great.
Don’t believe me, ladies? Just give it a try.
ANCIENT RUINS, HAUNTED MEMORIES, AND A RUTHLESS CRIMINAL COMBINE WITH A TOUCH OF MYSTIC PRESENCE IN THIS TAUT MYSTERY ABOUT A CRIME WE ALL MUST ADDRESS.
Contemporary Women’s Fiction/Suspense
September 13, 2021
Maggie, a National Park Ranger of Native American descent, is back at The Castle—an ancient pueblo carved into a limestone cliff in Arizona’s Verde Valley. Maggie, who suffers from depression, has been through several traumas: the gang rape she suffered while in the Coast Guard, the sudden death of her ten-year-old son, and a suicide attempt.
One evening, she chases a young Native American boy through the park and gasps as he climbs the face of The Castle cliff and disappears into the pueblo. When searchers find no child, Maggie’s friends believe she’s suffering from depression-induced hallucinations.
Maggie has several men in her life. The baker, newcomer Jim Casey, who always greets her with a warm smile and pink boxes filled with sweet delicacies. Brett Collins, a scuba diver who is doing scientific studies in Montezuma Well, a dangerous cylindrical depression that houses strange creatures found nowhere else on Earth. Dave, an amiable waiter with whom she’s had a one-night stand, and her new boss Glen.
One of these men is a serial rapist and Maggie is his next target. In a thrilling and terrifying denouement, Maggie faces her rapist and conquers her worst fears once and for all.
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