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Why "F*ck The Patriarchy" Won't Work (And A Better Way to Get What You Want as a Woman at Work)

Why F The Patriarchy Won't Work And A Better Approach to Getting What You Want at Work as a Woman

Let’s rewind the clock to my very first job in corporate tech marketing. I was a fresh-faced, eager 21-year-old young woman who had just relocated to a new city for work. I was navigating a new town, new friends, and, having just graduated college, a whole new way of life where I got to wake up in my first solo apartment (well, one that I shared with my cat!), and go to a job where I was truly earning a living for the first time in my life.

It was an exciting time, however, before long I started to see some storm clouds that threatened to cast a shadow over my otherwise sunny outlook.

The feeling I felt is a bit difficult to describe unless you’ve felt it yourself, but if you know you know. It’s hard to know for sure if what I felt was a result of being a woman in a predominantly male workplace or me being young or whatever else - but the point is: I felt like I had to prove myself over and over and over again. 

It didn't felt easy to gain respect, especially with one man in particular. I remember him so clearly - this particular engineer who went behind my back and released a press release without consulting me when I was responsible for the marketing efforts of the product in question.

It was like a slap in the face and it stirred an emotion in me that I’ll likely never forget, but most importantly, it taught me a valuable lesson… I realized at that moment that I had two choices.

I could rebel against him, or I could choose a different approach.

And that’s what we’re talking about today, so let’s jump into why “F*ck the patriarchy” won’t work and a more effective approach to getting what you want.


In Episode 43 we talked about 3 new statistics on women in the workplace and how to flip the script and use them to shift from a victim mindset to using them to gain an edge - which moves you into a position of power.

Today I want to talk about the other end of that spectrum. On one end you’ve got the victim mindset. And on the other end, you’ve got  “F*ck the patriarchy!”. And I believe not only are both unhealthy ways to view the world, but neither will be effective in getting you what you want. Since we spoke about the victim mindset in Episode 43, let’s focus here on the other end of the spectrum.

Let me begin by saying I stand with women absolutely and I 1,000% believe women should have equal rights as men. In fact, I believe all humans should have equal rights as humans. But, in recent years, I’ve noticed an almost aggressive form of feminism becoming more and more adopted and somewhat ‘trendy’. And, I think it’s dangerous and will ultimately result in a step backward for women, and here’s why.


Consider the last time you had a disagreement with someone. It could be anyone: your spouse, your parent, a friend, a co-worker… even a stranger, online or otherwise. How did it go?

Did you leave the conversation simmering with anger and feeling frustrated, maybe to the point of tears? Or maybe you feel like you ‘won’ and you have a sense of smugness and pride, in which case how do you think the other person felt? I imagine they’re probably irritated or maybe they’re simmering with anger, feeling frustrated and to the point of tears.

OR were you one of the lucky ones who left the conversation feeling validated, supported, and respected, relieved that you were able to have a difficult conversation with someone without things exploding?

Remember, there’s a difference between a disagreement and an argument. The first two examples where you or the other person are left feeling angry and/or prideful - are arguments. The last example where you both are left feeling heard - is a disagreement. 

You can have a disagreement with someone without it becoming an argument. But here’s the key… it depends on how you approach it.


Think back to your last disagreement or argument again. Did one of you approach the conversation with aggression, defiance, or disrespect? If so, chances are that disagreement blew up into an argument and one or both of you walked away dissatisfied.

But if you both walked away feeling okay, maybe not perfect but at least somewhat satisfied in the way the conversation went with forward-looking hope… it’s likely you both approached the discussion with collaboration and respect.

Think about it this way: would you be more likely to help someone who wants something from you but approaches you rudely, disrespectfully, and distastefully, or politely and respectfully?

When you think about it that way, it becomes crystal clear. And that’s the key… it’s collaboration, not defiance, that will help you succeed.

I’m not saying what we face as women is fair. In fact, it’s not, and the data supports that - but, again whining and complaining about it without action does nothing (which is the victim mindset) and, I believe, over-rotating to the point of action with aggression also doesn’t help.

So let’s talk about what does…


Remember the story I told you at the beginning of the episode? Where we left off, I was faced with a choice: an engineer at work publicly disrespected me and showed no remorse, and I could rebel against him, or I could choose a different approach.

Here’s what happened…

First, I took the afternoon to calm down because, understandably, I was pissed. But I knew if I spoke to him in those first few hours I would say something I’d regret and, more to the point, something that wouldn’t be helpful in what I was trying to accomplish. I went home and fumed some more and, after calming down I was able to think straight. And here’s what I realized:

1) I liked my job and most of the people I worked with - in other words, this issue wasn’t enough to drive me to look for a job on a new team or at a different employer

2) I wanted to be successful at my job; I wanted to perform well so I could get raises, promotions and praise from my superiors

3) Because this particular man was the product manager for the product I was supporting through marketing, I realized that to be successful at my job and get the promotions, raises, and praise I sought, I had to have a partnership with him

The realization was irritating, to say the least, but I decided to make it into a game. I decided that, at all costs, I was going to get this guy not only to trust me at work… but to like me.

And I did. 

And I can assure you it wasn’t by throwing a fit and raging against him. It was through respectful (but direct) communication, collaboration, persistence, and hard work.

And, within a year, I received an award for my work on a launch (on which I collaborated with him), a promotion that came with a pay raise and a title bump, and a hug from this very man when I later switched teams.


This is just one of many examples from my career. I’ve even had a different man admit to me that he was skeptical of my abilities when I first joined the team since I was young. Maybe also because I was a woman? Who knows. 

And, frankly, I don’t care because I can’t control other people’s biases. What I CAN control is my behavior and I know that to be strategic in getting what I want, in work and life, it’s a matter of respect and collaboration, not defiance and aggression. Plus, as a woman seeking equality, the age-old saying comes to mind… “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” What truth there is in that.


Now, before I go, I should mention that sometimes you’ll come across a person or people who are either simply bad humans or who you know you could never collaborate with… and I say if you know that in your gut, then it would be a waste of time to try this approach with them.

In that situation, I’d say, it’s better to cut your losses and control what you can control… which is you. Maybe it’s time to move on to something else… a different team, a new company., or a new project. The good news is: if you switch companies, research shows that you’re likely to receive a higher pay increase than you would if you stayed at your current job.

If you want help deciding whether it’s time to move on or not, grab my free resource, The Make More Money Starter Kit. Inside, you’ll find 3 key decisions to land your next big raise, one of which is whether to stay at your current job or move on.

There’s other great information inside like a 6-point checklist for your quarterly performance reviews, how to calculate your target pay number, and different things you could be paid for that you may not realize (like your phone bill).

I’ll leave you with this… if you walk away with nothing else, remember this: “You catch more bees with honey than with vinegar.”

And, if you like to read, I highly recommend the book How to Win Friends and Influence People. You’ll see this adage illustrated time and time again throughout the pages in example after example of highly successful people.




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