You don’t have to be a fan of politics to admire the message of the commercials that the US Army created in the 1980s and 1990s. The message at the end of the commercial was simple: “Be all that you can be.” I think that is a great lesson and motto, and it can be used by all in life. Shoot for the stars! Aim high and don’t settle for average! Discover your potential. But some people don’t share my opinion – which is fine. Live your life and raise your family as you please. But I must say something when I find out that people are trying to pass along the message of “Mediocrity is okay if [insert the scenario here].” In this particular situation and scenario, I will fill in the blank: “Mediocrity is okay if you’re a woman looking for a shidduch and you have a chance to rise to your potential and have a great job/career doing what you love. But if you want to be a kallah, better settle for a job that doesn’t intimidate a prospective suitor.” Read on.
Someone I work with came to my office a few days ago and told me that she wanted to redt a shidduch for me, but when she told the guy about my job, specifically the position I have – Cross Branch Regional Manager – she said he seemed intimidated and didn’t want to date a “woman with a powerful job.” My workmate advised me that I may want to consider changing careers, because this isn’t the first guy she has tried to redt to a woman who is a lawyer or someone with a prestigious position, and the guys seem to slink away for that reason. I thanked her for trying to redt the shidduch, but added that if someone is intimidated by a position at work and thinks the woman will come home and want to boss the husband around, and that is the reason for not wanting to date or even get to know the girl, then it’s someone who seems to have an alpha male ego, doesn’t want to feel threatened by a wife, and I had no need for that. With that, she turned and left my office.
I believe what I told her. I don’t need some guy who is intimidated by my job to use that as an excuse not to date me. How insecure is this guy? And why did my workmate come to me telling me a guy I didn’t know from a shidduch she was trying to redt me – which I also didn’t know about – say no and offer unsolicited advice? Did she think I’d hand in my two-weeks’ notice and say, “You’re right. I should be a first-grade teacher or a sheitel-macher” or something like that.
The truth is, I’m not 20 anymore; I went to school, went on for my master’s degree, and worked hard to get to where I am. Basically, she said that all I’ve accomplished and what I am is the reason why I’m not married. She isn’t the first person to say this to me either. Is it crazy people think this way?
What do you think?
Malkie, thanks for your email.
Want to know what I think? I, too, think that what she said is crazy, and I have also been in the exact same situation you have been in. A shadchan or two mentioned that I shouldn’t talk about my job on dates. At the time, I managed two departments in the organization I worked at. One department was ranked in the top five in the city, and the other among the top ten in the state. And I worked darn hard for those rankings! These were feats that should be praised and not hidden for fear it can damage a man’s ego or make him feel “less than,” before we even date. “So what am I supposed to do when we speak about work, because on the first date work is kind of a main subject since we are strangers?” The shadchanim answered, “Tell them you work in insurance” or “you work in an organization.” Excuse me? I was very proud of my accomplishments, and for a stranger who needed to feel macho, I’m the one who needed to be less than? No thank you.
Malkie, you should be proud of all you have accomplished, and I’m sure you are proud of yourself. So now you have to pretend to be an office clerk in order to find your bashert? Stop it. And the shadchanim and those like your workmate should stop it. If I were you, I would have told my workmate to stay in her lane, thank you for trying to redt a shidduch, but I never asked you for advice on how to live my life. (I may also have added that she shouldn’t volunteer as a mentor or life coach, because she doesn’t have the skill set of seichel for it.)
I believe I have written once or twice that right after I was married, someone asked me a question that was completely rude and none of her business: “So you’re the boss at work. Does your husband mind that at home?” Excuse me? (That should have been the title of the article, because I’ve written it so often.) I told this well-meaning yenta that my husband knew what I did for a living before, and while we dated, and what goes on at home is none of her business. Her inquiry was along the same lines as the advice your co-worker gave. I know many executives, Jewish and non-Jewish, who wear two hats: They wear their “Boss” hat at work and their “Spouse/Parent” hat at home. At work, you must make decisions, be assertive, have strong opinions, and even pull rank at work. But acting like that at home, you may not live “happily” married for long. I won’t go into it, because my readers are smart enough to know that marriage is a partnership, full of compromises.
Getting back to the issue at hand, if a man can’t understand that a strong, assertive, opinionated woman can be a good wife and mother and separate the work life from home life, then he has a lot to learn. Granted there are women who have high-powered, high-paying jobs and it takes up most of their time even when at home; they work after dinner or after the kids are in bed. But that is something for the couple to deal with between themselves, privately. I don’t think a position at work should disqualify anyone for the position of wife and mother, but yet it’s happening nonetheless.
It seems to be the opposite with men. Some women seek out strong alpha males as husbands because they know that these men are powerful (whether in their career or the way their personality presents itself). These women want to be with “doers,” men who can take control. These women may even want to be taken care of, and when they pursue those in high-paying professions, they want all that comes along with that lifestyle, even if that means that the husband never takes off his Boss hat – but that is a very deep discussion for another day.
Malkie, go ahead with your career and don’t think about those who are insecure in themselves, that they would never consider dating a woman with your credentials. Why do I say this? Because your husband will admire you for all you have accomplished and he will be your equal in all areas that count, even if his job/career seems less than yours on paper. In person, you will both be what you both need.
To the well-meaning shadchanim who tell anyone not to shoot for the moon and be all they can be because all of those non-zivugim they will set you up with who will be intimidated – they can keep their thoughts and not redt the shidduch and not offer their advice that can really cause damage to someone. You or I should be a receptionist or a first-grade teacher just to get a shidduch even though it would make us miserable. In no way am I knocking receptionists or first grade teachers. If that is what you want to do, go ahead. I’m only referring to those who are told to aim low so that they can keep their shidduch hopes high. Oyyy.
Hatzlachah to you all!