Or at least the country- Hill Yes, am I right? Just kidding, I’d unsubscribe from my own blog if it started getting political.
But seriously, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the amazingness that is women helping women. I’m talkin’ rooting for each other, helping each other out, and going out on a limb to give a fellow female a hand. You’re probably thinking, “So Caroline, is this because you watched Michelle Obama’s incredible speech this past weekend?” Why yes, I did catch it, but I had a giddy moment of enlightenment last week in a much dumber way.
If I’m not blogging for another company, I’m writing how-to articles, crafting pitches, applying for more projects, and working on whatever came across my desk that week – that’s why it’s been 25 days since my last blog! I’m very open about the fact that in my down time, I like to watch pure filth on television. My newest obsession is “Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team.” In a thrilling DVRed episode from 2014, the coaches came *this* close to cutting one of their candidates, until a veteran candidate vouched for the candidate’s work ethic and said she’d work on the routines with her one-on-one to get her up to snuff.
For some reason, I just thought that was so cool… maybe because this female camaraderie was taking place on a reality show, where catfights and backstabbing would be much more “expected.” And yes, this CMT reality show actually got me thinking. I’ve never donned white booty shorts to compete for a spot on an NFL cheerleading team, but I’ve gotten to experience some of the most amazing and genuine female support lately, and I was truly overcome with gratitude. On my couch. Watching a montage of cheerleaders doing high kicks.
A couple months ago, Jeremy and I traveled to Oakland to watch the Toronto Blue Jays play the Oakland A’s. We got to our seats to discover we were smack dab in the middle of a tight knit group of avid A’s fans. When we showed up wearing our Blue Jays gear, they started heckling us immediately.
Soon, the heckling turned into chatting, and the woman next to me asked what I did for work. I explained that I was transitioning into full-time freelancing, which was both terrifying and exhilarating. She mentioned that she worked closely with writers, gave me her name and email address, and told me to forward my résumé her way. Since I had no professional connections in California yet, I was incredibly thankful for her willingness to help me.
My subsequent email led to a connection, which led to a phone call, which led to receiving a REAL, big time assignment! I emailed my contact from the baseball game, thanking her profusely, and she simply responded,
She didn’t have to look out for me – heck, she didn’t even know me– but she did. Some day, when I am hopefully in a position to help someone else out, I can’t wait to pass that on.
So I get my assignment, and wouldn’t you know… I’m working on a project profiling eight badass women who are the tops in their field. Of course I’ll post more specifics when it’s published, but it entailed calling, interviewing, and writing profiles on a bunch of incredible women who have long, insanely successful careers in an industry that I am completely clueless about. I was intimidated, to say the very least. I knew I could write well, but I also really, really wanted to have smart conversations with these brilliant business execs.
After a couple of days on the phone, I finished speaking with all of the women, and I was filled with warm fuzzies. These women – these busy, accomplished, powerful women – went out of their way to make sure I had all of the information I needed and then some. They were kind, they were gracious, and they didn’t laugh at me when I asked for clarification about things that were probably pretty basic. When it was all said and done, one of them actually emailed me and said, “I really love your personality.” She certainly didn’t have to say that, but it made me feel so confident as I moved forward with that project, and my writing career as a whole.
When I told my mom all of this, and how thankful I was for the networking, the project, and the interviews, she reminded me that I had every reason to be grateful. She said that when she was a young lawyer, women often felt like they had to compete to get to those few spots at the top. Understandably, things often seemed like a “her or me” situation, and the environment was often competitive, rather than supportive. While none of the women I interacted with saw me as competition, they certainly went above and beyond to help me find success in my own path.
Women helping women isn’t some revolutionary idea, and obviously this isn’t the first time I’ve encountered wonderful, smart, strong women who have been kind to me. It is the first time, though, that I’ve been incredibly cognizant and grateful for it. I love the men in my life, but there is something so special and unique about the bonds between women. While I’ve always tried to be kind to my fellow women – and avoid the “catty” stereotype – I’m making it a goal to be a cheerleader and supporter for women, and hopefully pay it forward.
“Here’s to strong women.
May we know them,
May we be them,
May we raise them!”