Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Self-awareness. Toreador, olé!

Many years ago, I read an excellent book, How Men Think, by Adrienne Mendell. My purchase price was more than paid back when I was able to negotiate a 20% raise by putting into action some of the suggestions I found in it.

The one point that stands out for me still – a dozen years after the fact – was one in which Mendell writes about how women are typically more willing to speak candidly and openly about their weaknesses and deficiencies. This, Mendell argues, may seem like a good idea, but, to the ears of most men, this will come across not as candor and openness, but as WEAKNESS AND DEFICIENCY.

So, I stopped ever admitting that there were things I sucked at, or had screwed up, and just did what the boys were doing: huffing and puffing about their strengths and accomplishments and ignoring their obvious (to me, anyway) screw ups and weaknesses.  (I will note that, at this stage in my career, I was the only woman on the management team of a small software company. Definitely an experience worth having.)

I thought of Mendell’s book for the first time in years when I read an article last week on HuffPo about a novice Mexican bullfighter who decided to call it quits.

Christian Hernandez apparently did the toreadoric unforgiveable when he:

… decided to bolt across the ring and leap headfirst over a wall as the bull charged forward.

Hey, I can’t blame the guy one little bit. It’s nothing that I, personally, wouldn’t do if confronted by a snorting, two-ton decidedly not Ferdinand-type of bull bearing down on me, horns aiming at my vital organs.

Talk about no way, José.

Olé? NO-lé!

Truly, the only way I’d ever be gored was in the backside, while trying to escape.

But I’ve never actually been a toreadora wannabe. Hernandez, by virtue of being in the ring in fancy costume and snappy cape, obviously was.

Needless to say, the crowd wasn’t exactly thrilled with Hernandez’ performance, and he was mightily jeered and booed. Even worse, after a quick re-appearance in the ring:

… a humiliated Hernandez was later arrested for breach of contract. According to local media reports, he was released by police after paying a fine.

(Can you imagine if folks could get arrested for doing a bad job? There wouldn’t be enough jail to hold all the criminals. I was going to say all us criminals, but then I remembered that I must never admit to any professional weakness…)

Anyway, in a later interview, in which he said he was hanging up his cape and getting out of the ring, Hernandez said:

"There are some things you must be aware of about yourself…I didn't have the ability, I didn't have the balls ... this is not my thing."

I guess Señor Hernandez is the exception that proves the Mendell how men think rule.

So I say to Señor Hernandez: bravo, bravo, bravissimo!

Buena suerte as you look for a new career.


nisha said...

Good work, i like your blog theme, and content ofcourse

Chef E said...

"Truly, the only way I’d ever be gored was in the backside, while trying to escape".

I love this! Since I am going to Spain in September, I will forever have this image in my brain-