Guest blog: The Ghost of Feminism
'Because of your prior experience, I thought you could be perfect for this job' - said one of my male contacts to me once.
It was a lovely sunny day in Budapest, Hungary and I was being offered a job just as I was about to start job searching. The salary wasn't at all bad, and I also knew and loved the place and the people working there. And who wouldn't love the idea of not getting into the trouble of job searching and getting a job just like that!
'So what do you say?' - He asked.
I didn't know what to say at first. At that time I was weeks away from my thirtieth birthday and the job he offered was an assistant role for his project. I already had experience in that position and I was thirsty for something more fulfilling.
'But you can't have everything, Noemi, you have to make compromises' - said a voice in me.
'Fine.' - I replied. 'But I'd rather make compromises in a different context, then.'
And that different context was a bigger issue. My fiancé had a project in the UK and after some consideration we agreed that we would move here. However, this wouldn't have prevented me from accepting the job offer, as I was told we could write the contract based on my needs.
After contemplating for a few days I decided to turn down the offer. You see, even if we would've made good use of some extra money before moving house, I didn't want to leave my home behind with the bitter taste of a compromise in my mouth. So I told him my decision.
A few days later we bumped into each other on the street and after a quick chit-chat he had a surprisingly odd remark about my decision. He said that leaving the country only because of my 'boyfriend' was not a very feminist thing to do.
His comment struck a chord with me. Deep down I already struggled with this feeling more than I dared to admit. I was haunted by this idea of the strong, independent woman who knows exactly what she wants and has a shiny career by her thirties. Yet, here I was, ready to jump into the unknown and start everything all over, while my fiancé already had a job and a place to belong to. But because I agreed to be dependent on my fiancé until I found a job, I’m not considered a ‘feminist’? What am I then? A housewife? But why can’t a housewife be a ‘feminist’ too?
Not only did he use feminism to make me feel bad, but with some unwanted touching he also revealed why he wanted me for the job in the first place and this crushed the very idea that I was offered a job purely because of my abilities. I guess I don’t even have to say how this affected my confidence.
But the reason why I wanted to share this story is because I know that as a woman, whatever you do, it feels like the world is eager to judge you and use you for its own pleasure. I might not have a shiny career yet, and I did learn something that helped me realise I don’t have to justify myself to anyone. Not even if they blackmail me with the false portrayal of ‘un-feminist’.
The best thing you can do is to give yourself a break and do whatever you like. You may have to make compromises, but do it only because of yourself and not because someone (or a freaking ghost) wants to control you.
‘Just do it.’ – As my Work It Out coach also suggested. Don’t be afraid to ask for some guidance.