Tuesday, September 27, 2011

separate, but.....separate?!?

Don't get me wrong; I'm all for equality. Yes, women should be paid the same as men for the same job. Women should have the same rights as men to vote, own property and complete higher education. But what's happening right now with the IAAF is just ridiculous!

Here's the full article on what constitutes a woman's world record in a marathon. Basically, the current world record of 2 hours 15 minutes and change held by Paula Radcliffe no longer counts as she earned that record at the London marathon---a mixed sex race. She had an unfair advantage because she was racing with men and they pushed her to run faster and harder. They are now claiming that only records set at women only races should count for women.

In my opinion, I see several problems with this new "rule." All the major marathons are co-ed endeavors. Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York all have a mixed field. These are the marathons that people know about, have heard of and are possibly hoping to qualify for or be chosen in the lottery to run these races. Now, the most important races in the sport can't have a world record set at them? Where does that leave the elite women runners? Competing for cash but not time? (Trust me these majors pay out significantly more than the smaller races)

This is a major step back in the history of women's running. The first woman to enter and try to run the Boston Marathon was Katherine Switzer in 1967. Race officials tried to pull her from the course for the mere fact that she was a woman. It wasn't until 1984 that the Olympics allowed the women's marathon to be an official event. ( I still remember watching that race and being so proud that the American Joan Benoit Samuelson won on home turf!) Before that it was believed that "women just couldn't run that far." (even though they'd been doing it for several years at other marathons).

The major complaint for women setting record in co-ed events is the fact that the men push the women to be faster. Who's to say the women don't push the men? Let's be honest, I don't know any man that likes to get beat by a woman. Yes, it happens to many of them in co-ed races but I guarantee the sight of a woman coming up on a man only encourages him to run a little faster so he doesn't get beat by a chick!

My final issue with this potential rule change is the atmosphere of all women races. I'm not opposed to all women's events; I'm running the pink half marathon next month is Park City. You can even read my friend Rhielle's thoughts on all women's races. In my experience, all women's races are more about the swag bag, making friends and wearing pink not about the competition. Most all women's races are designed to help women feel comfortable and confident racing. They provide a safe haven for women who don't want to compete with men.

I think if we're really going for a separate but equal playing field when it comes to road racing, we need to let women set women's records at co-ed or same sex events. There will always be separate records for both men and women; I just hope we don't see an asterisk denoting a record set at a co-ed event.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

the kindness of co-workers

I work in outside sales. I love that I don't go into an office everyday. On occasion, I miss the Monday morning catch-up or the water-cooler conversation. For the most part I don't miss that day-to-day interaction with co-workers. It's just never been that important to me. I much prefer the randomness of my days and getting to converse with a variety of people. The downside to all of this is you never quite develop great relationships with your co-workers. Sure I see them on occasion; we work together on a semi-regular basis. But, it's rare that I have the feeling that a co-worker's "got my back." Recently this all changed.

Earlier this year I was working with a potential client. Things were going along as expected--there were a few bumps and set-backs but everything was progressing smoothly. Then, without notice, they seemed to fall of the face of the earth. I couldn't get a response via phone or email, my co-worker experienced the exact same thing. I just chalked it up to a lost client. Not something I like, but something that happens in sales.

Then just as suddenly this client was back calling and emailing. However, this time they were irate. Why wasn't anybody calling them back? Where was their contract? What had happened? I started the process again and thought things were moving along. Until the day I received that awful email! I have never been spoken to via email or in person the way this client spoke to me. There was nasty language (stuff that would make a sailor blush!), inaccurate accusations and phrases that weren't meant to be nothing more than hurtful and rude. I was shocked and decided then I was through with this customer. Fortunately, my co-worker felt the same way and so we were through.

Boy was I wrong! Here we are 3 months later. That client has now signed a contract (for which I will get all the benefit) and has started using my product. The thing is, I haven't spoken to this customer since June when that nasty email was sent. As it turns out, this client contacted my co-worker a few weeks ago. This kind gentleman took over the contract negotiations and closing of the deal (knowing he wouldn't make a penny off of it) so I wouldn't have to work with this client again. His actions almost brought me to tears when I heard. Not only did he negotiate the contract. I also learned that upon visiting this client again he informed them their actions and word were inappropriate, they had no right to speak to me that way and if they ever felt the need to use that kind of language they could speak to him directly. Don't get me wrong, I'm a pretty tough girl who can take care of herself. But to have someone defend me that way was unexpected and truly appreciated.

I don't think I've ever had a co-worker (even ones that I've had a great relationship with and saw everyday) treat me so well. This guy is a gem! If he treats me this way, I can only imagine how he treats his wife. How do you express gratitude for such kind actions? I did send him & his wife a gift certificate to one of my favorite restaurants with a kind note. But, it just doesn't seem like enough. To be honest, I'm not sure I could ever repay this small act of kindness. I only hope that some day I'm able to pass along this same type of kindness to someone else.