This is a good question.
I wish other people would share their thoughts.
I have only recently worked in a corporate office setting and I have seen the subtle sexual interactions. I must admit that the sexual attraction I detect from my co-workers has worked to my advantage because I am new in this field and I make (and am forgiven for) mistakes. But reflecting on that statement I have to wonder, “is that part of my female training?” Just because I’m learning a new system and I make mistakes, does my allowing (i.e. not discouraging) men to ogle over me make up for my short comings? That’s kind of sick. Now I’m feeling very confused about this Molly Bloom.
I used to work on construction sites and I was very good and efficient at my job. But of course, as you can imagine, the sexual dynamic seemed very different there. Most men in that field get flustered at the idea of working with a woman. Every woman working in a male dominated industry has a different approach to handling in an authority position. For me it was actually easy to maintain a productive crew as long as I didn’t use my authority arbitrary (some need to constantly prove their dominance). I led by example-and the psychology between the sexes worked to my advantage because most men don’t want to be physically out preformed by a woman. There’s that phrase again- “…worked to my advantage…”
I’m about to be 31 years old and I must admit that, career wise, I am feeling like time is running out on my ability to take risks (and fail) because I should know better by now. And in that sense, I am wishing I was still in my early 20’s so I people would continue to excuse my whimsical nature along with some of my shortcomings. But if I where to disregard my anxiety about how other people perceive me, of course I’m smarter and happier in general then I was even 5 years ago.
Back to the topic at hand- Is there a shelf life to the interactions between men and women? I think in some professions to varying degrees there is a shelf life. It seems in some professions that it’s only the relationships between men that are lasting. I try where ever I go to foster a non-competitive, supportive culture between my female colleagues. I think it might help.
But it’s defiantly not just the interactions between sexes that make so many of us fixated on staying young. It’s “youth culture” and it’s starting to get men too. It’s sad that a lineless face and slim figure is aspires more of us to action then wisdom and being part of the things that take time.