Always a Career Bridesmaid

bridesmaid bouquetOn May 10 2014, I had the proud role of being the Master of Ceremonies for my best-friend’s wedding. Ok, I was officially the Mistress of Ceremonies, but that sounded far more promiscuous than I’m comfortable with. So let’s stick to MC.

It was a glorious spring day…when everything comes together seemingly without effort, celebrating two people whose love for one another made the day even more beautiful.

Add to this reverie, a charming, articulate, good looking MC…and you have a dream wedding.

It was that good. People are still talking about it.

But I digress.

Upon wrapping up my duties and handing things over to the DJ, I did, what any self-respecting MC in my position would do—I made a beeline towards the bar.

A middle-aged man was already there, and congratulated me on a job well done. We started chatting, you know, friendly bar banter, and then, just when I thought I was safe, I receive the loaded statement.

“Oh, you’re single?!? Don’t worry, you’ll find someone.”

I chuckled. By his tone and look of concern, it was quite obvious this person considered being single an excruciating disease…one, that with proper treatment could be inoculated.

I thanked this man for his well wishes, took my drink and poured it on his head.

Ok, that part didn’t happen, but I did make a polite exit and continued to enjoy myself with the wedding guests—back to the land of reality where people aren’t defined by marital status and wishing their time will come.

Months later, I find myself relating this married versus single context to career development, in particular, employment status.

On one extreme, you have Career Brides. These folks are professionals with salary, tenure, vacation, benefits and, for lack of a better term, continuity.

They may even be supported by a union and aren’t afraid to let you know it—particularly if you ask them to do something that isn’t in their job description. Our blushing Brides revel in their status and assume that if you aren’t a bride, you want to be a Bride. Good for them.

The other extreme showcases our Career Bridesmaids. A Career Bridesmaid may have a series of part-time jobs, live off of different contracts, and does not have the safety and stability of a Career Bride. They do what needs to be done to make ends meet, and are just as proud. Our blushing bridesmaids may enjoy the freedom and flexibility of their work, and may even assume if you aren’t a Bridesmaid, you want to be a Bridesmaid. Good for them too.

Where do you see yourself within this spectrum?

Who would you hire to do the work? Would employment status even matter?

The point is, let’s stop judging people on their employment status and begin to appreciate the value they bring to the organization.

A Career Bride may long for the flexibility of a Bridesmaid, and maybe there are Bridesmaids who want the stability of a Bride’s career path.

Wherever possible, let’s not have processes trump the competence of great people.

Stay true to your professional convictions and let the rest follow.

Later that night, after rejoining the wedding party, I scanned the crowd and saw that same man, sitting beside his wife. They were clearly having a heated discussion.

Proof that it’s always better to be a single bridesmaid than in a committed, unhappy marriage.

I waved to him and smiled.

LidiaSiino– Lidia Siino
Journalism and Communications Media ’02

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