Sunday, April 01, 2012

Women Rule

Women rule the world and don't let anyone tell you different and you don't need statistics like these: women now constitute the majority of the work force; in many cities single childless women out-earn their male peers, to believe it. Just look around you. Yeah, I'm talking to you married guys. What color are your walls? What TV shows do you watch? Where'd you go on your last vacation? Need more? OK, lets take a look at your own bathroom. Did you have ANYTHING to do with the way it looks? Anything at all? Even one little thing? I walk into the bathrooms of some of my friends and I'm almost too intimidated to take a leak; the shower curtain is ruffles and frills, everything is pink or pastel blue with scented candles and pictures of flowers and birds, or maybe a little girl picking flower and talking to birds, and with soft lighting around the oval mirrors and I mean geez what guy would have the nerve to go in there and desecrate this shrine to femininity with his most disgusting bodily functions. I should just go out into the woods and dig a hole.

And it's only going to get worse - or better depending on your viewpoint. And I'll tell you why: The characteristics that are generally considered masculine - strength, speed, aggressiveness, competitiveness, ability to focus on a particular task to the exclusion of all other inputs and to pursue it in a linear fashion - are simply no longer valuable in a world where machines do most of our work and a lot of our thinking. In the 21st century we are going to need people who have good communication skills, work well in groups, multi-task, are able to listen and not let their egos get in the way. In short: women.

What does this have to do with Stained Glass? Plenty. In over 30 years of designing, building and installing stained glass windows I'd say 90% of my customers were women. 1% were heterosexual men. OK, I never really kept track and that's a complete exaggeration but you get the idea and if you're going to be successful in this business it's absolutely essential that you can communicate well with the feminine gender since they will be the majority of your customers.

I've seen contractors and tradesmen in the home improvement business time and again ignore the instructions of their female customers. I've seen women having to tell their husbands to "talk to" the plumber or carpenter or roofer in order to get a point across; so many of them seem to have this "get out of my way, lady, and let me do my job" attitude.

That attitude won't work in our business. Yes, there are going to be times when you should try to persuade a customer that maybe she doesn't really want to match her sofa or the wall paper or that doing an inverted star with skull inside just creeps you out, but for the most part, it's all about listening. Especially, and this is counter-intuitive, when dealing with someone who doesn't know what she wants.

more later

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