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The Pinnacle of Mercury and Mars

by Ame Ai

I sit
somewhat
next to the pinnacle of my salary.
What do I do to keep it?

Let's talk about what I do not do.
I do not do what I was hired to do
most of the time
because my boss fears that I'd step on toes,
as if I'm doing a waltz.
I do not say "please" lest it be seen as "too authoritative"
I do not share any more ideas
lest they be squashed by the male hierarchy.
I do not do it with any recognition
of my finely tuned leadership skills.
I do not receive acknowledgment or respect
for my senior experience and impressive accomplishments.
I do not go through a goodbye ritual with my husband
in our car in the parking lot before or after work.
I do not do it with the belief that
a knight, frog, prince, or promotion
will fall into my lap.

I put my job in a safe
where it does not collect 0.07% if I pass go.
I do attend every meeting
that my manager is late to.
I do remind my manager to review my work
even if it's month's past the last ten reminders.
I do it knowing that I'm in charge of the purse
strings in my household,
not because I want to but because I know the terminology.
I do it knowing that I now make twice as much
as when I had to support two people the first time, but
I do it knowing that it's not enough
to keep up with my husband's idealistic, close-to-unattainable dreams.
I sacrifice myself
at the altar of caring
and my love language,
only to be called materialistic.
That is the consequence of choosing love
over business,
but not of choosing family over work.
I choose work because I choose family.
I hold a tenuous position.

I know the statistics.
I know the lack of fulfillment at work.
I know the lack of fulfillment from home,
from looking down from my somewhat pinnacle.

I do not
do what
I know
to be fulfilling.

How do I fix America
when I don't know how to fix this?
When my efforts of turning toward
are blasted away with
confirmation bias,
gender bias,
and overthought thoughts?

I have been at this level before.
Where is the cheat code?

Must there always be a trade-off?
Must there always be burnout,
personality distress,
and second guessing?

What have we gained?

11/27/2018

Author's Note: Written November 27, 2018 and about women's equality.

Posted on 11/27/2018
Copyright © 2019 Ame Ai

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