I have been having so much hangxity lately. People warn you about the perils of getting older and the poor bounce back after a long night out with many Gin Rickeys, but nobody really talks about the anxiety you wake up with, knowing you were tipsy and embarrassing. Especially after that nightmare of an afterwork drinks session. It took me many work outs to sweat it out.

Nobody at work seems to remember though. Or at least their intrusive looks have not modified. If they are judgemental, it must be, just like before, because of my too tightly or too loosely fitted suit and my unperfectly trimmed beard. I am trying to keep my morning routine at under 25 minutes, but it is tough. And this still amounts to more than 12 hours a month. If I were to be in perfect shape every single day, that would at least double my prep time, making me lose a day every month. It is not that I do not want to take care of myself, but between work, yoga, pilates, friends and eating salads from overpriced local shops, I really struggle to find time to spare on mirror facing. The 15 minutes I need in the evening to undo my make up, I am not really taking into consideration as I count it towards my self care allocated time. Who does not enjoy a nice face scrub followed by an extensive whipped butter infused mask? Equally, the yoga sessions are really for my delight. The health side effects are just a nice bonus. The money I spend on nice sports attire is also just fun. The kick of dopamine I get while walking out of a lulu orange shop with a massive bag is just bliss. Anyways, there is a fine line between the things we have to do and the things we want to do. Having my beard always perfectly shaved definitely falls into the first category, but as the Germans say - _das Leben ist kein Wunschkonzert_. We cannot always pick and choose to do only what we like. I do wonder what do woman do with all that extra free time? Maybe in my next 1on1 with Ofelia I will ask her. How long before coming to the office does she wake up? However, I will have to figure out a better framing for this question. It might sound a bit unprofessional. Speaking of the devil, she approaches me and asks for a minute with me in her office. As if she had heard my thoughts.

I graciously stand up and move towards her office. She seems unsettled. She seems worried. I hope I didn’t mess up anything. I quickly go through all the on going projects and the ones in our pipe line, but I cannot think of anything that might have gone wrong. Not in the last 48 hours. I am up to date, too. A few very long seconds pass in absolute awkward silence and finally she starts speaking:

“Listen, you deserve a promotion. You’ve been hard-working, you’ve been my right hand in so many acquisitions and I should’ve been more grateful for your hard work. So, I’ve had a discussion with the board and I’m pleased to say, you’ve just been promoted.”

Am I dreaming? Did my hero just send me a birthday card? I can’t believe she has fought for me with the board and pushed for a promotion. When I asked some time ago, it sounded impossible. Maybe she did not want to get my hopes up and not be able to deliver on her promises. But she did listen to me and delivered. I feel so grateful and have no idea how to thank her enough. Finally not just some bread crumbs like recognition, but a whole cake. I thank her and walk out of the office.

At lunch, I shared the news with my mates and it was a truly happy day. We mini celebrated until an incident started unfolding at Ofelia’s table. It seems Tamara and her gals were discounting my promotion. They kept on questioning Ofelia’s dedication to get me the promotion and assigned it to our alleged affair. To be honest, I was not surprised to hear this. It is the standard when one of my boys gets a promotion or celebrates some small win. Almost as women cannot deal with a little bit of competition. What surprised me was Ofelia’s reaction. She put Tamara and her nasty comments into place AND threatened to go to HR. At that point they were so loud that the whole cafeteria could hear them. Ofelia stood up from their table and walked to the office, leaving everyone back with their jaws dropped.

A woman finally taking a stand. Wow. Men have been fighting for their rights for so long now and are constantly being told to take a break, because on paper we are all equals, but for some reason when incidents happen, women never take a stance. They never set the record clear.

I walked after her to her office and thanked her for the 50th time that day. This time I felt a different sense of gratefulness. She did something she did not have to do and that I have not contributed to at all. She did something nice for me, without me having to ask. If only all women would do once in their lifetimes something like this, maybe we could all be better off within a generation. It only takes putting an a##hole once in their place by a woman and they will remember it for ever. Women fighting for men’s rights would solve problems at an unseen pace. I do not know why they do not take us seriously, but a woman’s word does seem to have a different weight. It would not cost them much either. Just stop the bad jokes. Maybe the world would be an actually funny place, if we will not laugh at other people’s pain.