Yesterday, I had a long discussion about achievements with my BFF. I will immediately point out that any discussion between her and I; whether it be important or nonsense, is treated the same. We are the kind of people that can have deep, meaningful conversations about the strangest things.
This means that when we do discuss matters of importance, it is a bit of a information dump. We both work in fields dominated by men – she’s in computer security and my books have been classified as horror by just about every major advertising company I’ve used as well as some of my readers.
The subject of achievements came up. We realized rather quickly that what women consider achievements are much different than what most men consider achievements. Let me provide you with examples from both of our jobs:
- She fills out a daily report with her accomplishments, areas that need improvement, daily tasks, etc. One day, she had zero accomplishments, because everything she had accomplished was essentially her job, so they went under daily tasks. To me, that makes sense. Her boss was concerned however, because the male assessment forms listed multiple achievements for each day. Upon closer inspection, it was basically a checklist for getting their daily tasks accomplished. To me, completing daily tasks is not an achievement, it’s a job requirement.
- It’s fairly rare for me to post a daily word count. Word counts aren’t really achievements for me, they are the daily tasks of my job. Then I remembered several weeks ago that a male writer friend of mine had in fact done a blog post about his accomplishment of writing 10,000 words in a single day. Which is good, but that’s about my average when I’m really engrossed in what I’m writing, so to me, that didn’t feel like much of an achievement. It felt like a daily task… You have to add words every day (and delete them) to move a book along if you’re the author.
So what did we qualify as achievements became our next topic.
- For her it was the big stuff; passing a SANS certification, being asked to do a web demonstration on her ultra-cool crimeware detection tools, completing projects, etc. Nothing that is ordinary, everyday stuff.
- For me, achievements are getting the cover art done, sending a book to the editor, finalizing it for print, and publishing it. Everything else, I just consider part of the job. I sat down one day and wrote 17,000 words. I got a lot done, but it didn’t feel all that important. In other words, I wouldn’t consider it an achievement. I did break my previous record for most words in a single day, but even that doesn’t feel like an achievement.
I’m sure there is a psychology behind it, but I’m less certain what exactly it is. Do women just not feel they should take credit for doing their daily job? Or for some reason, do women devalue achievements that men value? I don’t know. Someone should study it in depth.
Not me, I have been a busy bee and I have an achievement to share. Triggered Reality is completely done… all the editing, all the beta reading, all the uploading to different sites, all the checking and double checking that I didn’t screw something up in the formatting, etc. It’s finished and ready to be read by the masses or at least the people that like/love the Dreams novels.
I’ll take the next few days to clear it from my mind and then I’ll get back into Flawless Dreams. Still expecting a May release date for it. It is surprisingly on schedule.