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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Feminine Mystique » » "Legitimate" or "Need to prove..." (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Margarette
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I think I've had my first "confrontation" - for lack of a better word - as president of the magic club. Some of you may have noticed my posts regarding Dick Williams and his recent problems. The last magic meeting we discussed a benefit/tribute for Dick in an effort to raise money for his ongoing medical expenses. I had a list of things I wanted to discuss and I felt several were valid points. Some such points were as follows:

1) The president of the club needs to be kept informed of everything going on towards this production
2) Until we have designated someone to speak on behalf of the club, any official communications with the press regarding said benefit/tribute should come from one of the officers of the club
3) This is a club effort...egos will be checked at the door...it is a 'we' effort, not "look what I did" effort

Some people in the club seemed to take offense at what I had to say, and I will admit that I was a bit forceful in how I said what I said. I just don't think it puts the club in a good light when I, in the capacity as ring president, call an organization only to have them say to me, "Oh, we just spoke with someone from your club..." I also think it's okay for local magicians to speak to the press on behalf of themselves, as in "local magician so-and-so has this to say about...." However, unless they have been designated a "representative from the ring" they cannot speak on behalf of the ring.

Now, after our club meetings, we descend upon a local restaurant for a couple of hours to talk magic some more. After the last meeting, I got a rather chilly reception. No one wanted to talk further about this benefit, and one magician kept shooting me a "go to <dirty word>" look (at least that's how I interpreted it). My son even noticed how few people were talking with me. I also heard through the grapevine that some of the magicians in the club don't think I've been doing enough as president. As explained to me, the "book of rules" states that the VP is in charge of theme nights for the meetings and is in charge of lecture information (gathering, informing, booking, etc.).

I've chatted with a couple of magicians in the club about how I'm feeling (ones I can trust not to gossip - yes, men gossip, too!). Part of me feels like I've got a chip on my shoulder and a point to prove that I can "run with the big dogs" as an officer in the club. We have only one other active female memeber, and she's half of our junior membership (my older son makes up the other half). I go into my day job every day having to prove myself...that I can handle my job...I'm not a secretary, but I'm a Project Manager. I have to deal with people at work who think nothing about making degrading comments towards women (and some have been said directly to me, and when I comment on what they say, I've been told I'm being "too sensitive"). I have to deal with contractors who think that because I'm a woman I either don't know what I'm talking about, or they can steamroll right over me.

I've been assured by a couple of the guys in the club that my issues are legitimate and not from a need to feel like I have to prove myself. Although, I can't help but think if the VP had been saying the things that I have said, his words would be getting a completely different reception.

I can't help but think back to what "they" say...if a man takes a firm stand on something, it is said he's a great leader...if a woman does the same, she's viewed as a b****. So, from impartial third-parties, do I have legitimate feelings, or are my feelings a contiuation of my day job's need to prove myself?

Margarette
The only stupid question is the one not asked.
airship
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As soon as three people get together for anything, you get politics. It just comes with the territory.

The best thing you can do is just do your job. You were elected to this post, and you can act with whatever power the charter gives you.

One thing you can do that might clear the air is to implement a 'grievance' procedure. Encourage those who don't agree with you to write down their arguments and give them to you, or to meet with you in private to discuss the matter. If people feel that their opinions are being heard and considered, they are more apt to settle down.

Of course, some troublemakers are more comfortable just sitting in the back row grumbling and stirring up trouble. But you can't do much about that.
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
Big Daddy Cool
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Quote:
I could never be a member of a traditional real life magic club because of my ethical stance,

What? You've got to elaborate on that one!

Margarette,
Knowing most magicians, your perceptions are probably founded. If you feel there is a conflict with particular people, you need to do to them directly and address it in private. That's probably one of the reasons you are getting a cold shoulder - by addressing some of these behaviors publicly at a meeting you have offended the ones responsible for the behavior. Nobody likes to be called out. So go to them privately and discuss the issues. You may end up creating some allies in the process.
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
www.johnpyka.com
Dr Spektor
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Hi M,

Didja get into summoning some spooks yet? I hope so!

As for this issue: I doubt it is a male vs. female thing... as opposed to:

1) likely sicko interpersonal dynamics that existed in the group before you ever got into position

2) No one has ever challenged the pseudoleaders in the peanut gallery

3) No one (well few) easily likes change - even beneficial ones

4) Was the club ever run "seriously" i.e. was it more a get together feel good time or the roles etc were treated with respect, minutes kept, the whole shebang - as then you are also battling a culture issue

5) You being set up to fry as the lone person


Now, under 5 - here is a question to reflect upon despite the fact there seems to be a bunch of jerks in the club:

a) Did you fly this buy some people ahead of time to get some buy-in... especially the VP?

b) Did your broach the subject as a discussion vs. a fete acompli?

c) Is there a "Public Relations" guideline already - or this is something super radical for the club for the first time?

d) Did you present the plan as a unified executive dicision with the VP, exec members etc. so that it appeard unified?

...etc.

Hence why I try to avoid all positions of "authority" - gives me a headache. The role of the leader is often to facillitate and guide and put out directives in emergencies... but it is tricky. These are the anti-perks to jobs - being the scape-goat for many things... you might find from a dynamic situation that often in groups/clubs the real people who influence the mob are in the peanut gallery - and figuring out ways to deal with them ahead of time i.e. getting them on side beforehand - getting them to come up with the idea "themselves" etc. goes a long way....


However, I do suggest you summon some spooks and demons for a good pleasurable weekend...

What the heck do I know. They might be a bunch of mysogynist pig-dogs.

Like BDC, having some private discussions might be useful - and may patchup things - and the above things I listed above might allow them to 'save face' (ie allowing idjits to save face - as much as often we'd all not want to - allows them to act human and support you... converting an enemy to a friend usually gets a super-duper supporter)...

That will be 5 Cents.
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
Margarette
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Before the meeting, I had an e-mail communication with two other officers in the club (including the VP) and they felt my points of discussion were valid. The VP even gave me some tips on what to say and what I should leave out. He also told me that if my points were valid, he'd support me, but if he didn't feel my points were valid, he'd discuss them with me outside of the magic meeting. It just so happened that this particular meeting I was careful not to single out any individual about what has already happened...it wasn't any one person in particular. However a couple did feel my comments were addressed directly to them. If comments were to be towards any one person, I would have privately addressed the individuals.

The club has put on public shows before, but to my knowledge, this is the first time something of this nature has been attempted. This benefit/tribute to the gentleman who holds the record for the longest running magic show on television...well, we can't fail!

Margarette
The only stupid question is the one not asked.
Dr Spektor
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Huh - the VP should tell you ahead of time what he'd support or not so that you two go in unified... well, that is my humble opinion. I think you got snookered.

In any case - good luck - and let us know when you do the bizarre magick!!!

(Like summong the spectre of Jack the Ripper to deal with those goons in the club)
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
Margarette
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Quote:
On 2007-05-03 14:54, Dr Spektor wrote:

However, I do suggest you summon some spooks and demons for a good pleasurable weekend...



Actually, I was thinking of summoning some spirits this weekend....like the spirits of Captain Morgan or the old White Russian.....will those count?

I haven't gotten and books yet...it will be quite lean dollar-wise until after I pay rent. Funny thing...these landlords like to be paid!

Margarette
The only stupid question is the one not asked.
Moth
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I'm sorry - that whole situation sounds - well - icky.

You could be carrying some of the "prove myself" attitude into the room - given what you described about your day job, that wouldn't be suprising. I've had that kind of issue myself in the past.

I think all the advice encouraging you to seek out the mumblers is right on - things liks this can really fester (in you), and the sooner you give yourself a chance to face the ones you feel awkward with, the easier it will be to move on.

Also - great advice was given to me once - it doesn't cost much to apologize - even if you're not really in the wrong. Let someone air their greivance with you, and tell them you are sorry for any awkwardness that was caused. The high road can work to diffuse a situation, with the right people.

And trust yourself. You're a leader - you don't have to demonstrate that to anyone. Just know that you are!
-amanda
Michael Taggert
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Hi M,
scootermagic just sent me this link as she knows that I am running into some of what you have encountered.

First I'm sorry this has turned ugly for you. Being president should be a positive for you.

Second my advice is to hurry and begin delegating tasks especially to those who would love to prove that they can do it. I like you am a skilled project manager. I tend to use those same skills when getting the annual convention off the ground. ( we just presented a check to our charity of $2210.00) for our latest fund raiser) we were successful because I was able to find tasks for all of the folks that gave me resistance that were meaningful to them and I gave them ownership of those tasks. I did not give them a 'put up or shut' up attitude but did us some sales skill to get them to buy into the whole before we got too far into the planning. Many organizations are all to willing to let the officers do the work only to take credit for the work of their officers. Then I recognized formally the help I received with certificates, kudos and much hand shaking.

Playing the weak woman role can work into your advantage here as the guys may want to step up and rescue you. (Oh Tom, Dick, and Harry could you three handle the press they are just hounding me and I can't seem to get it done, just copy me so I know what you are doing and I will put my signature block on what you are doing. But, as you well know, If you delegate, you will have to accept the outcome when working with volunteers. They will also have to accept the responsibility to meet your expectations. I am fortunate in that I run a prodcution company that is known in this area. The gang already trusted me and were ready to help.I had a committee of 35 working on everything from publicity to security. that's teamwork!

PM Me and we can discuss other tips and keep me posted.

Michael Taggert
President IBM ring 50
chairman Magi-whirl 2008
Believe you then that I do strange things
Autumn Morning Star
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Margarette,
Like everyone else, I will say it sounds like politics to me. Interpersonal dynamics can be really tricky. You know I lived in Memphis since 1996 and only went to the club meeting twice. Nothing personal, but I never really felt like one of the gang. (You did not belong to the club when I went, or I might have hung out a bit longer) Smile

They did elect you, so that must mean the guys have come a long way. Still, old entrenched belief systems die hard. Keep being the strong woman you are. Approach each issue with respect and dignity and things will work out.
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
Margarette
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I visted with the owner of the magic store in Little Rock over the weekend. He and I are good friends and I can trust what he says. Also, his daughter is the president of the magic club in Little Rock. His advise to me was to stop walking on eggshells. After all, whether the guys knew what they were doing or not, they DID elect me as president.

One of the things I did, and I don't know if it was a good thing or not, but I delegated the VP to put together a committee for this benefit/tribute. He called me after he met with these guys, and from what I was told, they want to go a completely different direction that what I had envisioned for this project.

Autumn, I do know what you mean about not feeling like one of the gang. This is my third year as a member of the club, and even though they put me in office, quite often I still feel like an outsider.

Margarette
The only stupid question is the one not asked.
Autumn Morning Star
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Hang in there, Margarette. You are making a difference! Your presence at the club would actually make me consider coming to a meeting again. Hey, I fly into Memphis on Wednesday and leave Sunday. Maybe we can have some coffee and chat about all this? You can blow off some steam and feel better. I will be in the Midtown area. Just pm me and met me know.
Autumn
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
just_larry
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Well Margartte,
Being a member of this magic club I would like to address to you some things
I understand your frustration,
But First and foremost of the people I speak to regularly , No-one thinks differently of you because you are a woman!
We happly elected you as president, knowing this. Unanimously if I might add (and there have been times that the election was NOT unanimous)
(And is should/doesn't matter that you are, is has no bearings on how you do the job.)

The only problem that I know of is from the way things were done that night.
And unless asked I do not feel comfortable bring up on a public forum.

On the subject of that show lunch/meeting-
We all want to help Dick but what is the best way
and that is what that meeting was about. I personally like the I "New" Idea because it gets more money to help Dick. Nothing from the meeting has been set in stone.

over all I think you are doing a fine job as president look forward to the rest of the year with you in the position

In groups people will butt heads, It is just going to happen.
Larry
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