I write provocative and thoughtful prose, addressing profound issues with an authentic voice.


Women and work: imperfectly perfect

Posted on March 20th, by Harriet in A Brush With The Law. No Comments

Granted, the best day to start a series of blog posts following a Law Society event for International Women’s Day would be 8th March. If that didn’t happen, though, the next best day would be …well, any day really, just as long as it got started eventually.

Clearly, I am a little late, and I’ll get to the reason for that in a bit. But it would be all to easy, for a perfectionist, to think,’I’ve left it too long now, so I won’t do it at all.’ And this kind of perfectionism is one of the many issues that women can struggle with when trying to manage a career. Especially if we are academic types and were used to being good in school, we can assume that when we eventually get into the workplace we need to perform well, not just to get stuff done, but to win approval and to be accepted.

Well, work is different. Sometimes, we just can’t get things as perfect as we’d like and we have to settle for good enough. Of course, this does not apply to the core element of our work – surgeons must excel at operating, pilots must fly their planes brilliantly … Read More »

Why we don’t need International Men’s Day

Posted on March 8th, by Harriet in A Brush With The Law. No Comments

There have been a few comments on social media suggesting we need a day to celebrate men, amid all the IWD posts.

I have absolutely nothing against men.

Nothing.

In fact, I have a 21 year-old one who lives in my house, eats my food, spends my money and whose wellbeing, happiness and future are more important to me than my own.

But we still need feminism and we need every opportunity, such as IWD, to talk and educate about women’s rights.

Feminism is not about blaming or hating men. Both women and men are responsible for maintaining inequality through unconscious bias, unquestioning acceptance of patriarchal assumptions and failing to speak out when we do notice unfairness. I hold my hands up; I live in this society and although I try to be aware, and I care passionately about supporting change, I am sure that every day I say and do (or fail to say and do) things that maintain the status quo.

So just to make it clear, I have nothing against men. Their rights as human beings are important and in fact I spend a lot of my working life defending them.

Also there are some issues (not going into them today but I … Read More »

Business – what we can learn from large organisations

Posted on February 14th, by Harriet in Uncategorized. No Comments

Like many women of a certain age, I run a business. Mine is the smallest kind as I am a freelancer. I have only myself to manage. Well, that’s the theory, but sometimes it seems like a lot more!

I haven’t always worked for myself. I’ve been employed in the public sector, by a large manufacturing company, by commercial enterprises of all sizes and by several law firms. I also used to run a training company with several employees.

This is what I noticed when I moved from a large organisation to doing all the jobs myself. I was used to going to meetings, often hundreds of miles away, representing my department, Logistics, while other individuals represented theirs, such as Marketing, Purchasing, Sales etc. We would negotiate, sometimes even argue (politely) because we all had slightly different agendas. The factories wanted lots of materials ordered, whereas a ‘just in time’ model meant we were trying to keep stocks as low as possible. Purchasing wanted the new packaging ordered, but Marketing weren’t ready with the graphics. Eventually we would reach a compromise and almost all the time the result was the best thing for the company.

When I started doing all the jobs, the … Read More »