Tragen Sie Unterwäsche?

„Tragen Sie Unterwäsche?“

Hannah – Dezember 2018

Am letzten Freitag, 30.11.2018, war ich beim ersten Selbstständigentag, den Freeliance organisiert hat. Olla sagte mir, dass ich doch unbedingt ein Thema für ein Barcamp vorschlagen sollte für all die anwesenden Frauen. Ich nannte es „Female Empowerment ohne Klischees – die besonderen Herausforderungen für Frauen und mögliche Lösungen.“ Worauf sind wir in unserem Berufsleben – ob in Selbstständigkeit oder als Angestellte – schon gestoßen, wie sind wir damit umgegangen, wie würden wir heute damit umgehen und welche Ratschläge haben die anderen Frauen für uns. Dazu tauschten wir uns in 45 Minuten aus.

„Tragen Sie Unterwäsche?“ ist eins meiner Lieblingsbeispiele. Auch wegen der Reaktion der Frau, die es erlebt hat. Sie saß dabei als einzige Frau in einer Besprechung mit vielen weißen Männern in Anzügen (so viel zu der Freiheit von Klischees). Was glaubt ihr, hättet ihr gemacht? „Ich wäre schockiert gewesen… Ich hätte vermutlich meine Bluse aufgemacht oder das Shirt hochgezogen und gesagt ‚Gleich hier?‘“, sagten die Frauen am Freitag. Wie schlagfertig sind wir wohl in einer Situation, in der man nicht mit so einem heftigen Spruch rechnet?

Du darfst direkt sein. Sag es ruhig! Was mir im vor allem beruflichen Umfeld oft passiert, ist, dass ich als arrogant oder zickig empfunden werde, weil ich sehr direkt und sachlich bin. Von Frauen wird ein Verhalten erwartet, das wir mal als weiblich sozialisiert bezeichnen und vor allem auf Harmonie und Gemeinschaft ausgerichtet ist. Weiche Umschreibungen, keine Verhandlungsstärke und -härte. Ich bin noch dabei, das richtige Maß zu finden, direkt aber trotzdem freundlich zu sein, ohne weich zu wirken. Und immer höflich bleiben – egal wie man zurück feuert. Auch wenn der andere es nicht ist. „Do it anyway“, bleib deinen Werten treu.

Als gute Strategie ist hier zum Beispiel vorher anzukündigen, dass man nun sehr sachlich und direkt sprechen wird. Dann weiß mein Gegenüber schon, was sie*ihn erwartet und kann es einsortieren. In den meisten Fällen. „Ich werde meine Meinung ganz direkt zum Ausdruck bringen. Ich werde so konkret wie möglich sein.“ Gut ist es auch, wenn man erklärt, weshalb man so antwortet und hierbei auf die Werte abzielt: „Ich sehe das als eine Frage der Ehrlichkeit und Integrität, deshalb ist es wichtig für mich, klar zu sein, wo ich stehe.“

Übrigens finde ich Tara Mohr’s Buch „Playing Big“ ganz gut, um mal zu schauen, wie wir eigentlich kommunizieren und was einfache Anpassungen bewirken und sie führt durch das Buch und gibt uns praktische Mittel an die Hand.

Freitag hörte ich dann: „Aber ich bin doch immer sachlich und direkt und habe keine Lust, um den heißen Brei zu reden.“ Auch sie ist eher diejenige in den Gesprächen, die das Geschäft zum Abschluss bringt und sich als den „bad cop“ von beiden bezeichnen würde.

 

Rede weiter! Kennt ihr das, wenn ihr sprecht und ihr unterbrochen werdet, obwohl ihr noch nicht fertig seid? Es gibt ja bestimmte Kommunikationsweisen und es gibt immer mal den Atemzug, der andeutet, dass man hier unterbrechen und antworten darf. Wenn man weiterreden würde, würde vermutlich keine weitere Aussage kommen. Aber dann gibt es eben die Situationen, in denen man eben noch nicht seinen Standpunkt genannt hat. Redet weiter…werdet nur ein bisschen lauter. Aber redet einfach weiter. Auch die anderen Anwesenden merken, dass der Unterbrechende einen unpassenden Zeitpunkt gewählt hat. Dann noch ein kleines Lächeln nachsetzen, wenn man fertig ist. Das nächste Mal wird man sicher nicht wieder unterbrochen.

Übrigens: Wenn ihr nur ein klein bisschen lauter sprecht, macht ihr weniger „Ääähm“!

 

Bring nicht den Kaffee: Wir Frauen werden ja vermehrt dazu erzogen, gastfreundlich und zuvorkommend zu sein. Außerdem sehen wir ja auch oft, was anderen fehlt. (Hat hier irgendwer was über Klischees gesagt?!) Aber bring nicht den Kaffee mit! Natürlich ist es freundlich und nett. Man will ja auch nicht eine Schreckschraube werden. Ich bin hier um gehört zu werden, weil das, was ich sage, verdammt gut und richtig ist. Und nicht um Kaffee zu bringen.

Teamdynamik, Männer und die Wichtigkeit der Netzwerke: Wir wissen, dass die Dynamik im Team uns stark macht. Entweder dadurch, dass man unterschiedliche Rollen annimmt, dass eine mehr mit dem Gegenüber „klickt“ als andere. Und nicht zuletzt, weil man sich gegenseitig bestärkt, nachts noch telefoniert und sich beruhigt. Vorgehen für das Gespräch bespricht, die man dann vielleicht trotzdem nicht einhält.

Wenn euch etwas oder ein Team hierfür fehlt, dann holt es euch: Wenn ihr beruflich beispielsweise alleine unterwegs seid, ist ein Netzwerk, in dem ihr euch sicher fühlt, ebenso gut. Stellt die Gespräche nach, bereitet sie vor, besprecht Strategien. Holt euch Feedback – vorher und nachher. Wir sind beispielsweise nur Frauen im Gründerteam und legen viel Wert darauf, uns immer mit männlichen Mentoren und Coaches zu umgeben.

Habt ihr mal probiert, die eher typischen Rollen unter euch im Team zu tauschen? Wir sind nach kurzer Zeit in die Rollen zurück gerutscht, in denen wir uns wohler fühlen und die eben authentischer zu unserer jeweiligen Persönlichkeit gehören. Authentisches Auftreten ist nicht zu unterschätzen. Wenn unser Äußeres nicht mit unserem Innern übereinstimmt, merkt die Person, die uns gegenüber sitzt, ebenso und fühlt sich unwohl, da etwas nicht stimmig ist, ohne immer zu wissen, was genau.

Kennt ihr das Beispiel der Frauen, die nicht weiterkamen in Verhandlungen, beim Funding etc.? Sie haben kurzer Hand einen männlichen Mitgründer erfunden, der dann aber zufällig bei den Terminen keine Zeit hatte. Plötzlich bekamen sie, was sie verlangten.

Beim letzten Mal haben wir auch etwas probiert: Wir haben einen Mann an den Tisch gebracht. Nur mal hingesetzt, um zu schauen, wie sich die Dynamik verändert. Ich glaube, der Mann saß zu weit weg. Aber deutlich war, dass sich unser Gegenüber nur mit Frauen wohler gefühlt hat. Aber an der jeweiligen Verhandlungsposition hat es nichts geändert. Wir freuen uns also auf mehr Schritte mit diesem Partner.

 

„Tragen Sie Unterwäsche?“ Die Frau hat in die Runde geschaut, die anwesenden Männer angeschaut und gefragt „Halten Sie das für ein angemessenes Verhalten?“

 

Empowered (wo)men empower women: Wir hoffen, wir müssen über diese Dinge irgendwann nicht mehr schreiben. Aber bis dahin: Lasst uns zusammen stark sein und jeden Tag etwas bewegen. Was sind eure Ideen dazu? Was ist euch schon passiert und wie habt ihr es gelöst? Oder wozu hättet ihr gerne einen Ratschlag? Schreibt uns an hi@CoWomen.com


Detoxing - the natural way

Digital detox the natural way?

Hannah – September 2018

I love technology that supports everyday work more effectively. I sometimes get smiled at for my Blackberry when someone doesn’t know that Blackberry runs with the safest Android. I have a smartwatch, now the second one. I love my laptop and when I buy bags, I always check first to see if it fits. I wouldn’t buy any bag in which it doesn’t fit.

When I saw the first smartwatch at a friend’s house, I was surprised and found that it doesn’t make life any easier, but that you’re just less likely to get away and everything spins even faster. You don’t have a break anymore. My mobile phone is always silent, it doesn’t even vibrate, even before the Smartwatch it was like that. But I had to look at it so often and constantly left it somewhere. With the watch I am more relaxed, I switch everything off quickly, and I can rely on the fact that I receive the important stuff …and it makes my mobile phone ring when I can’t find it again, by the way.

I’m not worried that I’ll get enough out of the life around me. I look for time out and have not (yet?) found access to yoga or meditation or other rather slow ways of mindfulness. I go jogging alone, and to go climbing, my husband and I would need a babysitter and suddenly the climbing lesson costs twice as much.

So instead I go with my husband and the children to Brandenburg just outside of Berlin. There is only water from the well, there is electricity and many spiders. Our boys experience the nature here; we set up a sandbox there.

When we arrive, the city is far behind us. Also because a lot is improvised, because we always shop like on holiday and think about what we barbecue. We grill everything possible. Also popcorn. 😉

When we then work in the garden, we forget everything around us.
And I’m already looking forward to raking the leaves in autumn. In winter we turn on the fireplace and work in the garden so that we don’t freeze until the house is warm. Hot cocoa tastes so good in front of the fireplace.

I’m already looking forward to making campfires with friends and drinking Feuerzangenbowle, just like every year shortly before Advent.

And yes of course… CoWomen is always on my mind. But when I’m sitting inside working on CoWomen while my husband and the boys are outside building a snowman, it’s the best feeling!


Having a baby... like an appointment at the dentist?

Having a baby… like an appointment at the dentist?

Hannah – June 2018

Now we know it: The date on which our second son will be born. „Like an appointment at the dentist,“ said my project manager from my employee life… my what? Employement? Yes, I have already spoken directly about a possible return to the old job after maternity leave. Loyalty? Quite… but much less than before. This time it’s the money. Shouldn’t I get a job where I can at least make some more money? This is pretty hard out of parental part-time and if you only want to start with four to eight hours per week.

Because the fulfilling task that we are all looking for: I have it. I’m in just the right position, with the right team. At the right time? Kind of do. And now this appointment: 12.06.2018. Should I already enter it as his date of birth? Best directly with his name. Although that’s exactly where I’m still a little unsure. Well, I still have six days to decide on this.

I am not surprised that there are counselling centres that support women after C-sections. Everyone always says „when he is born“. Born? He’s being cut out of me. But that’s the way it is, I can’t change it. So I make the best out of it. I make more appointments. Until Monday afternoon. That’s the practical thing about planning it that way. And I like the date of birth too. „Halfway to Christmas,“ a friend said. I love Christmas!

So what else is there to do? Organize and take part in my best friend’s bachelorette party last Saturday: Check. Have visitors all weekend: Check. On Monday I quickly went to the clinic, discuss the operation in advance and above all the pain medication afterwards. After all, we live in Germany in the 21st century, the anesthetist tells me. No need to be in pain. Doctor’s appointment: Check. Wednesday and Thursday: NOAH conference and drinks: Check. Monday next week: Meet partners for our growth plans: Check. Have lunch with one of our mentors: Check. Tuesday next week: Have a baby.

Sara, Kat, Franziska, Kim, Julia, Alex, Nais, Alexa…there are already so many women who support us so closely that I can enjoy this little miracle that I will give birth to next week in peace.

We are looking forward to it and can’t wait to enjoy this time with our little family. So it’s nothing like an appointment at the dentist…it’s our little miracle, it’s the birth of another great human being who we can hopefully raise to become a respectful and tolerant man living in a world of peace.

So you won’t find me in the pop-up or at events for the time being, but I’m sure I’ll open the laptop again very soon.

And this blanket I knit for our second son? Do you remember? It’s my turn! A little every night until my eyes close.


It’s all about the people

It’s all about the people

Hannah – May 2018

Even the best preparation does not protect against unexpected events.
In the end, it’s the people around you that help. Whether on site, at home, on the phone, on all other channels – what carried us through the time before the opening, were the people by our side.

If the furniture does not arrive and it is due to technical problems of the suppliers, calls and frustration do not help. Then it’s time to tackle it again. Luckily, I’m quite good at it. Even in the eighth month of pregnancy. At least I can handle most things and yes, here and there I move tables and chairs and carry around boxes and tools.

But our great team always made sure that I had enough rest. Sleep was out of the question anyway. At 5 o’clock in the morning in half sleep it suddenly starts. The top of thoughts about what you still have to do, want to do and could do.

Drilling, shopping, ordering food, fetching the ordered food, inflating balloons, receiving packages, assembling furniture. Bribe the baker in the house to exceptionally receive a parcel, stick the note to the mailbox and then find out that the parcel was delivered to the neighbour, who of course was not at home when our great babysitter wanted to pick it up. By a lucky coincidence we had his mobile number and he raced home to hand over the package with the flyers. I had already put out clothes for Henry, who arrived to the space and withing seconds paints himself with chalk and covered himself with ice. He felt incredibly comfortable among all the great women, shaking hands and waving.

When 320 people registered, we were even a little glad that not all the furniture had already arrived. But we need more drinks! A warm day. Go, go, go! Karolina, the famous Berlin Eisqueen, has spontaneously provided us with even more ice and besides the great frozen, alcoholic cocktails on a stick also brought ice for all those who (must) do without alcohol.

What always surprises me is that in the end we always call Mama and our best friend if something happens. And fortunately my best friend’s fiancé had time on the afternoon of the opening to actively support us. Family, first of all my great men (also the little man inside of me), friends and a group of volunteers, led by Alexa Mollicchi Casanova, made the evening a special experience.

Let’s keep thriving together!


Sometimes you just have to jump

Sometimes you just have to jump

Hannah – April 2018

It is really happening..! We will soon and finally open the first space. Without this great team, it could not have been possible!

It’s been a bit more than a year now since we had the idea of opening a coworking space with flexible, private childcare.

What’s happened since? Some changes happened very quickly. Within hours, the coworking space with childcare turned into the idea of a space exclusively for women. Other changes, as significant as the business idea, took a bit longer: the team. The “we” changed from two women to three and then to one again. And back to three. I honestly underestimated the importance of the team when founding your own business. It’s easier to get around certain issues, topics, and compromises if you are employed, work in a big team, or have structures already implemented. The core team of the founding process is a different thing.

The first “we” agreed on the idea, the business model, we even wrote down our vision and values of work, everyday life, etc. It seemed as if we agreed on the important things. Then my former partner brought another friend into the team. The fact that it was actually a friend of hers created this big imbalance. I really didn’t expect that. But it just didn’t really fit. At what levels? Personal? I don’t claim to be friends with all the people I work with. But I’d love to go out for a drink with them. Respect, understanding – you can have all that. But sometimes it just doesn’t fit. And in the end, the business idea was too different in decisive details. Even though the vision and the big goal were the same, the path and the approach were so different that when the former co-founder had the chance to realize herself in other projects, she took it. The third of the group was already at the end of her parental leave. We knew that if we couldn’t pay her a salary in a timely manner, she’d get a job. And she found one.

And so, from one day to the next, I was the whole team. That is one thing. But the fact that I would leave for enpact’s startup camp the next day was added strain. I was thinking, „CoWomen is at the end – how am I supposed to stand there and convey an idea about a strong community if my own team doesn’t even manage to stick together.“ The camp was starting, and in three weeks the final round of the ebay Startup Cup would take place, and we had reached the top 7. „How am I supposed to do that?!“ I thought again. There were still half-hearted promises from the former team to stand on stage and support at least at the Cup.

I cried that night. And with tears in my eyes, I went to the station the next day to meet the other enpact fellows. A little pile of misery. And one thing I can say: This was the beginning of one of the best weeks of last year! But I’ll write about it in detail another time.

For the week after the startup camp I organized a small meet-up of CoWomen at my home. There were four of us. Kat, a young woman with great ideas and a lot of expertise. And Nadine, my best friend, who was only there to support me. Then Sara, who accompanied us virtually on the screen and could not enjoy any of the healthy snacks that my husband – CoWomen’s greatest supporter – had prepared. By the way, he applies for membership almost weekly. He thinks we’re so great, he wants to be a part of it. He is now teaching our son Henry to say, „CoWomen! CoWomen!” and clap his hands.

And so it happened that Sara and Kat jumped in on the deep end and pushed CoWomen forward with incredible courage. In the beginning it was almost only about the competition and the appearance there. We could hardly breathe deeply and achieved so much more in those two weeks to the Cup than in all the months before!

Without Sara and Kat, CoWomen would not exist anymore. Without them we would not be opening our first club in three weeks. We can count an unbelievable number of wonderful people among our supporters, have great mentors around us who have brought us all this far, no question. But nobody was as essential as this team that we have now grown into together. With ups and downs, no question. My impatience, which not only made it hard for me but also the team at times. It will then still take until mid-February before we sign the shareholder agreement. Now we are a company! Well, soon. We were in such a hurry, because we did everything in between, in lunch breaks, after work, before the next events, that we couldn’t even celebrate it properly.

And then? Only then did the miracle happen! The day after the shareholder agreement was signed, we sat with one of our great supporters in the evening and only then did we realize that we wanted to do something for young women, for women on the rise. Not for all women or women who are already well established in their careers. We would like to support.

We knew early on that we wanted to take off with CoWomen and believed in the idea of offering something special for women that didn’t really exist yet: the Club, the physical space. This small change in our idea has many great consequences. New doors are opening and partnerships are already developing.

I am grateful that we have found each other as a team and will soon open the first CoWomen Pop-Up. And only recently we found Alicia and Alexa, who support us actively! So glad to have them on board.

I am so proud that we just kept on walking, even if the light was sometimes very far away.

Sometimes you just have to jump…

Oh, and that is actually the blanket I am knitting right now.


Do it anyway

The sideline pregnancy & how I did’t start sewing when I became a mother

Hannah – April 2018

“How far along are you?” “What? With what? Where? Oh, right. I am not sure, week 27 or 28.” This is usually my answer to questions like this. To be honest, I don’t really know. I’d have to check my calendar, or better my app.

My due date is sometime in the middle of June – I am very sure about that at least. It was the first thing my doctor said. This second pregnancy is just a sideline. And she was right. Sometimes I am really sorry for that little boy growing right underneath my heart, and I wonder if he already recognizes that he doesn’t get as much attention as his big brother, Henry, did. I knew every week, every day how far along I was. I checked all the time on what was going on with him, when his liver grew or he was able to hear sounds.

In retrospect however, I wish I would have been less afraid during my first pregnancy. And that’s the good thing about this „sideline pregnancy“: I don’t worry all the time, but I’m still really looking forward to the little miracle that will soon make our summer exciting.

For me, it’s the perfect time to start a business, and the great thing is that I don’t meet anyone who sees it differently. At least nobody tells me. So why is it the perfect timing? Surely some wouldn’t dare. Others ask me how I manage all of it. They will quickly notice how I feel about it and how relaxed I am. Is our Henry so relaxed because our life requires it? Or is it his temper all along? Probably a mixture. I guess that’s why I am having another son and not a girl. Honestly, I was a little sad. I wished to have a girl to have someone in the family who also rides a motorcycle, like I do. Someone told me, boys can do that aswell. We will see. So now he might, like his big brother, rather look at the toolbox with my husband, and I can work during this time.

And the people who know me know what I can and want to do and don’t question whether I will achieve what we have planned with CoWomen. We are a great team, and we have met awesome women who will support us.

In my first pregnancy, I already announced my idea of a life with work and family and encountered surprisingly much headwind. I thought, we are living in the 21st century, aren’t we?! When I said that I wanted to get back into work very soon, I often heard, „Just wait until the baby arrives,“ or, „You will see.“ What was I supposed to see? I didn’t become a supermom who started sewing. Henry got a glass from the supermarket every now and then, if there was no other way. Or just a banana instead of something from the balanced diet you should follow. You just shouldn’t make it so hard on yourself.

Our lives didn’t turn 180 degrees. We have become a larger family, and our son is a part of it. Not we of his life. Of course I stood in the kitchen all night, cooked the fresh vegetables and pureed them. Ok, I did it once or twice. And yet I kept my appointments, which sometimes required breastfeeding Henry while standing up in the S-Bahn somewhere in Berlin. That’s life!

I started working when Henry was three months old. I was done talking about cloth diapers all day already. My early start however has cost us a lot of money as well as organizing effort. Nevertheless, it is an investment in my career, our partnership and our happy life.

I am proud that I didn’t change my whole being for motherhood. It is a part of me, just as I am a woman, wife, partner, friend, employee, and founder. Making these decisions, I was very lucky having found a great example of being a modern family. At the right moment, I was able to entrust myself to a colleague who had just returned from parental leave. From then on Anna and her family, whom I did not know until then, were my role models for a modern family. She and her husband go to work, travel an incredible amount, and remain husband and wife, friend, and girlfriend. Thanks to them, for example, we had the courage to spend our parental leave in Malaysia for three and a half weeks – a great country to travel with kids.

Those friends of mine, who had the strongest opinion during my last pregnancy on how my idea of living as a family would not work, they are amazed today when they see us. When we got on the train with Henry, when he was three weeks old, and went to the wedding of my husband’s cousin, we could convince them. When Henry was two months old, we left for Romania to attend another wedding. And we will not stop there and are doing it again: My best friend is getting married in Spain when Henry’s little brother will be four weeks old. Everything works out, if you are willing to make the compromises and the effort. I’m looking forward to it!

I admit I don’t sew, but I knit a blanket for Henry. And of course I’m knitting one for his little brother.

Be brave! Do it anyway.