Take a look at the picture below.
On the left is the typical Western Business Man.Â On the right is the typical Western Business Woman. Apart from their sex, can you spot the difference between the pair?
While living in South Korea as a child, I learned a surprising answer to this question from an exemplary lady who neither spoke English nor was she herself a businesswoman.
Here’s a brief account of what came to pass:
One evening, my father invited a business colleague over for dinner.
At the time, my mother was the only woman ‘working’ at my father’s office. She accompanied him to most of his events, played hostess at his dinners, and carried out many secretarial duties.
When my father informed her that he had invited over a colleague to discuss a business deal, she firmly warned my father that something was not right about his colleague; she did not like him. My mother’s advice was that my father should not make any deals with the man.
Promptly, my father over-ruled her and thus found himself at the dinner table as planned.
While the food was being prepared, our maid went in and out through the kitchen door without disturbing the conversation.
They awaited the main course to arrive and in the meantime, the men exchangedÂ nicetiesÂ and small talk. My mother sat quietly at the table and observed the conversation between them.
At last, the maid entered the dining hall with food and laid it out on the table.
She began to serve the meal.
Before I go on, please understand that customs differ between cultures as to who should eat before whom.Â So it was highly unusual when the maid began to fill my father’s plate first.
My parents glanced uncomfortably at one another.
The maid continued by serving my mother next.
Again, that was highly unusual. Once more, my parents, exchanged uncomfortable glances and my father smiled nervously at his guest.
Nothing could have prepared my family for what came next.
The maid turned and faced the guest. Suddenly, she jerked at an imaginary necktie high above her head and spoke sharply at my father’s guest.
“You stupid!” She hissed.
Just as briskly, she turned on her heels, stormed out to the kitchen and did not return.
A Woman’s Intuition
When one’s maid denies service to a guest, it is embarrassing.
When one’s maid is responsible for making her master lose a deal with a potential partner, it is frustrating.
When one’s maid calls the guest of honour “You stupid”, it is surely punishable.
One might say, our maid was in no position to give an opinion while serving guests, especially on her master’s business affairs. But she was willing to riskÂ her income to take care of her own. Her maternal instincts kicked in and she wanted to protect my father.
Consequently, my father did not get angry with her.
After escorting the guest out of the house, my father went to the kitchen andÂ applauded the maid’s grand felony!Â He was moved by her loyalty.Â He came to realise that he liked the man NO MORE than did either his wife or maid.
My father’s women had correctly assessed his guest’s sly sneers and dishonest body language and protected their own.
Once again, let me ask you, what is the difference between the businessman and the businesswoman pictured above?
The necktie. That’s it.
Men may be better at some things, but in affairs of business, to me the necktie says it all:
“If men can run the world, why can’t they stop wearing neckties?Â I mean, how intelligent is it to start the day by tying a noose around your neck?”