Hardball (was: get on with it)

Nicole M. van Dam nmvandam at mail.ucr.edu
Sat Jan 20 18:21:17 EST 1996

jones at SOVER.NET (M. Doreen Jones) wrote:
>It is indeed a sad state of affairs when half the population feels that in 
>order to succeed they must change their behavior to adapt to that of the 
>other half...I'm just not comfortable with the whole thing. I was recently 
>given a book "Playing Hardball" by Pat Heim which I would recommend to 
>anyone trying to adapt to this behavior.  It has provided some insight.  
>However, after 35 years I feel that because I want to succeed in my career I 
>am being coerced into acting in ways that I find borderline unethical and 
>simply arrogant.
>I guess my final question to all is:  "Can one succeed in a career without 
>playing hardball?"

This is an interesting question and exactly the one the book by Pat Heim 
leaves unanswered. She mentions something about changing the rules of the 
game as soon as you, as a female manager, get into a position which 
enables you to change them, but that is all. From her book and my own 
experiences, I get the feeling that to get higher up in a hierarchy, you 
have to play along with the people in power. Unfortunately, science and 
many other fields are still dominated by men, which are used to play 
along the lines of hardball. And from Heim's book I understood that most 
powerfull women in businesses also played hardball to get (and stay) in 
that postion. So, I think you are more likely to succeed in your carreer 
if you play 'hardball' to some extent. 
However, I do not think you have to do things that you consider to be 
unethical if you do not want to. The value of Pat Heim's book for me was 
that it provided insight in the way the games are played by the 
powerfull boys. It does not mean that you always have to play along, but 
it certainly makes it easier to do so. Things I always considered to be 
unethical, such as stressing my achievements, are obviously not 
considered unethical in the hardball world. This knowledge makes it 
easier for me to do those 'unethical' things anyway when needed.
I think it is  a personal decision if you are willing bend the rules you 
grew up with. I do not mind being a little bit less ethical, actually, it 
is a great relief sometimes.

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