I had the question put to me today: “Do you consider yourself to be an “alpha female?”
It kind of threw me for a second. First of all, I hadn’t heard the term before. I mean, I had heard of “alpha males” — those go get ‘em, take no prisoners, high-testosterone kind of guys — but I honestly just never applied the same term to women before. It just didn’t occur to me to do so.
But my answer, which surprised even me, turned out to be no. No, I am not an “alpha female.” But I may be a beta …
As contrary to my job as it might seem, I am not an extrovert. I don’t like large parties or gatherings, I am freaked out by speaking in public and I get all nervous and jittery when directly confronted about something — even if I’ve done no wrong. I’m am equally uncomfortable with both compliments and criticism and subsequently take neither very well.
Now I can’t be sure, but those sure don’t sound like traits of an “alpha female” to me.
On those occasions when I do get angry, I tend to cry, which is the most embarrassing thing ever to me. Later, after the moment has passed, the most on-point, ha ha take that!, perfectly worded response will immediately spring to mind — but it’s always too late and instead I’m left stammering like a child being scolded.
When I know a confrontation is coming, it looms over me like the sword of Damocles, slowly swinging closer and closer until I am wrestled into a state of such anxiety it completely clouds my thought process and I can’t focus on anything other than my impending doom.
That being said, I don’t shy away from a fight either. I know, I know, it doesn’t make any sense. Why look for trouble when all it does is stress you out? Because I’m a Libra and demand justice? Because I’m a glutton for punishment?
Take your pick. Mainly, it’s because when all is said and done, the one thing I simply cannot tolerate is disrespect.
I had a boss one time when I was bartending in New Orleans who yelled at me (and I mean yelled) for mixing up a drink order. His tone of voice should have been enough to set me off, but this guy took it a step farther, he not only yelled at me — but he did it in front of customers and my co-workers. I quit on the spot, spitting words at him that I couldn’t possibly put in print here.
There’s nothing wrong with being a beta. It’s kind of like middle management. I’m not a leader —that’s OK. If everyone was, the world wouldn’t work. Being a follower is just fine, as long as you’re not blindly following.
Betas are like second in command. They can take direction, but ultimately don’t carry the responsibility of everyone still below them on the totem pole. Most times, they’re left to do their own thing.
Spock from Star Trek is a great example of a beta. He’s valued, important even. But really, when Khan shows up and is trying to destroy the ship, it’s not up to him to save the day — that’s Kirk’s job.
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at [email protected] Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.