Service of Too Ambitious: Mixed Signals

August 13th, 2020

Categories: Agressive Behavior, Ambition, Mixed Messages, Politicians, Politics

To apply for the advertising director position I took a psychological test required by the magazine I worked for as an editor. I didn’t get the job. I was “too aggressive” according to the analysis. That was eons ago.

The day after the Democrat VP pick, the 28th White House Press Secretary and former White House Communications Director for DJT, Sean Spicer, told 710 WOR Radio morning show co-hosts that one of the downsides of Kamala Harris is that she’s “too ambitious.” That’s one reason he thought Susan Rice would have been a better pick.

At the same time going Dutch on a first meeting is not appropriate according to many otherwise progressive, independent women who have always supported themselves and who applaud the professional successes of women. Even though the initial face-to-face meeting made possible by online dating websites is a crapshoot for both, they expect men to pick up the tab for the wine, coffee or meal or they say there won’t be a second date.

Mixed signals.

Are customs and conventions for business different than social ones? We’ve come a long way from the Hepburn-Tracy movies of the 1940s like “Woman of the Year”–or have we? Should men always pick up the tab?

Name a politician who isn’t ambitious.  Why are ambition and aggression such bad traits for women? Do those who object to ambitious, driven women prefer a wallflower to run the company they work for or the ones they invest in?

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5 Responses to “Service of Too Ambitious: Mixed Signals”

  1. Helen Rabinovitz Said:

    I was the first female executive for two Boston companies when I was in my mid twenties. Advertising manager for one and art director for the other. Maybe I was lucky but I was treated just like the boys. They even came to me for advice. Let’s face it women are more creative and I think more likely to take risks. Of course occasionally some salesman would ask where my boss was…by asking…”what’s HIS name? I loved seeing the embarrassed look on their faces when I’d say it’s me. Other than that I was treated very well. Might even say treated like a queen. Oh well. It also didn’t hurt the boys did not speak “advertising” which meant I was always right. Strong and ambitious women are finding their place in business to which I say THANK GOODNESS!!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You had a great experience! I won’t bore with mine that reflect the opposite. I ignored them and forged on. My philosophy was “next?” and “move on.”

    Older women in business are not given the opportunities that older men are. I’d posit that it would be unlikely for two women ages 74 and 77 to be running for president. Hillary was 69. Wonder why that is especially as women live longer than men.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    If you’re going to have equality, there’s no such thing as one sex being called out for “having too much ambition.” Like everything else, it’s a matter of how one approaches ones goals, as well as who one is dealing with. While I think the vice-presidential nominee is a huge mistake, I will be the first to speak in her defence on the ambition issue. These relics from the 19th Century and their 1950s counterparts should be retired, and the sooner, the better.

  4. BC Said:

    Politician or not, no harm in being ambitious!

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Women are consistently criticized by some men and women for exhibiting traits they don’t blink at in men. We’ve come a long way baby, as the old cigarette commercial used to say, but not nearly long enough.

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