Yesterday was not a happy day. I was home with my son who has developed pneumonia after a week of the flu. He was cranky and tired; I was cranky and tired. Neither of us was much fun to be around. Luckily, Stewart Little 3 was on NetFlix and I had a stack of new books about women’s relationships at work. I started with “When Women Work Together” by Carolyn Duff.

According to Duff, there are four areas that bring women the greatest happiness at work — the four C’s, if you will: Connection, Caring, Creating Competence, Cooperation. When women can give and get each of these things at work in a balanced way, life is good! But when things get out of whack, watch out! That propensity to connect and communicate can turn into gossip and rumor mongering if a power balance is shifted. The desire for expressing care can go to a Melrose Place drama of unwarranted “are you okay” and weird gifts. Though we work hard, we can suffer from lack of confidence and sabotage not only ourselves, but our sisters too. The subtle balance of cooperation can be upended if we step out from the team.

This morning I took my daughter to the doctor and found out she has pneumonia too. Day 13 of the Swine Flu siege. After the trip to the doctor’s, Betsy and I were talking about women at work and our lives in general. When we started, it was a grey, rainy kind of day but as we talked the sun came out. Betsy said I laughed 5 times — quite a miracle considering the state I was in. Even on an otherwise unhappy day, partnership brought some sunshine in and the best of the 4 C’s were alive and well.

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