A Career In Business Isn't For Every GenderCommentary • careers • Opinion • gender • ISSUE 42•39 • Sep 27, 2006 By Roger Calloway I've been in this field a long time. I've seen what it can do to someone who's not thick-skinned enough to bear the slings and arrows, and believe me, it's not pretty. The business world can be a cold and unforgiving place, and to make it here, you've got to be one tough cookie. It may sound harsh, but the truth is, not every gender's cut out for this line of work.Day in and day out I watch young people with nothing more than a graduate degree and a few years of experience try to break into upper management, and almost exactly half of them find out they don't have the correct reproductive organs to hack it. They might bitch and whine and initiate litigation, but folks, them's the breaks. Here's the long and short of it: Some people have the proper chromosomal pairing to seal the deals, and some people just plain don't. I'm talking about survival of the fittest here, and the truth is, nobody gets a free lunch, especially when it comes to equal opportunity in hiring practices. Sure it'd be great if we were all blessed with the genitalia it takes to succeed in business, but the real world doesn't work like that. We can't fill America's boardrooms with people and genders unfit to be there just because we don't want to hurt their feelings. What kind of society would we be living in if we gave everybody a chance, regardless of whether or not they had the right hormonal levels to get the job done?Now don't kill the messenger. I don't make the rules, I just enforce them with my behavior. I remember a few years back I was looking for a new regional manager for our Denver offices, and though I had only briefly glanced at the first applicant's résumé, I could already tell that biology was going to be an issue. But, because I'm such a nice guy, I felt compelled to give this eager young pup a low-paying entry-level position, even though there were scores of other applicants more anatomically suited. But as the years passed and high-paying promotions came and went, the poor thing finally realized that you simply can't hide from the nuts and bolts of reality. Face it: You are who our societal gender constructs tell you you are.Right now, a large number of you probably feel like giving up. You most likely want to throw in the towel and say, "With my particular assignment of pronouns and abbreviated titles to designate marital status, I'll never amount to anything!"But as long as you're not referring to a position that provides you with any real authority, chance for advancement, or the ability to compete with those possessing the much-needed XY skill set, that's simply not true. Many people who don't prosper in a business setting go on to lead productive and happy lives as caretakers, elementary-school teachers, or unpaid volunteers at nonprofit organizations. Some even stay at home to raise their children—it's the new millennium, you know!My advice for those of you trying to make it out there is this: You have to face facts and make the best of the shoulder width God gave you. If you work hard and stay focused, you can be successful anywhere.Provided, of course, it's not in the business, financial, legal, or medical communities.