Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.
I suspect I’ve talked about this before, but this is a topic that keeps raising my ire because it never goes away.
We all know that women are inherently mean to one another. Any female growing up can cite a myriad of examples of female bullying. Unfortunately, women are just as cutthroat in the work environment as well. They are, in my experience, the first ones to stab others in the back if it means gaining favor with upper management and tend to play by a completely different set of rules from any man. They hold other women to different standards and definitely play favorites among their subordinates. It is frustrating, upsetting, and exhausting to attempt to work in such environments.
Why are women so evil towards one another? What is it about a female relationship that will cause even the youngest girls to start playing the “I’m mad at you and therefore I am giving you the silent treatment” game? Why are we so willing to throw one another under the proverbial bus if it means looking better for others? And most importantly, why do other women insist on forcing female employees to make a choice between work and family? This is the ultimate form of cruelty.
I’ve had many managers over the years – some were bad, some were horrible, and some were actually decent. Interestingly enough, my female managers were by and large the most inflexible and frustrating. They were the most intractable and played obvious favorites. Their moodiness tended to be obvious and unexpected, and it left you feeling as if you were on a darkened roller coaster, not knowing what to expect next. Why is that? Shouldn’t we, as females, band together to help change work environments to be more supportive of working females, regardless of motherhood status? Shouldn’t we treat other females the way we want to be treated? Do we really need to perpetuate the Mean Girl stereotype in the workplace?
Some of the blame, I feel, falls with HR, which ironically is typically made up of female employees. In my experience, HR tends to be one of the most inflexible departments within any organization and the one least likely to provide any help or support for uniquely female work dilemmas. I understand the need for taking a firm stance on established policies, but if the policy is antiquated, shouldn’t they, in their capacity as policy makers, be working towards instilling a culture of tolerance and flexibility? Shouldn’t they be the first line of defense for working mothers and females in the workplace? Yet, why is it they are not?
No matter in what industry or what state I work, no matter how many years of experience I have, I see the same behaviors and inflexible attitudes towards female employees occurring over and over again. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it must take an entire country to change opinions about women and their work relationships because after more than two decades in the working world, I don’t see very many changes at all. I see people, especially women, acknowledge the issues but then go back to perpetuating the same behaviors. I see female managers still unwilling to let employees work from home if a child is sick or out of school for a day. I see other females shoot down other females’ ideas without pause in an effort to ingratiate themselves with the men in the group. I see women playing the “she said this about you” game in an effort to generate ill-will towards others. I see an entire generation of women who will have to continue to face the same barriers, the same inequalities, and the same inflexibilities that we continue to face if something is not done about it.
Thankfully, there is hope. As my generation steps into the upper management roles, we are finally in a position to make that difference, to generate policy, and to create business cultures that are more supportive and open-minded for all employees, but especially other females. We have to become the first line of defense against that age-old work versus family dilemma and change those paradigms that there has to be a choice. We have to adopt the technologies that increase a company’s flexibility and actively encourage their usage without creating guilt or adding a black mark to their career. We need to stand strong against the old regime and the “that’s the way it’s always been” paradigm. Otherwise, our girls will face the same challenges, the same gut-wrenching decisions as we have had to make over the years.
Am I the only one who has experienced this? If you are male, do you see this same behaviors in your female coworkers/employees? Any thoughts on how we can collectively improve the situation?
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