Ponder this:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Women, working for

Sometimes I think I really don't like women. 
I think I don't like working for women. 
Wait, let me rephrase that: I do not like working for women. 
It isn't them; it's me. My formative years (as the phrase goes) implanted and reinforced in me the idea that women are suddenly, frighteningly, threateningly changeable and therefore untrustworthy. Subordinate to a female, I often feel like Wile E. Coyote off the cliff and standing in midair about to fall into the chasm before he knew he was headed for difficulty. 
I have worked for many . . . many . . . women and the only exception to this rule [of mine, be clear about that] was a forty-something restaurant manager. She acted consistently; she made sense to me. She didn't have tantrums. She didn't solicit or tell secrets. She was even-tempered, spoke in well-modulated tones not hung with icicles, not lacy with blue flame. She was friendly without wanting to be...
 A Special Friend in You - US Soldiers - Customized postcard
I really liked working for her. To be comfortable at work, all I had to do was . . . my job.
I do not mean to say that women are not good managers of time, of tasks, of money, of other people. 
As I said, it isn't them; it's me and my reactions. Since I am such a wackamo, dragging along all this female-bosses-are-scary baggage, no doubt I misinterpret or overinterpret what female superiors say and do to me. 
Maybe a sudden scream across the room, "STOP SIGHING!" should not make me afraid to breathe, lest the noise of air traveling along my nasal passages disturb others' concentration.  Perhaps repeated inquiries as to my age and how many years I have in the retirement system would less often make me say "Hm," if issued from a male fifteen years my junior.
I swear that if I ever change jobs, I will do my very best to avoid working for another woman.
I said that twelve years ago, and I haven't managed it yet.

22 comments:

Blipfillypicklepoo said...

Thanks for the belly laugh. I am suffering from insomnia and your post offered a distraction and levity to a sleepless night. It made me remember some of my bosses. Enjoy the weekend and keep writing.

Tracy said...

Oh my goodness June, I feel the same way but unfortunately in the education field, most bosses ARE women...now I'm going to generalize here but it's been pretty much the same for each female I've been under: they micromanage, are petty, have favorites, aren't consistent depending upon their moods/PMS, it's crazy...I do the best I can to do my job and do it well and just stay out of the way!

rachel said...

Oh blimey - as a former female manager, I could speak eloquently for the other side! But I won't, except to say that being a manager, of staff of either gender, is HARD, and the only person who will remember that you are also an ordinary human being too is yourself.

My mother disliked women generally, and it was interesting to observe that what she really disliked most were those traits that were her own. It made growing up as a daughter very tricky....

June said...

BFPP (I just can't write out all that), I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Tracy, my sister taught for 25 years and the stories she could (and did) tell about her principals!!!

Rachel, take comfort. I too have been a manager and you are absolutely right, y'try to keep everybody happy and get the job done and it's impossible.
Common wisdom, I think, is that the things that bother all of us most are the things we most dislike about ourselves, so your mother wasn't alone in that.

Mac n' Janet said...

It's not just you, in all the years of working I had only one female boss who was a rational being, the others were frequently psycho, and the rational one was disliked by half the staff because she was rational. I kind of agree with Rachel, traits I find annoying in other women are often my own traits.

Heidi-"Heidi in Real Life" said...

I had a witchy woman boss who made me get a baby-sitter for my kids when they had the chicken pox! Power hungry harpy! I feel the same way about hormonally charged women bosses. Thanks for the laugh too!

Retired English Teacher said...

I hear ya! Well said. I can totally relate.

liZZie said...

I just don't like working. I was never management material, and I was an absolute sod for anyone to try to manage. I like women. I like men. Just as long as they remain in their own gender re; people management ~ I'd rather have a woman boss as long as she is just that and not a manager in the male defined way. But mostly I like being an unmanageable sod.

Jo said...

I work for government, and most middle managers are women. I work for two women who are b*tches. They are two-faced gossips, who are not as intelligent as I am. Unfortunately, the bad reputation that most women get as bosses is earned.

Unfortunately, both of these women are about to go into menopause. That's when I give my notice. *heh*

Autumn Mist said...

I have been for two interviews in my life where I would have been working for a woman. The first one came across as being very aggressive. I turned it down. When I told the agency they said, "Yes we are struggling with her. If she didn't come across as so aggressive, we'd probably be able to fill the position." The second one said, "My 'gels' do this," and "My gels do that." I (figuratively) ran a mile! Now I work for myself. What does that tell you?!

Friko said...

I am not sure about women bosses being worse than men bosses but what I am absolutely sure about is that in winter you are not a happy Bunny.

Join the bleedin' club.

#1Nana said...

Gender has NOTHING to do with it! A**holes come in both genders. I have had both good and horrible experiences with both men and women. Bottom line for me is that I want to work with and for a good person. Someone who has ethics and who speaks the truth, someone who is secure and treats others with respect, someone who is at least as smart as me...(and that's not a very high bar!) It is sexist to tag women bosses as bitches when male managers use the same strategies and are identified as tough, take no guff supervisors. These are human characteristics, not female traits and both males and females can be lacking in the skills necessary to be a good boss. Okay, stepping off my soapbox now...

Joe Todd said...

Stopped by to say Hi.. and Winter Sucks.. Now I feel better LOL

June said...

I wonder if it's because we expect a woman, boss or not, to be nice. Listen, I've had therapy for years and I'm still not clear on this issue, which is why it is MY issue.

Nana, you're right. A-holes can be either sex. The difference, I have found, is that I can tell a man that he is one, and he'll say "Yeah I know," or "So are you." I can't say that to a woman.

VM Sehy Photography said...

The best boss I ever had was a woman. You described her when you wrote about the restaurant manager. The worst one was a woman. Screaming across the room about sighing, yeah. Mine would yell don't hang your coat on the back of the chair. She would freak out if anyone did that. I assumed she was raised by a very abusive mother.

Fortunately, I've had the pleasure of working in our school system for the last couple of years where I fit in very well. As you can imagine most of the teachers and my co-workers are female, but it works out pretty good. I think enough like them, that I don't end up with any serious issues. And if there's a disagreement, I just let it slide off my back. Everyone there is very classy and very respectful. I should enjoy that while it lasts.

Susan said...

I think Nana hit the nail on the head to be sure. I worked much better with men, because (and please don't think I'm bashing here) I only expected so much from them. With women, I probably expected too much from them and always got exasperated with the ones that were not as "with it" as I wanted them to be. Ahhh, I love early retirement.

Joey said...

I agree with you... I get the creeps just thinking about it!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I think women come in all shades of amiability , at work and out of it . The only trouble is you can't avoid the battleaxes , if you have to work for them !
I think part of it is that we , as a whole , can't leave our home problems at home till clocking off time . Men seem to be able to compartmentalise better .

Carolynn said...

I work for two women who are partners. One is very reasonable and rational and is, unfortunately, retiring so she's there less & less. The other is younger than me, with two children and a propensity for micro-managing. I've had my issues with both, but after nearly 10 years of working there, I've figured out how to 'work' them. And, in the end, I remind myself that it's my choice to be there, so....

June said...

Very true, Carolynn.
Remaining employed is a strong incentive for my position as well.

June said...

Friko, you're right.
I'll get happy before I post again.

Barb said...

I see you've hit a nerve here, June. You sure can stir the pot. SIGH!!!!!!!