Monday, October 17, 2005

"SHE DEVILS"

In light of much of what that this blog has discussed of late, a fascinating read in the Water Cooler section of today's New York Post. See "She-devils: Luring the office back stabbler from her lair", Karen Toledano's book review of "I Can't Believe She Did That: Why Women Betray Other Women at Work" by Nan Mooney. An interesting quote about the subversive female nature:

"Caught between ambition and social views of femininity, a working woman may subvert her competitive nature for more passive forms of aggression....In this way says Mooney, she can excel professionally and still maintain her reputation as a kind and generous person--a phenomenon the author calls "looking clean dealing dirty."

This insight into the female psyche may explain some of the dirty dealings encountered of late by some that I know quite well. I have witnessed and heard a number of stories of careers ruined by reliance or confidence in some false and misguided notion of the existence of "sisterhood" in the workplace. My empirical evidence and this book seem to suggest that while women are typically thought of as being more compassionate or fair in their approach, they are also actually quite more deceptive than men.

Men seemingly deal with conflict and competition in the workplace in a rather head on manner. We are usually well aware of barriers to promotion, those whom are hurdles and what the rules of engagement are. It is not that men are beyond manipulation and/or deceit but the term "backstabbers" is perhaps less applicable to men in the workplace. It is women who are seemingly more often caught by surprise and left feeling victimized. Men are more likely to see themselves on the end of a losing battle. See: In the Company of Men. Certainly NOT a feel good movie but one that provides a glimpse into the depravity of men. Any comments from the peanut gallery? The book looks like a good read.

9 comments:

Meme said...

ah, the never-ending complexities of women....

Chris said...

Thanks for posting. I took a quick look at your site and "luv" it.....looks like a new must read, for me anyway.

Neil said...

I hate to use reality TV as my "work example," but one of the things that always struck me about shows like "The Apprentice" is how it shows the clear gender differences of young "executives" working their way up the ladder. Maybe because of the "old boy's network," men learn that they need each other to network and advance. Women know there are fewer of them at the top, so their "sisterhood" never lasts past episode one. In my own work life, I hear a lot of speeches about women wanting to mentor other women, but then they just feel threatened when it becomes a reality.

Claudette said...

Neil -- you are right on in a lot of ways. Though women work better in a "group" environment, where the leader is at the center of a wheel, versus a hierarchichal one, where a leader is at the top and everyone is beneath him. Most business are organized in a hierarchy, so women are forced to work within those constraints. It's not natural for us, so we don't bond in a natural way.

Women doctors in my field (at least those I have worked with) are, for the most part, great mentors. There are so few of us that we need to stick together in order to survive!

Thanks for the food for thought...
Claudette/HDJ

Anocsanamun said...

women are strange and considering how down-right evil we can be when scorned I am surprised that OTHER WOMEN are surprised by it. I mean honestly! It happens all the time in my office. Most women knowing their obstacles will do anything to better themself. If it's YOU or ME - we BOTH KNOW it can't be ME.

Leah said...

I doubt early generations of the women's suffrage movement would be particularly proud of the "bitchterhood" we see so frequently now.

Walking Contradiction said...

That looks like a good read, We were just talking about that at work. Women are so much more BRUTAL than men when it comes to climbing the ladder.

bok hee said...

Chris, in light of your recent posts about your friends termination, what do you think of the termination of this chap (i dont know him but he seems to be fairly well known in the blog circle) Krucoff from his freelance gig at Conde Nast for forwarding an internal memo to Gawker? Just curious as to whether you see any parallels with your friends firing, and what your perspective on this matter is?

Oh, and i hope that really was you that left the comment on SKs blog inquiring about her working from home, etc. If it was you, it gave me a good chuckle. She really is a total deuchbag. And on that note, what about Fish's post (not that you spend your life reading her putrid blog) about the life altering experience of having to get her wisdom teeth pulled? sometimes i read her and SKs posts (and the related comments) and i am left muttering the word "surreal". And before anyone asks, i dont know why i keep reading them, i think it must be the train/car wreck syndrome and i simply cant look away.

Unsane said...

The capability of females in terms of coping within a hierarchy and acting in any way rationally, not to mention fairly, is a fragile thing, more often than not.

I do see some tentative emergence of female hierarchical coping, mentoring and fairness, within my martial arts gym, however.

The gym is based on a military, hierarchical system of "belts", which (within the context of the gym) has to be taken pretty seriously.

We now have higher level females (second or third Dan) who are examiners for younger or lower level females. As one of those who has progressed more slowly up the ranks (due to my preference of the scenic route to self-advancement) I have been pleased to see the developing maturity in some of these "higher level" women. It can't be easy for them -- but I have seen the personality changes and self-development. There seems to be a sense of honour about advising other women correctly and helping them advance.