Bosses and Bitches: Winning the War in the Workplace

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The battle between beauty and beast has been blowing up in the workplace for years now. Women the world over are hell bent on proving that we deserve our place in any arena where there are men. And it is a place we deserve. But in my old age, my battle has changed from being better than the men I work with to just being the best I can be, regardless of what’s in my pants.
But it hasn’t been easy. And men haven’t made it any easier – with the smug look on their faces when they get the good job nod over you, knowing that you deserve a bit of credit, if not all of it. There have been so many situations in my work experiences, and those around me, where sexual inequality is rampant in the workplace. In my early twenties, I fashioned my work ethic for battle. But is the battle constructive? Should we want to do better to beat someone else or because we’re getting paid to get the job done? As humans, we don’t always take the high road. And I am the first one to admit guilt here.
It isn’t easy to watch a man in your workplace get a bligh over you just because he shares a love for Arsenal with your boss. So what do you do? You leave your smile at the door. You’re not in work to make friends are you? You tell yourself that if you treat every situation knowing that everyone is against you, you will naturally do a better job. So what if they call you a bitch? And while you sit there stewing, as your project nears completion, you silently growl as you see him strutting around calm and cool, as if he didn’t have the same deadline. You are smarter than him. Better at this job than him. How does he do it?
I could go on and on here, but I feel that as women we sweaty up ourselves too much with who we want to be better than, rather than just being our best. And again I am guilty. But fellas, you have to be honest, you sure know how to wind us up! Always walking around with that stupid grin on your face, chatting up the ladies and sending out internal press releases at the water cooler about your fishing trip down the island with the boss. It grinds us doesn’t it? That men can do that without being accused of having ulterior motives.
Let a woman do that nah. The rumours will soon spiral around the office of your unprofessional attentions with the boss. You could be married with ten children, as a woman, certain corners of society will always attribute your success to a series of rumps in the hay with your superiors, as you climb the career ladder. Can I get ah steups?
But as women are we being too paranoid? Let’s face it; men will always have a ‘reason’ for losing. If their favourite football team loses, it’s the coach, the weather, and state of the pitch, or because it was an away game. How about the other team just played better? Men are such sore losers. As women though, we are worse.
Thing is men seem to just get on with it, and if there is any drama it’s internal. With us, it’s a big deal. Even if we keep all our feelings inside when his ideas are heralded and ours are ignored, we still sit there stewing and our sharp, one-word answers in the ensuing three-day period only further colours the Chinese whispers going around the office that we’re bitter.
I believe it’s time for us to rise above this petty war, and fight to be the best rather than better than ‘him’. Don’t work harder; work smarter. Leave any reason for colleagues and superiors to question your validity in the team at the door. Short skirts, plunging necklines, sexual relations in the office, office gossip and more can easily discredit your hard work amongst your office peers.
In Trinidad and Tobago, with Carnival rearing it’s head, women need to be even more careful. I know it’s wine and jam season, but yuh really going to wine down to the ground with your boss in a bra and panty? Come nah man. We should know better than that. Sure the men can do it and get away with it, but should that make us want to? Just because a man can frolic with multiple ladybugs, and be heralded for it, this should not spur us to aspire to be Samantha from “Sex and the City”.
As women, we need to embrace that we are the delicate gender and that crass behaviour doesn’t suit us, regardless of if yuh making yuh money and paying yuh own bills. So while seeing your male colleague passed out on Ariapita Avenue on Carnival Tuesday may be the joke around the office on Thursday, if it were you, it wouldn’t be funny. Fact. But do you really want to be passed out on the pavement… again in a bra and panty?
Life isn’t fair and I believe if you really work to the best of your ability at something that you are good at and love, then competition in the workplace shouldn’t be an issue. And if it is, rather than turn into Medusa in the office, which is just plain counter-productive, then find a job featuring an environment that is conducive to your quest for constant excellence.
Eng out.

bossesandbitchesThe battle between beauty and beast has been blowing up in the workplace for years now. Women the world over are hell bent on proving that we deserve our place in any arena where there are men. And it is a place we deserve. But in my old age, my battle has changed from being better than the men I work with to just being the best I can be, regardless of what’s in my pants.

But it hasn’t been easy. And men haven’t made it any easier – with the smug look on their faces when they get the good job nod over you, knowing that you deserve a bit of credit, if not all of it. There have been so many situations in my work experiences, and those around me, where sexual inequality is rampant in the workplace. In my early twenties, I fashioned my work ethic for battle. But is the battle constructive? Should we want to do better to beat someone else or because we’re getting paid to get the job done? As humans, we don’t always take the high road. And I am the first one to admit guilt here.


It isn’t easy to watch a man in your workplace get a bligh over you just because he shares a love for Arsenal with your boss. So what do you do? You leave your smile at the door. You’re not in work to make friends are you? You tell yourself that if you treat every situation knowing that everyone is against you, you will naturally do a better job. So what if they call you a bitch? And while you sit there stewing, as your project nears completion, you silently growl as you see him strutting around calm and cool, as if he didn’t have the same deadline. You are smarter than him. Better at this job than him. How does he do it? 

I could go on and on here, but I feel that as women we sweaty up ourselves too much with who we want to be better than, rather than just being our best. And again I am guilty. But fellas, you have to be honest, you sure know how to wind us up! Always walking around with that stupid grin on your face, chatting up the ladies and sending out internal press releases at the water cooler about your fishing trip down the island with the boss. It grinds us doesn’t it? That men can do that without being accused of having ulterior motives. 

Let a woman do that nah. The rumours will soon spiral around the office of your unprofessional attentions with the boss. You could be married with ten children, as a woman, certain corners of society will always attribute your success to a series of rumps in the hay with your superiors, as you climb the career ladder. Can I get ah steups?

But as women are we being too paranoid? Let’s face it; men will always have a ‘reason’ for losing. If their favourite football team loses, it’s the coach, the weather, and state of the pitch, or because it was an away game. How about the other team just played better? Men are such sore losers. As women though, we are worse.

Thing is men seem to just get on with it, and if there is any drama it’s internal. With us, it’s a big deal. Even if we keep all our feelings inside when his ideas are heralded and ours are ignored, we still sit there stewing and our sharp, one-word answers in the ensuing three-day period only further colours the Chinese whispers going around the office that we’re bitter.

I believe it’s time for us to rise above this petty war, and fight to be the best rather than better than ‘him’. Don’t work harder; work smarter. Leave any reason for colleagues and superiors to question your validity in the team at the door. Short skirts, plunging necklines, sexual relations in the office, office gossip and more can easily discredit your hard work amongst your office peers.

In Trinidad and Tobago, with Carnival rearing it’s head, women need to be even more careful. I know it’s wine and jam season, but yuh really going to wine down to the ground with your boss in a bra and panty? Come nah man. We should know better than that. Sure the men can do it and get away with it, but should that make us want to? Just because a man can frolic with multiple ladybugs, and be heralded for it, this should not spur us to aspire to be Samantha from “Sex and the City”. 

As women, we need to embrace that we are the delicate gender and that crass behaviour doesn’t suit us, regardless of if yuh making yuh money and paying yuh own bills. So while seeing your male colleague passed out on Ariapita Avenue on Carnival Tuesday may be the joke around the office on Thursday, if it were you, it wouldn’t be funny. Fact. But do you really want to be passed out on the pavement… again in a bra and panty?

Life isn’t fair and I believe if you really work to the best of your ability at something that you are good at and love, then competition in the workplace shouldn’t be an issue. And if it is, rather than turn into Medusa in the office, which is just plain counter-productive, then find a job featuring an environment that is conducive to your quest for constant excellence. 

Eng out.

 

Check out the rest of this week’s issue (28/2/11; Issue 47):

 

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Michelle Eng Leang

Michelle Eng Leang is a Trini living in the UK. Married for almost ten years, she is a mother to a two-year-old-son. She eh really cater - and that's all you need to know. You want an honest opinion? With her, that's exactly what you are going to get. Check out her blog http://mamaengsthoughts.blogspot.com.

2 Comments

  1. Miss Maths

    February 27, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I so agree. Indeed, when women just aim to be the best they can…no man can match up! Great article!

  2. TS

    February 28, 2011 at 10:48 am

    LOVE this article. Life really isn’t fair. What fellas get away with at work (or in life generally), women can not even dream to do…

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