Is there genuine sisterhood, togetherness, in the office comradeship?
Flash back to scenes of Devil Wears Prada or Working Girl come to mind, as I was having a discussion with a mummy friend of mine, who works a senior role in the corporate world, about sisterhood in the work place; especially when you’re a working mother, and she posed the following statement;
“Women are annoyingly extra hard on you, when they know and have been through exactly the same thing as you, they are neither supportive nor sympathetic…”
So this got me thinking, in truth I’ve not really worked with a lot of female bosses, but if truth be told, I’ve heard this line of thought before and the films listed above came to mind.
My friend was requesting extra leave to support her little one with settling in week (or the start to big (new) school) and her boss was female and yes you’ve guessed it, a mother too.
Politically in correction and anti social statements
Here are some of the first hand conversations I’ve had with colleagues who at the time were either pregnant or returning to the corporate work after maternity leave. I’m almost ashamed to share this but I’m going to quote a couple of statements I’ve heard said to women colleagues from their bosses in the corporate world. Some of which could be genuine, but most of which sounding suspiciously discriminatory to me.
No chance of promotion or flexi work
“They don’t want to promote me as a new mum”
“They won’t agree extended hours so I can reduce the amount of days I’m actually in the office, so I’m struggling to find a way to spend more time spend time with my babies”.
One line manager once told a colleague of mine – “Well you should have thought about that before you decided to have three kids” on a request to work from home on Fridays.
Another mummy colleague was told by her female boss (who by the way didn’t have kids) “If you’d worked on a Thursday you’ll be able to handle your work load better!”
Here are some special ones
“Because you are not in the office after 4pm it’s difficult to get a full steer on this account”
“I hope you’ve arranged to go to the hospital on your allocated day off instead of work time”. This one was said by a deranged head of strategy at a previous company I worked, to a young mum who was screening her unborn child for Edwards syndrome.
Looking at the above scenarios, I know you’re thinking back nodding your head reminiscing about all or any of your previous female line managers. Their bitchy like tendencies, their inabilities to be flexible and motivate you.
Why is it that female mum bosses especially tend to want to restrict the rules of work and try and bend (if I could use that word) the legal position and rights of other women in the office environment? What happened to sisterhood man?
Well we’re going to tackle this in our next blog post series. So please join the discussion, comment below or email us directly here.
We’ll also look at what you can do to spot these people (it’s not just women) and how you can prevent this from weighing you down and or impacting your chances of moving up the ladder.
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