I’m sweating spinal fluid here – is everyone working as hard as me ?

February 1, 2010


Bad boss


I’m sweating spinal fluid here – is everyone working as hard as me” or is it just the She Boss making my life harder?

Before I get lambasted for being anti-woman, let me be clear – I have worked with great people, both men and women: people who were generous to a fault with their time and expertise, people from whom I have learned great lessons and who I am proud to call friends.  Neither is this a rant about one individual boss who’s had a bad day.

This isn’t everybody folks, but there is a certain kind of She Boss who creates a culture that is demoralising, negative and soul-wrenching for the 40-plus hours a week you’ll spend in work. If you’ve had one, you’ll know what I mean.  If not, think Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly crossed with a PMT-ridden Machiavelli.

More than just an entertaining stereotype however, a quick straw-poll of my female friends and co-workers shows that most of us have had a She Boss at some point and many of us have left previous jobs just to escape the She.

So, what is it with these women who appear to have decided that the way to break the glass ceiling is to break the backs of their female colleagues? The suggestion that they had to fight harder for their position is too easy an answer – there’s assertive career progression and then there’s The She.

The nous of Gates, Clinton and Trump among others – that smart bosses hire people smarter than they are to ensure overall success and by virtue of a halo effect to look smarter themselves – has been lost on the She Boss.

The She Boss is a woman of above-average intelligence (after all, she got the job in the first place – although her treatment of you will daily make you wonder how she managed to conjure up even some semblance of humanity at her interview) but nonetheless remains insecure enough to feel threatened by anyone who appears, even for a fleeting moment, to have greater knowledge or more relevant experience than She.

The She Boss also seeks, almost pathologically and certainly irrepressibly, to undermine other women around her. In this, the history of feminist sisterhood that envisioned a future where women who reached the top of their fields would offer a helping hand to those following in their footsteps has also been lost.

All this may be less concerning if productivity increased at the hands of the She Boss but it doesn’t.  The short-sighted, divide and conquer, approach She takes, along with the spirit-breaking, morale-sapping, abuse of her colleagues is not only negative but less productive.

As the time of year drives us to brush off our CVs and go searching for pastures green you have to wonder, is your company’s She Boss going to cost you your sanity and your company good workers? And, if you are your company’s She Boss what’s the real cost of your insecurity?

Handbags at dawn anyone?


About frimframworld

Total coffee fan, dedicated foodie & news hound. Strategic PR & political comms as a day job. All comments my own - blogging in a personal capacity only.

View all posts by frimframworld


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