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Jaymcgrath
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13 Aug 2014, 7:21 pm

[quote="tarantella64"]Middle-aged women are far less likely to take sh** from men than young women are. We've just had too much experience to do that - decades' experience with men lying to us, trying to shift their work to us, trying to get us to do things for them, making excuses for not simply getting their work done.


Wow! Thanks for all your comments everyone! I really think I've touched a nerve here.

Tarantella64 I'm sorry your experience of men has been like this.

I'm glad my workplace, and the ones I've been in have a much more enlightened attitute towards women.



em_tsuj
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13 Aug 2014, 8:46 pm

I think it is a case of you taking your personal experience and generalizing about a group of people.



tarantella64
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13 Aug 2014, 10:45 pm

Jaymcgrath wrote:
tarantella64 wrote:
Middle-aged women are far less likely to take sh** from men than young women are. We've just had too much experience to do that - decades' experience with men lying to us, trying to shift their work to us, trying to get us to do things for them, making excuses for not simply getting their work done.


Wow! Thanks for all your comments everyone! I really think I've touched a nerve here.

Tarantella64 I'm sorry your experience of men has been like this.

I'm glad my workplace, and the ones I've been in have a much more enlightened attitute towards women.


:lol: Trust me, the middle-aged women in your workplace know exactly what I'm talking about. We laugh so we don't cry, honey. And then we scare young women by trying to give them advice, and they're like whoo, that old lady craze, hope I never turn out like that, and then there's the passage of time. I sure do remember those scary middle-age women trying to hand me advice. They weren't lying.



Eureka13
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14 Aug 2014, 10:50 am

tarantella64 wrote:
Eureka13 wrote:
I'm a somewhat-past-middle-aged, middle-class female. Strangely, virtually all of my workplace conflicts have been with middle-aged, middle-class females.

I don't disagree with what tarantella is saying about the perspective of many MA/MC females (being one myself), but I do think there's also a "queen bee" thing going on in some (not all) cases. Most of my conflicts have been with those in middle management/administrative type positions (whereas I am in a "professional" position), in other words, they are slightly lower on the totem pole than me, and they've got their ways and their set routines that are tried and true. They "rule" the professional men in the org and get pissy when I don't play the same suck-up game that the men do. I see it as a variation on the "if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" meme.


It's not fun when they do that, but I get why they do. The professionals tend to think that because they're smart, they're smart about everything and they know how things should work and why they should be able to just ram things through, jump procedures, off-road, etc. And they figure the admin ladies are morons (which is why they're admin ladies and not professionals like themselves) who are just in the way. Until the admin ladies scare the crap out of them and make them settle down.

What they don't see (until the admin ladies scare sense into them) is the administrative/rules ecosystem those ladies live in, and how working within that ecosystem is what lets them keep the whole operation running smoothly. It's a big system of favors and understanding everyone's rules so they don't go crashing into each other, or turn up begging for favors that are a pain or hard to do. And generally those ladies are pretty sharp about keeping those rules straight.

I've learned to value those ladies highly, because I suck completely at administration, and if things were left up to me they'd be a...well, a nothing, there'd be a shambles and me wandering on to another project. I just do whatever they tell me to do and am totally happy to be the moron and let them spell things out.


Thank you for your response - this has been one of the biggest hurdles I've had all through my career, dealing with middle-aged admin ladies who seem to dislike me, so I'm always searching for understanding. Your comments do help.

I spent the first 10 years of my career after college *being* one of those admins. One of my responsibilities (for several different employers) was to train the new people, including the professionals. I had seen it in other workplaces, so I made a point of not doing the "queen bee" routine, but I understand how it's difficult for someone in a lower-paying position to know more about how things work in the organization than do the people in higher-paying positions and not develop a bit of a chip of their shoulder about it.

Possibly since I was always focused on clawing my own way up to being one of the professionals, I never really fit in with the other admins of any of the orgs I worked for during that time, and I always got along great with the very few professional women in those fields. Sometimes the younger men *were* a total PITA, fresh out of college with their ink-still-wet diplomas and thinking they were the gods' gift to the universe, but for the most part, I've always been able to "be one of the boys," and I rarely butted heads with any of them (and if I did, it wasn't for long).

It wasn't until I joined the ranks of the professionals myself that I started getting attitude from female admins (and usually the ones approximately my age or older, almost never the 20-somethings), and I still don't know what that is really about. Resentment that I left their ranks (although they don't always know my work history)? Resentment that I know their jobs as well as they do? Resentment that I get treated like "one of the guys"? Resentment that I'm clearly *not* "one of the girls"?

I'm assuming it's resentment since I can't imagine what else it might be. I welcome anyone's thoughts on this. I've actually spent a lot of time with my therapist over the last year (who I've been going to for bereavement counseling) talking about this issue instead. The whole phenomenon is still a total mystery to me.

Something that just occurred to me: the women I have problems with are never ones who are already in place when I join the org; they're ones who come on board *after* me. So they're the ones having to learn a new environment/ecosystem - how can I possibly be stepping on their toes? Maybe because I'm the only other woman in my department, and so she expects me to "mother hen" her and I don't? I'm utterly baffled.



tarantella64
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14 Aug 2014, 4:54 pm

Wow, I really don't know -- do they think you're aloof, at all, and rubbing their noses in the fact that you're the lady pro and they're not? That happens sometimes -- I get criticism all the time for coming off condescending even though it's totally not my intent or feeling, so my general persona with those ladies is "I have no clue, please help me". (It's got the dubious virtue of often being true.)

Though I guess I do mother-hen the young ones when they come on board, partly really to help, but mostly as a "this place is friendly and we really like you" thing, also because sometimes clerks really do need to talk to the professional staff about something, and it's good to have a warm relationship in place. Plus I just like to know the people I work with -- you know, who're you, why're you here, what do you enjoy, oh you're looking for an apartment where? etc. And the truth is I have no idea what all they're responsible for doing, so I really am pretty tentative/apologetic when I need something done -- I don't know what they're in the middle of for other people. I will once in a while get pissy when something important isn't happening, though, just very...directive.

It can be threatening to have someone superior to you know your job inside and out before you do, too. So then they'd have to set up a Space of Competence that you're barred from, if they felt pressure from you because you know the job better than they do, but you're supposed to be on the other side of the fence with the clueless pros.

It could also be a sexual-politics thing, too.



Ann2011
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14 Aug 2014, 5:11 pm

Well, I'm a middle aged woman and I can pass for middle class. I don't have much trouble with same as I can relate to their experiences (superficially.) Actually I don't have trouble with anyone really, but I've spent a lot of time learning social norms.
Cockney, finger tapping is a neurotypical signal for impatience. Not that you shouldn't do it, but be wary . . . you could catch the wrong clerk on the wrong day (they will spit in your food) lol



BirdInFlight
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17 Aug 2014, 8:38 pm

I guess I'm a middle class, middle aged woman, and I have horrible trouble with middle class, middle aged women! With no offence meant to others of that description who may be reading, most of the ones I seem to encounter in my real life are world class b*****s with some kind of stick up their asses! And there's an archetypal "Queen bee" right here in my apartment building who is a troublemaker and lords it over everyone. It only ever seems to be this age group who does that. Some sense of entitlement?

I'm supposedly of their demographic --- yet I have never felt part of this group. I don't think they see me as one of them, either. I don't even really look like, act like or dress like one of these people, so that too may inspire them to treat me like s**t. But I do get treated like s**t by queen bee-ish middle class, middle aged women -- who don't seem to see that I'm supposed to be one of them. I feel no sisterhood -- I just feel like so many of them seem to be jerks. I've always been out of step with my own generation anyway, never been "one of". Always felt looked upon anyway as "not one of us" by groups or people who were "on paper "my own kind."

Sorry for the bitter tone but I've been having a particularly rough time at the hands of more than one woman who could be exactly described by the OP's title, lately, as it happens, and I kinda hate this type at the moment.

Even though on paper I'm supposed to be one of 'em!

.



opal
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18 Aug 2014, 1:24 am

BirdInFlight wrote:
I guess I'm a middle class, middle aged woman, and I have horrible trouble with middle class, middle aged women! With no offence meant to others of that description who may be reading, most of the ones I seem to encounter in my real life are world class b*****s with some kind of stick up their asses! And there's an archetypal "Queen bee" right here in my apartment building who is a troublemaker and lords it over everyone. It only ever seems to be this age group who does that. Some sense of entitlement?

I'm supposedly of their demographic --- yet I have never felt part of this group. I don't think they see me as one of them, either. I don't even really look like, act like or dress like one of these people, so that too may inspire them to treat me like sh**. But I do get treated like sh** by queen bee-ish middle class, middle aged women -- who don't seem to see that I'm supposed to be one of them. I feel no sisterhood -- I just feel like so many of them seem to be jerks. I've always been out of step with my own generation anyway, never been "one of". Always felt looked upon anyway as "not one of us" by groups or people who were "on paper "my own kind."

Sorry for the bitter tone but I've been having a particularly rough time at the hands of more than one woman who could be exactly described by the OP's title, lately, as it happens, and I kinda hate this type at the moment.

Even though on paper I'm supposed to be one of 'em!

Yup. I hear ya!

.



LastSanityJermaine
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18 Aug 2014, 5:43 am

I'm scared to join the workforce after hearing all your stories I'm afraid I'll end up making them all be able to see their backs when the fall on the ground.