Not so Random Bullets of RANT: the feminization of suckitude

  • I love advil, and I have to get name-brand.  I am convinced it is the candy coating that actually makes the pain go away.  I’m fine with generic tylenol and aspirin… but advil has to be the named stuff.
  • I have decided I hate “women’s events”.  Especially when they interrupt the lovely discussion you were having with a colleague you haven’t seen for a while on professional accomplishments to go around the group to talk about a “defining moment” you had in your life.  I don’t WANT to share any of my defining moments with people I work with and what’s more I don’t want to hear YOURS.  Not if I’m going to be sharing a hallway with you for the next 20-50 years.  Especially if you cry while you’re telling them.  Double especially if it takes 20 min for you to get to the damn point and it’s past my bedtime.  I am going to be unable to go to anymore women’s faculty dinners.  EVER.  Sisterhood be damned.  And flashbacks to swearwording summer camp.
  • On a related note.  I am very proud of myself.  I thought many impolite things but did not say them.  A lot of the women in the group apparently still think it’s showing woman-power to say what you think even when doing so isn’t going to help your main objectives.  But those women also don’t think these stupid exercises are stupid.
  • In case you haven’t noticed, I HATE touchy-feely stuff and I hate having it sprung on me.  Exception: sappy bad poetry from my partner.  Small children are also exempt for the most part.
  • Why is it that women and girls always have to do these stupid touchy-feely getting to know each other’s innermost souls crap and boys don’t?  IBTP.
  • Also:  Long emails sharing even more the next day.  Not cool.  Especially since there’s no unsubscribe button.
  • My mommy’s advice, “Try to see the humor in it.”  Now that she mentions it, the entire experience was a lot like something out of one of those mystery novels she reads.  You know, the ones about the middle aged toughened professional woman who inadvertently ends up solving a series of murders in her suddenly dangerous small town.

This public service message brought to you by Grumpy Rumblings of the Untenured, who remind you that forcing untenured people to bare their souls with their colleagues unexpectedly at what is supposed to be a casual social dinner or somesuch is a form of ENTRAPMENT.

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28 Responses to “Not so Random Bullets of RANT: the feminization of suckitude”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    I personally like to have a few folks that I can just spew random thoughts onto. It helps a lot. Generally people think I’m hard to read and all business at work. I’ve actually had people tell me to small talk to people more and I always feel like I’m wasting people’s time when I do that. The reality is that different people want a different amount of emotional connection to their colleagues. I assume everyone wants to be all business, but that’s not the reality. Some people do, some people do not.

    My closest friend is a psychology major. She is very in tune to not only her feelings but the feelings of everyone around her. She teaches me a lot about people, body language, and how to adjust your style to make others at ease. That stuff doesn’t come naturally to me I’m afraid.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I really don’t *want* an emotional connection to my colleagues. Especially not the ones who are secretly crazy. If they talk to God, I really just don’t want to know. If they want an emotional connection, they can get it from each other, but don’t spring it on me when I can’t escape.

      • First Gen American Says:

        Yeah, that’s not cool. If they are so sensitive they should be able to see that you don’t want that level of closeness with them.

        One of the first VP’s I interacted with in my first year working said to me “when people don’t listen to you, you just do your style of talking harder.” His advice was to try to understand people and adjust my style to fit them and not assume everyone will be like me. It was great advice.

  2. 101 Centavos Says:

    Love the post title:-)
    The problem is that at work, you’re *always* on the record. Anything you say can and will be used against you. I agree with FGA, it’s best to stay focused and all business on the job.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’m good with being pleasant and polite. I’m also good with exchanging info on new coffee-shops and so on. I can, yes, talk about the weather. Deep innermost secrets? None of anybody’s business and I really don’t want to hear other folks’ either. That’s what blogs are for!

  3. Everyday Tips Says:

    I can’t imagine going to such an event and baring my soul. I would have probably called 911 on this person as it seems totally out of place. Now, I made many great friends at work and we talked about our pregnancies and such, but we also were friends outside of work. I am just imagining me going to a work dinner and just sharing my latest earth-shattering epiphany.

    Or, am I misunderstanding the situation? Does this person think he/she is great pals with all of you?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      This person would have had to be great pals with ALL the women faculty in our department, which is quite a lot of them. Including people just hired. Since we had to go around the entire table and share with EVERYONE. I couldn’t take a bathroom break that was long enough to get through one woman’s 17 minute story.

      But no, not someone I consider to be a friend, for many contextual reasons.

  4. Linda Says:

    LOL! I remember an experience like this at my workplace. We were a mixed group of folks (men and women) in a diversity training and one woman started really over-sharing. We were asked to talk (if we wanted to…not forced) about a personal experience of some kind (I can’t recall the exact ask here) and one woman started going way into her life. Somehow she started talking about the divorce she was going through and how she was sure her husband was sexually molesting the children. It was *very* uncomfortable for everyone and really, really OT.

    I could never look at that woman the same way again when I ran into her in the elevator. Not because I felt sorry for her situation, but because I felt she was one of those folks who just doesn’t know how to share without crossing the line of over-sharing.

  5. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    Agreed 100%! I want to have very close intimate *professional* relationships with my colleagues, not personal ones. The nature of a personal relationship interferes with an effective professional one, and vice versa. My experiences is also that–seemingly paradoxically–the closer the personal relationships in a workplace, the more difficult it is to maintain a professional environment that is respectful and accommodating of the various diverse personal constraints that are imposed on all of the workers’ professional activities.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      #2 here. I enjoy having friendships with my colleagues at work, but they are not my *best* friends and there are things I don’t tell them. There are sides of me they don’t get to see. Because, yes, they are nice, but they also have a say in my professional career. I think you have to be aware of what you’re doing, and choose consciously. Going to a meeting where someone started crying would be uncomfortable in practically any context.

  6. Suba Says:

    And this “event” was a requirement? I would be embarrassed and very uncomfortable to talk about my personal stuff in front of professional colleagues. I am not best friends with my coworkers but I think of them as friends and get along well. But until I leave my company I can never be best friends and share stuff with them. Good thing I am not asked to…

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Not a requirement per se. And we’d had a couple of these before (they tend to be every other year) and they were always nice and professional. This change was totally unexpected. I am going to be sadly unavailable for future events.

  7. Mimi Says:

    I am a new TT (female) faculty member and I was totally shocked, unprepared, and horrified with the first of these events that I attended. I thought: “Oh, a mentoring group for young female faculty members. How lovely.” WRONG. It was a cry-moan-provide your inner feelings fest. Also, my quick/short answers to questions about my graduate school experiences, etc, were not deemed lengthy enough and they asked follow up questions. Why? Leave me alone!
    It could have been so helpful and it was so annoying. Boo.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      WTF is up with that?

      And they would never dare do anything like that with male faculty members. UGH.

      It’s too bad that we’re unable to make any future events because of scheduling conflicts.

  8. Spanish Prof Says:

    Too funny you posted this the same day I received an email from the administration announcing the Women of Excellence Award for (female) students, and asking for nominations. I was actually thinking about nominating one, but because I think it would help her CV more than anything else.

  9. bogart Says:

    Yeah, uck. This sort of thing strikes me as exactly like one of those job interview questions, “Tell us about a time you screwed up” or “What is your worst flaw” where what’s really being tested (intentionally or not) is your ability to have a prepared, entertaining story that ends well (Q1) or to be able to say, “I tend to work too hard and to hold myself to too high a standard” in a self-deprecating way yet with a straight face. And it’s well and good to BTP (and you’re quite likely right), but why is it that we women are helping PTP (perpetuate the …).

    (BTW: Interesting article in 2/7 New Yorker on food allergies in kids, loosely relevant to your earlier post about introducing solids to the tykes (and about how little we know about, you know, stuff, more generally), and right at this moment, a ditto post on Motherlode blog about women in (or not) academe.)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yes, women are not blameless in PTP. I shake my tiny fist!

      Thanks for the info on the New Yorker article and on Motherlode…

      Though I tend not to check Motherlode after Lisa Belkin sent me a really nasty personal email one time… Figured I didn’t need drama from random NYTimes bloggers! (This was back when Belkin was promoting that woman who adopted a black boy even though everybody said she had too many kids and then unadopted him AND used her real name when telling his story… also had similar TMI information under her real name about her daughters, husband, sex life etc. Poor kids.) (Also not crazy about the hostility she has for women who choose to breastfeed or not have epidurals.)

      Oh hey, here’s a better post on that new report that came out recently that Lisa Belkin is talking about in that post: http://science-professor.blogspot.com/2011/02/orders-of-magnitude.html

      • bogart Says:

        Right, right. No, I challenged Belkin on something once and while I didn’t get a personal nasty email (hey, we can’t all be as cool as you) I got a response that basically ran, “No, you didn’t see the full study, you just don’t understand.” Which, actually, ironically, I had — the tracked down (and read) part, i.e., seen the whole report — before posting, and while I’m open to the possibility that there’s stuff I don’t understand, this? I did. So, um, thanks for the other link!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        *sigh* Journalists these days…

  10. DoobyDoh Says:

    Ugh. I think of those events as like episodes in a Monty Python Show. Especially the one about the Twits.

  11. retirebyforty Says:

    Boy, you are grumpy. :)

  12. Lindy Mint Says:

    I am definitely not a fan of the planned women events, with colleagues or social circles. Close friends are okay if it’s a small group, but any bigger than five it always turns into “organized sharing.” The worst is when groups of women give themselves a group name. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

  13. Feelings at work: Commenting on Dame Eleanor Hull | Grumpy rumblings of the (formerly!) untenured Says:

    […] rant personally I just want people to do their jobs and leave me along alone #2: I don’t want to talk about FEELINGS ever at work we can talk about processes and professional interaction or something #1: yeah, but what about that […]


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