Another peril of the all-female office
is that meetings are almost never about work. Ostensibly they are, of course, but really they're about getting up in each others' grills.
Take our Wednesday morning meetings, for example. A normal workday started at 8:30, but on Wednesdays, we had to report at 7:30 for our weekly team meeting. We were all hourly employees, but this (mandatory) meeting was off the clock and thus unpaid -- I regret to say, only a bunch of women (especially young ones just out of school) would put up with that horseshit in the first place.
Each week, the duty of "hosting" the meeting rotated; if it was your week, you had to:
1) Type up a list of agenda items for discussion, including space for each person to present her "goals and challenges" (both professional AND personal) for the week, make 6 copies, and have them ready to hand out.
2) Come up with an activity (this was an agenda item) for everyone to do. Actual examples included: writing down something you like about each person on a separate little piece of paper, which then are sorted and handed around so that each person ended up with five of these little affirmations about herself; going around the table, every person makes two statements, one true and one false, that everyone then gets to guess which is which; stating a work-related or (preferably) personal challenge and having everyone else weigh in on how to fix it.
3) Bring food, almost always Starbucks pastries (at about $2 each), which you paid for out of your own pocket (see above re: only women putting up with this horseshit), and about which all the girls would ritually bemoan how high in calories and fat they were and would eat only half of.
All attendees were required to show up on time, slop over with praise of the "You go, girl!" variety for each other, and every once in awhile really open up an artery about her personal life from which everyone could suck deeply (e.g. one counselor who kept us all updated on her fertility struggles, another who provided progress reports on her new boyfriend, whom she hoped would ask her to marry him).
Can you IMAGINE a scenario like this if there were even ONE dude in the group? What happened was, not being a very girly person in general and reacting badly to this bizarre sorority thing, I sort of became the office "guy" out of self-preservation, and was repeatedly accused of being cold or gruff, of not being a Team Player, and of really just Not Getting It.
Well, that last was at least true ... I surely did not Get It, and the day I handed in my resignation (after fourteen looooong months trying to bail water), without even a prospect of another job lined up, was among the highlights of my working life.
Labels: bitch, cubejammin', I'd rather take a beating, life 101