why is this MY problem?

Just read Cracking the Male Code of Office Behavior, from last Sunday’s New York Times, which discusses Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “The Male Factor: the Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions, and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace.”

The point of the book, and the article, is to describe how men work, think, and behave as compared to how women work, think, and behave, and to offer suggestions to women as to how they can best position themselves for promotion and advancement. Shaunti says: “Women who want to avoid hidden traps and break through the glass ceiling need to know how to shape the way men perceive them.”

We are advised that women should try to shut down their emotional responses to things like criticism, be careful not to push their own ideas too hard, and to try to avoid any implications of personality conflicts with any of their coworkers, as this will “. . .cause men to view that worker as less business-savvy and less experienced,” or even downright illogical. We should also realize that men are, by nature, quite insecure, and to take care to avoid inadvertently “hitting a nerve” so that the man won’t become defensive.

Ironically, male managers are often put out by women who try to be just like men — “it’s . . . distracting.”

Are you wordIcan’tsay kidding me?

Now, I’m not saying this isn’t true, mind you. I believe, in fact, that this is exactly what happens to a lot of women everywhere. But why is this OUR problem? Why aren’t men being asked to take steps to crack the “female code” of office behavior? Did we all get together at some point and decide THEIR way was the BETTER way? Trust me, if I had been at that meeting, I would remember it. And does anyone else sense the ludicrousness of asking women to shape their actions “just enough,” because, God forbid you go too far and try to be just like a man.

But wait, isn’t that what they were just asking for?

And THEY say WE’RE not logical.

4 Responses to “why is this MY problem?”

  1. 1 Sam
    February 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    No, a woman just wrote a book about it first.

  2. February 12, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Men and women are different? Really? Well I have worked with professional men and women in my long career. Women really are accepted as leaders in my profession. I work for a major engineering firm; my boss is a minority woman with a master’s degree in structural engineering. Her promotions were earned by her talent and abilities.

    My experience working with such a diverse group of people, diverse in education, experience and personalities. I never make the mistake of pegging someone because of their looks or apparent family background or sex. The greatest weakness I encounter at the office is a real lack of leadership skill. Skill and diplomacy are required to lead professional people to accomplish our companies goal of serving our clients.

  3. February 12, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Let’s just say I will leave this one on the shelf, where it belongs.
    Let women be women, men be men, and see how life naturally unfolds, instead of trying to trick each other into the other way of thinking.
    Men of the world: back off and let us shine!

  4. February 14, 2011 at 4:33 am

    I think it’s funny women are told to shut down their emotional responses to criticism. Since when aren’t ment emotional? I’ve seen lots of men get defensive when criticized. And that thing about not pushing their ideas — isn’t that how men get ahead in the business world?

    While I think it’s still harder for women to get ahead in business, I just don’t believe it’s right that we should be asked to “become men”. Yes, it’s good to understand how to play the game, but ultimately you have to be true to yourself, at least that’s my belief.

    This is they type of ridiculous book that muddies the waters and does no one any good because it doesn’t seem to be offering constructive advice, but rather the pitfalls and what you should be doing to make yourself into something you’re not.

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