12 Sep 2010

Pressure Points (Part 2)

I've personally had the pleasure/ misfortune of meeting some of those. They treat you as an ally/ friend while you serve the purpose; they probably start not liking you too much when they realise that you are a tough cookie and won't allow them to take privileges over you, abuse your trust, or generally take you for a ride. Soon enough they'll click that you too are ambitious and serious about your job and progression, except you don't need to brag about it to the boss, you have principles, a personality and wit, you are not afraid of defending fairness in the workplace, standing by your own views and opinions, even if this might get you into trouble with a superior. You are loyal to yourself, and loyal to the business, but you don't need to lick boots to prove it.

Then beware the wrath of the ladykiller whose not-so-subtle plan will unveil sooner rather than later: to eradicate the competition (eh, that's you and me!) in order to take centre stage, to ingratiate herself to the boss to the point of following his/ her shadow, to keep you in the dark over the progress of key dossier information in order to trip you up, to casually spread carefully-thought-out false assumptions about you, your method, your work ethics, your choice of screensaver, your favourite chocolate bar etc.

I am not trying to imply that only female co-workers are capable of such callousness; so are male co-workers of course (human nature, eh!). Except with these women, the bullying is probably more premeditated, calculated, scheming, cunning and insidious. If a male colleague is doing the dirty on you, chance is you'll be able to nip it in the bud, confront him, discuss it/ raise your voice over it (if need be), and clear the air. Whereas with female troublemakers, the issue will be more difficult to trace, pinpoint and evidence. I partly blame those feminine lures acting out and hormonal flows fuelling bitchiness: a full catalogue of lies and pretences that includes false airs of innocence, manipulative explanations, moody pauses, pretend surprised looks, strong denials, the odd tear, the wobbly voice, the smarmy expression...

As if life at work wasn't difficult and challenging enough, the most likely enemy of today's working woman will be a younger female vying for the same post/ prospects as her. Without falling into the cliché, this is especially true in fast-moving, image-conscious, youth-orientated disciplines like the media (marketing, advertising, TV, etc.), I.T. and fashion. I have experienced it to a degree, although there is no point in asking the female 'culprits' to come up with their version of the facts as the strong feminine lure machinery would kick off!

Man, I know my worth, but if the boss is easily swayed by a girl ten years my junior, and rates sultry looks and lack of substance over experience, integrity and maturity, then so be it. I know who the loser will be, and it won't be me. 'She' can get the job, after all, if that's what she wants! There is one point in life where the wise amongst us will have reached a level of contentment and self-belief where they will feel comfortable enough in themselves to be able to enjoy their achievements, without a care for what those pesky co-workers think or say about us.

There will come the point where your self-worth will help you give a true meaning to your life regardless of office politics and the trappings of modern life, even if this might mean less money in your pocket (if you consider setting up your own business/ going freelance etc.) but with that oh-so priceless taste of freedom and wisdom in your heart! You see, Mr Neil Young, I'd rather fade away than burn out!

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