Welcome dear readers to my new column “Rania Rambles On.”
I decided to use ‘ramble on’ because the topics I discuss here may not be as deep or as reflective as my other writings. This is more personal-related stories, observations, funny moments and a lot of venting. I miss just being able to tell my personal stories in an informal way and sometimes I forget that I have this blog to serve this purpose. So welcome to exhibit one of Rania Rambles On…
Today I want to talk about female leadership…or my experience with it. In my attempt to find other writing-related jobs, I have gone to many interviews and most of them were handled by women. Let me also clarify that throughout my life I’ve only had female bosses and let’s just say we never really had a good relationship with one another. We just never seem to bond or see eye to eye, there’s always this unspoken tension except for my first boss who was heaven-sent and was more like a sister, a friend and a mentor but she set the bar pretty high that after her, it was all a bunch of mean women who abuse their power and love to make me feel like I’m not good or smart enough instead of supporting me through this new journey.
So I cringe a bit when I’m interviewed by a ‘boss lady’ but I also try to keep an open mind in hopes I get a more charming one who doesn’t want to make me feel inferior to her. That didn’t happen, of course, every interview was almost the same; the boss gives me dirty looks as I talk about my background and acts disinterested in what I have to say then she goes on and tells me about how difficult the job is hinting that I may not be able to handle it just because I got my nails done and have a smile on my face. And then she tells me what this job entails…you guessed it…attention to detail, long working hours and jugging more than one project a day also insinuating that I may not have what it takes to handle such a challenging position or work under pressure.
Then here comes the fun part, when she asks me if I have any questions and I say that I do, I get the ‘how dare you even ask anything, you’re lucky you’re even considered for this position” look. So I ask what’s in it for me and I ask if they will be able to meet my salary expectations and she just stares at me like I’m an alien she’s trying to understand and I ask how this job will benefit me as a person and as a writer. Then after she answers my questions with her eyes rolling and that ‘I’m gonna shoot you” look on her face, we wrap up the interview knowing that I won’t hear from her again and I won’t take the job if they give me an offer.
I don’t understand who taught these women that being mean is a sign of power or intimidating your employees is a sign of success. I personally can’t work well in these toxic environments or with someone who thinks my success would mean that I’m one-upping her. It’s like they expect you to be so good just not better than them. It’s like they want you to shine but not steal the spotlight from them. When did this become the new norm? Why did we take ‘strong, independent women’ too far by actually being selfish and borderline rude? Why are we competing with one another instead of being on the same team?
I consider myself strong and independent and I’ve always been a flexible and friendly boss and I’ve done my best work when I was given the freedom and space to work without being micromanaged or challenged by someone who constantly wants to prove that I’ll never be as good as she is or I don’t deserve the kind of money I’m asking for or I don’t take my job seriously just because I choose to take care of myself or do my hair or wear heels.
I once had a boss who didn’t like my attitude when I told her I wanted to quit and she wanted to remove my name from the whole issue I worked on and use her name instead and she didn’t want to give me credit for my work. This is just an example of how some of these women pretend to be professional and competent but they make it about themselves and bring out their unprofessional claws at the first bump in the road.
I had another one who didn’t want to consider my background or my cultural sensitivity when I told her some things may be offensive to my readers and she took it personally and accused me of attacking her. I am honestly tired of walking on eggshells when I’m working with women because I don’t know when they will flip out or when they’re going to twist my words or when they’re going to fire me. It shouldn’t be this hard. Instead of supporting each other, we tear each other apart!
I’m not generalizing or saying that this is how all female bosses behave but so far this is what my experience has been and it’s time to change that narrative. It’s time to get over the ‘Devil Wears Prada’ syndrome and just create a healthier work environment for those around us.
It’s time to stop glorifying being the bitchy boss because that means we’re strong, assertive and outspoken. You can be strong without putting others down, you can be assertive without making your employees feel stupid and you can be outspoken without making your employees feel like they don’t have a voice.
Respect and appreciation go a long way and they will get you further than dirty looks, harsh words and not-so-subtle jabs ever will.
P.S. You’re not Meryl Streep!