Saturday, August 21, 2010

Would You Rather...

I've always been a something of a slacker. Even in elementary school I just did enough work to get by. Of course, elementary school was easy. Once I hit high school and had to take Latin and algebra I had to use my brain a little more.

In college my boyfriend and I sat down with the catalog to find me a major that required no math whatsoever, and that's how I ended up with a BS in communications. Writing was the perfect solution--no muscle required except the big one on top of my neck.

Ambition has never been my guiding light. I'm content to do my job, get along with my colleagues, gossip in the kitchen, play solitaire on my computer, collect my paycheck and go home.

I guess you could say I've never been on the "boss track."

But I've had a lot of bosses in my day. Some great, some that were vomited onto earth when a chasm leading straight to hell split apart for a nanosecond.

The great ones were all men. The worst were women.

I don't think I'm the only woman out there who prefers a manly boss. They're unemotional. They don't comment on your hair or hold grudges if you forget to inquire how their son's oral surgery went.

They don't laud you one day and seemingly loathe you the next.

Men are just easier to deal with. I have a woman boss now, and after a very trying year we're finally in a good place. But I trust her about as far as I could throw her size 6 ass. (The same ass she describes as HUGE.)

I think it's harder for women, especially when they're near the same age, to operate on a boss/employee level. It's just easier dealing with a man.

Men don't want to be your friends. They don't want to share recipes or makeup tips.

They just want to get the job done.

But I open the question to the floor:

Would you rather work for a man or a woman?

(And yes, I realize that the answer is that you don't want to work at all.)


  1. i am a woman boss.

    i don't comment on anyone's hair. i don't hold grudges. i don't talk about the size of my ass, and i don't share recipes or makeup tips.

    being in social services, the overwhelming majority of my bosses have also been women. i wouldn't say all of them have been great, but if they were bad, it wasn't because of their gender - it was because they had poor management skills.

    i think you've just had bad bosses who happen to be women! because really, there's nothing in one's gender that makes them poor bosses - unless it's perhaps a lack of proper support and development to become competent managers in the first place, because they're women.

  2. Jen--see, slacker that I am I totally forgot that a competent woman boss was bound to read this.

  3. I would say that my worst boss ever was a woman, and my best boss ever was a woman. So...take that how you will. I have had 27 jobs. Most of them were bullshit.

    Currently, my big boss is a man, and he is crazy and very very fast. But my direct boss, the person I answer to, is a woman and I love her. I want to be just like her except not a lesbian.

  4. I'm a boss, and of course, a chick. I can be tough because I am a go getter and have an expectation that the people around me, above me, and under me will continue to grow and evolve their jobs and skills. Unlike many of the men I have worked for, I really want to see women fulfill their potential and try new things, even things they might not think they have a talent for. I work with mostly women but I can say if I worked with men, I might be biased toward helping the women. Not that I would hamper the dudes, but I could easily see me doing extra mentoring for the women.

    Though I communicate much more like what is traditionally thought of as male(focus on solving problems rather than just listening)I try to modify my communication to fit the employee. Some people I can matter of factly say, knock it off, or do better... Some employees are ultra sensitive and I try to make the delivery of criticism a bit softer while holding everyone to the same standard. Even though I am tough and have tough standards for everyone(including my children), I do find myself sometimes afraid to be direct or straightforward or unapologetically irritated without thinking I may be percived as a "bitch" rather than tough or exacting or precise.

    My favorite ever boss was a dude from New Zealand. I didn't like him best because he was a dude though. I like him because he had a potty mouth and a wicked sense of humor. He also helped me grow and learn and challenged me to be awesome. Sometimes he sucked though too. In college, my favorite professor(like a boss for me) was a woman. She was brilliant and funny and made me want to strive for excellance. So I guess, male or female, I gravitate towrds leaders who inspire me thru their own actions.

  5. I've worked for myself for the past 15 years. That might cause a person to think that means I like working for a woman - because I am one.
    But the reality is that I'm the best and worst boss I've ever had, and the best and worst employee I've ever had.
    During this time I've cheated myself, lied to myself and worked myself into the ground. I've also encouraged, supported, loved, cherished and pushed myself into unimaginably wonderful territory.
    Bottom line: Whether I'm in "boss" or "employee" mode, what always makes or breaks a day is whether or not I'm willing to live from the middle of my integrity. My gender has never made a difference.

  6. Here, here Mongo. I struggled with what to say but you said it for me. I've been a bad boss when I wasn't living from my integrity. And I've been the best boss when I was.

    Which begs the question posed by The Elder. Are women bosses more often that not, setting aside their integrity? Not out of malicious intent but more so because we need to run home and focus on other, perhaps more important endeavors?

  7. My face still burns with embarrassment on sleepless nights sometimes when memories of what an awful, awful boss I was in my twenties rise up to haunt me again. I wasn't in the least prepared for leading a team, and was all touchy feely friendly and let's all discuss everything and participate. And my team was all, fuck you, tell us what to do and leave us alone, you're the one being paid to make decisions. It was a nightmare, and yes, this particular way of being a crap boss is, I think, pretty much a woman thing.
    On the other hand, I couldn't hold a candle in the crap boss stakes to the worst boss I ever had, a total and utter wanker who had no idea what he was doing and persecuted anyone on his team who showed the slightest sign that they did. Harrassment, favouritism and confusion were the norm, and the universiy had to pay out compensation more than once for unjustified dismissal.
    Two different approaches to dealing with (or failing to deal with) insecurity, I guess.

  8. Good points. So maybe, both men and women can be inept, or insecure or badly trained or poorly managed themselves. I also think, since men and women are typically(or at least have been until recently) raised along gender lines, when we fail, we fail in ways typically male or female. I had one female boss that I loathed. She wasn't a bad person, just ineffective. Anytime she needed to deliver criticism, she would couch it like

    "now you are doing really well with abcd, and I know you've been trying, but..."

    This drove me crazy, I just wanted her to tell me what to do or not do in a concise matter of fact way. SHe was probably trying to be gentle but it actual made the criticism feel worse.

    But my worst male boss was just bad in different ways. He was beyond rigid and he was so insecure he had difficulty letting people do their jobs. Also, he would create chaos, then step in and fix his whole mess and act the hero. Also, his temper was explosive and unpredictable, so we all just walked on egg shells around him and quietly looked for another job.

    I would agree with Elder that female bosses are more likely to try to be your friends. I think women naturally want to relate to each other and find commonality, men tend to be more singularly motivated. This is a great trait of women but it can go wrong to when it sets up alliances or favoritism or the highschool shit that is absolutely destructive in the workplace.

  9. I've had two horrid boss experiences, one with a man, one with a woman. I can't really generalize about female bosses, none of the traits that made me hate my female boss were traits that I would necessarily associate with one gender or the other.

    So I don't care if my future bosses are male or female, I just don't want them to be dicks.