A straight-laced female friend of mine has been working at her job as a manager for three years. She has been trying to get along with the all male upper management and be included in the informal “Boys Club” where the real work of the day gets done in brief men’s room discussions and during a liquored up lunch hour. My friend is the only female manager — but she doesn’t feel the “ins”… “included” or “involved” — she feels isolated in one corner while her male bosses seem so far away.
Then the other day she sent an innocuous email to her direct boss:
We’re meeting Laura and Debra and the rest in two weeks. We’ll meet in Bill’s office and “have this out.”
Her boss immediately replied:
We’ll make ’em bawl for their mommies… they’ll cry uncle and their fist’ll miss in the air around us!
My friend called me and asked me to interpret her boss’ response
because it was so outside the normal, the ordinary and the expected.
I told her:
He’s kidding around with you. He’s saying you’ll join
together to give them a hard time and make them cry and make them hate
you and live in fear of you!
Oh. Okay. That’s a good thing, right? What do I say back?
Yes, it’s a good thing. You need to say something like, “I’ll kick Debra in the shin; you twist Laura’s arm to make her cry.”
My friend trusted me and sent her reply.
A moment later her boss replied with:
She wondered if that was a good response or not.
I told her it was perfect and expected and I also said:
Welcome to the “Boys Club!” You’re in! I know you’re in
unfamiliar territory, but you’ll do great now that you’re a member of
the loop. All those things your husband does that makes you crazy when
he tries to be funny are now an ongoing part of your workday! Congrats!
My friend replied by sighing.
I chucked her up:
You’ll do fine. If you don’t know what to say to a comment
like that from your boss in the future, and you can’t ask someone for
an interpretation, just reply with “Go Team!” and that will have the
same effect of bonding and understanding.
She gave me back a smile and a shout:
How do you feel about these gender gymnastics in the workplace?
Is there a “Boys Club” that doesn’t really include women where you work?
Is there such a thing as a “Womens Club” in your workplace that excludes men?
How and why do these clubs get started?