Avoiding hanging out with the losers are you?
Joan Collins in the book she co-authored with Rachel Dempsey ‘ What works for women at work’ talks about women who disassociate themselves from being identified with other women at work as a form of navigating sexism in the workplace. She phrased is as not wanting to hang out with the losers.
I’m seeing variations of it as I do this work. A woman in a company where I was facilitating a women in leadership development program indicated to me that she didn’t join the program because she felt it was demeaning for women to need a special intervention for development as if they are inferior to the men they went through higher education with as equals.
I also see it with women who would say that everyone is struggling in the workplace because of the competitive and often toxic nature of the current corporate climate. Although true, this is a way of protecting themselves against the negative stereotype of being seen as a whining victim. This also shows up as upholding resilience as the holy grail of success in the workplace.
The problems with this attitude is the inability to understand that the fact that you don’t identify with a certain marginalised group in the workplace doesn’t mean you will not be treated like one.
It is also not being mindful of the fact that there are a number of factors that contributes to your experience in the workplace and how your environment – people around negatively interacts with your identity is one of them.
That although we all have to agree that the current prevailing corporate culture is unsustainable and difficult for all of its participants. It is for different and sometimes intersecting reasons. We all fall within a continuum of privilege and as a result are not experienced the same level of difficulty.
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