And that my friends is a question I have wrestled with more than once in my professional career. It’s the ultimate love-hate relationship.
And this is why. Hands up if you’ve ever had a conversation about the merits of a top loader vs a front-loading washing machine. Or what about whether Napisan or bleach is the answer to getting that white shirt really white again. Asleep yet? And let’s not forget the obligatory poo conversations for an assortment of little people.
I think you get my drift. I find myself joining in these conversations but in my head I’m thinking ‘beam me up Scotty’.
And if it’s January everyone is on the obligatory diet due to the imagined weight packed on over the holidays. Heaven help you if you have the audacity to bring in biscuits or eat a donut at your desk during this sacred month as I did a few weeks back.
I thought everyone would be a bit more relaxed because it was February. Diets never work right, so I figured everyone would have fallen hard off the wagon by then. But no – I was chastised by the office matriarch for the sin of temptation. I am woman – I will make you fat. That it was my life’s work to ruin her chance of thinness.
In an all male office they probably just slap each other on the back and say ‘enjoying that you fat bastard’ as everyone piles in for a second helping. Now that is the kind of office I could live with. One where I could relax and have a biscuit with my cuppa without any comment or justification from either party.
Right so now that I’ve got that off one my chest I will say one thing for all female offices and for women employees in general. In my experience I have found them to be harder-working, more productive, more focused, more competent, better communicators and they make better managers. No question.
Most of the women in my office have young or school-age children. I don’t have any kids myself but over the years I have concluded that far from being unreliable employees (as some employers tend to think); women with kids who also work are often exemplary employees. They are fantastic multi-taskers, are highly productive and generally have their nose to the grindstone all day. And the stereotype of all female offices being bitchy and competitive could not be further from the truth. This is my experience.
And believe me there have been times in my life when it feels like I’ve had to cover for a conga-line of women going off on maternity leave, one after the other. Their duties picked up by others often for no additional $$. I can’t lie, at times I’ve resented it. But despite that, over the years I have seen how hard they work when they return, how thrilled they are to be back in the workplace and how hard they work to prove they are worth it. I’ve employed women returning who’ve had a long time away from the workplace to raise their children. And in some instances have recommended them over other candidates because I can see they just want to be given an opportunity again. In short these women have earned my respect. So putting the poo conversations to one side – all female work places can be fantastic.
But for overall balance, mixed gender offices are definitely more fun. I generally like to have a scattering of boys around the place. And even a few men.
So all-girl offices, what do you reckon – nightmare or nivana? What’s your experience.