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Aibu? Sexism in the office

(90 Posts)
TheMysteryCat Thu 08-Nov-12 20:12:08

From a woman perpetuating the myth that women in professional industries should be old-fashioned, tea making, telephone answering, tidiers...

It's driving me insane. Small professional company with a female secretary in her mid fifties, a group of men ( professionals and juniors) and me (managerial, but not her manager).

She seems to think that just because I'm female ("the men can't make tea, or answer phones"), that I should be the de facto skivvy if she's unavailable. It's driving me crackers.

I really want to tell her to sod off and that neither of us should be chasing round making teas and coffees, washing up, tidying up or answer their phone calls.

Would I be unreasonable to try and change her attitude? There is btw an office junior... But he's a man, so exempt! Bah!

CailinDana Thu 08-Nov-12 20:14:01

Nah her attitude won't change, just ignore her.

WorriedBetty Thu 08-Nov-12 20:14:57

Bet she gets men to lift boxes too, bitch grin

TheMysteryCat Thu 08-Nov-12 20:16:41

betty yup! And tells me off when I do... "The boys should be moving that"

Also irritating as arse.

catgirl1976 Thu 08-Nov-12 20:16:55

Let her carry on as she is, but make sure you don't behave the same way.

Hold your cup out at passing male colleagues and say "a tea would be nice Dave, thanks". Make sure she sees it. Do make the odd tea for other people - that's just manners. But don't always do it.

DameFanny Thu 08-Nov-12 20:18:58

A female manager at work a couple of years ago was looking for someone to make tea for her boss for a meeting as she wouldn't be there. She asked us all to be fair - and I was the only other female there - but I just said 'i haven't made tea as part of work duties for 20 years now and I'm not about to start' or something similar and she looked genuinely confused...

TheMysteryCat Thu 08-Nov-12 20:19:48

I'd love to do that catgirl but she also will only permit tea twice a day at regimented times and tells people off who break her rule (this not a management rule).

And don't get me started on her biscuit rationing...

Mintyy Thu 08-Nov-12 20:20:38

I doubt her age has got anything to do with it!

CailinDana Thu 08-Nov-12 20:23:02

She sounds like a nut. I doubt she'll listen to reason tbh.

TheMysteryCat Thu 08-Nov-12 20:24:14

minty I think she thinks it does. As far as pecking orders go, it's men of all ages and status first, then her because she is older and then me, because I'm younger than her. And young women must learn their place... Cough, splutter.

MotherfuckingMorrisMan Thu 08-Nov-12 20:24:32

Why are you putting up with it then?

You are a manager (albeit not hers) yet you are letting her dictate things which should be stamped down either by her manager, and if he or she won't do it, general management should set the tone.

So don't listen to her re drinks or biscuits ffs. Make a cup of tea at OOH 10.53 tomorrow morning and when she says something have a quiet word and tell her that her 'rules' hold no sway.

Next time she tries to 'mother' the men in the office, again speak to her. Don't do it in public or make her look foolish, but don't put up with it.

catgirl1976 Thu 08-Nov-12 20:25:25


I would have to break all of her rules, all of the time grin

I hate rules at the best of times. Rules made up about biscuits by bonkers people with no authority to make rules would just send me into a frenzy of unauthorised penguin munching

Tell her there are new rules. Yours. And then munch a Foxes Classic in her face at 11.43am. grin

justmyview Thu 08-Nov-12 20:26:32

Maybe it's part of her job role, depends how she was recruited. If she's happy to do it, I'd say you should leave her to get on with that, but I agree that if it's not part of your role, then you shouldn't do it

Mintyy Thu 08-Nov-12 20:26:46

Why is her age relevant at all? She seems to be one of those women who habitually defer to men. But being in her mid-50s is not relevant.

MotherfuckingMorrisMan Thu 08-Nov-12 20:26:51

I don't think it is necessarily to do with age - she may though have been at work there for several years so is very settled, to put it nicely, or has that tiresome proprietorial air that some sectretaries or PAs seem to specialise in.

TheMysteryCat Thu 08-Nov-12 20:27:41

mfmorrismen I really should! Is there the office equivalent of "did you mean to be so rude?" For this scenario. I need a few choice phrases!

MotherfuckingMorrisMan Thu 08-Nov-12 20:28:23

FWIW I know administrators in their 20s who act like this.

TheMysteryCat Thu 08-Nov-12 20:30:26

catgirl genius!

mfmorrismen tiresome proprietorial air is bang on.

MotherfuckingMorrisMan Thu 08-Nov-12 20:31:05

Mystery re the tea I would just look hmm at her if she starts dictating about tea times and say 'I am having a cup of tea' as if it is something ridiculous.

Be very nice and non confrontational - she may be the type to love a row and an excuse to chunter - but start to stand your ground.

SHRIIIEEEKPoolingBearBlood Thu 08-Nov-12 20:32:53

"Make a cup of tea at OOH 10.53 tomorrow morning"
Yeah you go girl!! Live a little!

Felicitywascold Thu 08-Nov-12 20:36:20

OP, you MUST start a revolution. Eat biscuits when you want to, refuse to stick to her schedule. Get the office junior to make a round of teas at an unauthorised time. If she complains, simply smile, laugh and tell her not to be so silly.

catgirl1976 Thu 08-Nov-12 20:38:00

tiresome proprietorial air

I work with one of those. She is grades and grades below me, but seemed to think being PA to the Senior Partner made her above me.

Coincidentaly enough, I broke her out of that little misconception by getting her to make me a tea every morning. By putting my cup on her desk and saying "tea, no sugar please xx" in a nice, but firm tone. grin

Soon lost that chippy air..........

Probably spat in my tea though but hey ho smile

WorriedBetty Thu 08-Nov-12 20:44:01

Is it me or does the phrase 'eat a fox's biscuit right in front of her face' sound sexual?! shock I think that you should bring in a nice bone china cup and saucer and say 'management grade tea-time is five minutes after junior staff. White and none please and biscuit at 45 degree angle from north on the right Nice or Rich Tea, no brown ones'

that should keep her 1950s style happy!

twofingerstoGideon Thu 08-Nov-12 20:46:33

OP, Did you mean to sound so rude about older women?

MotherfuckingMorrisMan Thu 08-Nov-12 20:46:35

Some SOME NOT ALL PAs take on the persona it seems of the person that they are a PA for. It is very annoying when they try and 'chivvy' people along or start dictating.

There is nothing more bloody annoying though in offices where there is a culture of making rounds of tea. It is so timewasting. Everyone should make their own tea, and answer their own phones for that matter (or divert to mobile or answerphone where appropriate).

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