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I'm petrified of working for a female boss.

(133 Posts)
earlyrise Thu 06-Oct-16 21:29:58

I recently accepted a new job and my line manager changed from male to female after I signed the contract. To put it bluntly - I'm gutted.

Despite being relatively young, I'm a skilled professional with nearly 20 years' experience in my (male-dominated) field and have risen to a good level within my career at a fairly good pace. I have a solid reputation among my peers as being diligent, reliable, popular and most importantly able to deliver. I'm a boss too and I really try to be aware of my attitude and behaviour with my team and I think I've done pretty well on this one.

Despite my success, I feel I've suffered at the hands of the female bosses who have appeared in my life. Without fail, when it's time to re-structure (which happens every six months these days) I've either been demoted or let go pretty soon (once three times in two years by the same boss). Despite this I've never received any negative feedback and they've always provided fantastic references once I was gone.

Over the years, I've tried all the tactics - be quiet, be friendly, not challenge, be more visible, be less visible, not complain, do extra work, wear flat shoes, give compliments, promote her among her peers, not be too confident, be less good, not promote my achievements etc...but nothing seemed to work for any of them. I gave up on my career and left my job to be unemployed.

When I reflect on my experiences over the last 20 years, there seems to be a pattern. The male bosses in my career, in comparison have mentored, promoted and supported me and done everything in their power to sponsor my success. It's been a different world and was able to be myself.

Is there anything I can do to make it better this time? I'm so scared.

twattymctwatterson Thu 06-Oct-16 21:37:01

Yes. Stop making assumptions about your new manager based on gender and just do your job well. Wore flat shoes?! YABU

TapStepBallChange Thu 06-Oct-16 21:37:51

Stop generalising and steroetyping might help. I've managed people for donkeys years, the whole "I don't like working for women" is one of the most frustrating things I can come across as a manager. Why do you behave differently, worry about what shoes you wear when working for a woman, stop promoting yourself etc? Be yourself, the overthinking won't be helping. The restructuring etc may have nothing to do with the fact your manager at the time is a woman, you may be looking for linkages that aren't there. I get really good feedback from my teams and direct reports in company wide surveys, and better than peers.

Stop thinking about how to work for a woman, and start thinking about how to work for the person in front of you, regardless of their gender

IrenetheQuaint Thu 06-Oct-16 21:39:05

You're over-generalising! See what she's like as a person before jumping to conclusions.

PurpleDaisies Thu 06-Oct-16 21:39:49

Are you serious? You're putting your previous bad experiences down to them being female?

clumsyduck Thu 06-Oct-16 21:40:18

Wore flat shoes ?! confused Christ

How do you know what your new boss will be like ??

i don't get how you make that jump ??

camena Thu 06-Oct-16 21:40:51

The strongest sponsor (and best boss) I've had in my career has been female. I've also had fabulous male bosses, dreadful male bosses and dreadful female bosses. I don't for a moment think that any of this has to do with whether any of them did or didn't have a Y chromosome. I think some of them were inspiring leaders and some of them were just stupid and one in particular was a psychopath. But their ability to lead was related to their personality not their sex.

I think if you take your post and remove all references to male and female and just start to see people as people you'll be getting a better perspective on your career to date and also better working relationships going forward.

What do flat shoes have to do with it?

Truckingalong Thu 06-Oct-16 21:42:00

Are you attractive OP? Is that what you're not saying? <head tilt>

AnyFucker Thu 06-Oct-16 21:42:32

The problem is yours. Deal with it.

APlaceOnTheCouch Thu 06-Oct-16 21:42:35

You're not sounding like a professional with 20 years of experience. You're sounding like someone who is sexist and defeatist.
You can't change the sex of your boss so you need to change your attitude. Maybe some counselling would help to challenge all the negative preconceptions you have about women in authority.

Vvlgari Thu 06-Oct-16 21:42:47

Blimey. I've had female managers for about 75% of my career in a traditionally male-dominated-but-improving industry. I've never felt the need to censor my own shoes hmm or that I've been in any way disadvantaged by having a female manager.

Sure, there are some bad female bosses out there, and there are some bad male ones. Doing the whole doom-laden 'I can't work for women, they all hate me' line suggests to me that it's you who is the problem rather than them.

OverAndAbove Thu 06-Oct-16 21:43:31

If you typically differentiate based on gender, it's bound to show in your team working and general attitude. That might be part of the reason you keep getting demoted or let go. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but it is a weakness, particularly as you say you are a manager too.

Think of your new manager as a person not a woman. Hopefully that's what she's doing for you...

SwedishEdith Thu 06-Oct-16 21:44:10

The "problem" is made up.

Chippednailvarnishing Thu 06-Oct-16 21:44:44

Despite this I've never received any negative feedback and they've always provided fantastic references once I was gone

I'm guessing they don't want the litigation that follows telling an employer that their new employee has a persecution complex and doesn't like to work for women.

TheNewSchmoo Thu 06-Oct-16 21:45:18

Scared? You are being utterly ridiculous.

The worst boss I ever had was a woman. My current - fantastic - boss is a woman. Don't be daft.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 06-Oct-16 21:45:41

You're a misogynist. Whether you're a troll or this OP is real

You've had good and bad bosses and you attribute their respective fitness to their sex. That is the essence of prejudice. I've only had good female bosses. Does that mean women are better bosses? No. It means that I have had some good bosses that happen to be female.

Funnily enough the worst boss I've had was a very poorly promoted man who thought it was fine and dandy for female front line staff to be called, "cunt" and threatened.

DonaldStott Thu 06-Oct-16 21:46:07

Yadbu. What the hell have flat shoes got to do with it? So what you are saying is you change your personality to act in a way your female bosses would view you in a favourable light? How bizarre. Have you ever thought that maybe you come across as fake and insincere and maybe that is why you haven't got ahead with 'the wimmin'. You could try, you know, being yourself hmm

TheCatsMother99 Thu 06-Oct-16 21:46:17


Sendraboots Thu 06-Oct-16 21:48:04

whenever you see or talk to your new boss, pretend she's mr blobby that will help

PalaceResident Thu 06-Oct-16 21:48:13

I couldn't read the OP to the end it was making me SO cross!! Sort yourself out angry

imwithspud Thu 06-Oct-16 21:48:21

You're being utterly ridiculous. Can't quite believe what I've just read to be honestconfused


Vvlgari Thu 06-Oct-16 21:49:36

This reminds me of those women who say they don't have any female friends and get on much better with men because women are all sooo two-faced.

eggyface Thu 06-Oct-16 21:51:25

How many bosses have you had over 20 years? Even if it's one a year that's 20. If your industry is male dominated maybe that's 6 or 7 women at most. How can you construct your opinion of all women in management based on such slender anecdata?

DonaldStott Thu 06-Oct-16 21:52:13

Ah yes Vv you've hit the nail on the head there I reckon.

mudandmayhem01 Thu 06-Oct-16 21:52:20

4 bosses in the last 16 years, one horrible man, one slightly scary but amazing woman, one pleasant yet ineffective man and a pleasant yet slightly more effective woman. Does any of this attributes have anything to do with gender, of course not! Yabu

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