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AIBU to be sick of privileged, older white men - join my tiny rant!

430 replies

windygallows · 04/11/2018 10:29

Yup I'm probably unreasonable but I just want to put out there how sick I am of working with privileged, older white men - 40 plus and often 'posh'.

They dominate the upper echelons of the organization I work in as well as all the organizations I liaise with. Some are very good but many aren't due their seniority nor are they that smart - but they are well spoken and confident so whatever they say comes across as read. Their smuggery is driven by their high self regard and knowledge that they are 'where they belong'.

And despite their seniority they are often mollycoddled and supported by (usually female) PAs and completely enabled by wives at home who have been supporting them for 20+ years to the point that they take all the support for granted. They are so enabled that all they have to do is go to work and everything else is sorted for them - it's kind of a carefree oblivion they hold and thus they are completely oblivious to the challenges that others (e.g. women) face in their day to day lives.

I see this male privilege everywhere and everyday. In my boss who is completely self absorbed and with a family set up that enables and supports the fact that he is Number one. In other work scenarios, like when I was interviewed last week by a panel of important men + one woman from HR brought in to balance out the panel. I see 'important white men' driving fast in their cars, beeping up behind me in the fast lane as they need to go to their important meeting. Male privilege is everywhere and am sick of it.

From age 50 (my age) the number of women in the workforce starts to drop significantly and I'm wondering if it's because they're just sick of working with the men I describe!

I can't be the only person to feel this way. Please join me in this tiny rant!

OP posts:

MrsReacher1 · 04/11/2018 11:12

And you think your OP is neither racist nor sexist I'm sure.


Feefeetrixabelle · 04/11/2018 11:13

Keep plodding in op. Well behaved women seldom make history. While I don’t agree with some of what your saying I will stand by your right to feel the way you do. I think a lot of the problem stems from women’s perception of themselves and their place in the world which isn’t women’s fault it’s a cultural issue.


Norugratsatall · 04/11/2018 11:14

I totally agree with you OP. In the 80s, I worked for a large multinational company. Almost completely dominated by white middle-class, middle-aged men fully supported by their female secretaries and wives at home. I remember once a conversation about one such male who had been offered a promotion as an expat in another country associated with one of our brands. He was unable to take it because his wife refused to move, citing the upheaval for her and their children. She was unanimously condemned, the FD even said she 'needed a good slap'. Such was the culture in those days, that most people agreed she needed this 'slap' to keep her in line. Shocking! And even more shocking and depressing to know that little has changed in 30 years.


namechanged0983 · 04/11/2018 11:14

@MrsReacher1 how so?


Lepetitpiggy · 04/11/2018 11:14

I would agree. All of the management team where I work are white middle aged men. I went for a management promotion as I have easily the skills and experience and knowledge - got down to the last two and, surprise (not to anyone) an external, white man was appointed. Yes he has some experience of the sector and yes, he's a nice chap, but it was fairly clear from day one it would happen.


Ofthread · 04/11/2018 11:19

I deeply agree.


Ofthread · 04/11/2018 11:19

I mean, how many male PAs are there?


Karrwomannghia · 04/11/2018 11:20

Maybe the men are scared of being exposed by a woman that can do their job in half the time Grin


WorraLiberty · 04/11/2018 11:20

I suppose it depends on the area you live in and the field you work in

But IME and in my area, the men you describe are mostly middle class and Asian.

Does that make a difference that they're not white?


RitaFairclough · 04/11/2018 11:20

I have seen this first hand.

My husband and I both worked full time until about two years ago when I was made redundant. I now work from home and consequently he doesn’t have to think about drop offs and pick ups, or being home to cover my work commitments, or anything like that.

The effect on his career has been obvious. He has been promoted, had a big pay rise and a very welcome bonus. It’s startling.

I am actually much happier now and my career is going better too, so it works well for us. I just think it’s very interesting to see how having that support at home can have such a positive effect.


RyderWhiteSwan · 04/11/2018 11:21

I mean I'm going over old ground here - this is the stuff feminists were complaining about in the 1970s -- I'm just miffed that it doesn't feel that much has changed.
Indeed. A read through many threads on the Relationships boards will show that many many women are still doing the lions share of domestic work and child care as well as working outside the home.
It is still engrained in society that partnered/married women should still do the bulk of home and child stuff, while the man stops work full stop once paid work ends for the day. Once he's home he puts his feet up while the woman cooks, cleans and tends children. It enrages me that women enable this attitude.


Karrwomannghia · 04/11/2018 11:23

It’s the shitty maternity terms as well. part time working is seen as second rate too.


GnomeDePlume · 04/11/2018 11:25

What I tend to see is the earlier stages. If a woman has a baby it is assumed that she is less committed to her job, that she wont be interested in opportunities to progress. She will get overlooked when career enhancing opportunities come along.

When a man has a baby it is assumed that he will take his career more seriously, that he will be interested in opportunities to progress. He will be chosen when career enhancing opportunities come along.

It is the assumption which causes the problem. Senior managers slip into 1950s thinking even though they have a career hungry junior woman sat in front of them just back from a short maternity leave keen to get on. They look past her to the new dad even though he is arriving late and leaving early and catching up on sleep inbetween.

We had an issue with a junior manager who was not in any way pulling his weight. I asked his boss if she would have put up with him if he was female. She agreed that she wouldnt.

If a woman wants to leave early to do something to do with her children everybody rolls their eyes even if it is the first time she has ever done it. If a man does it he is applauded even if it is every week and results in colleagues getting let down.

Not that I'm bitter or anything!


Maidsrus · 04/11/2018 11:25

Of the top 33 highest paid in my company 7 are womwn. The top 2 women with the most power have inexplicably surrounded themselves by white male incompetents. Really highly paid undefined posts with vague responsibilities. Disappointing Hmm

But in general throughout the organisation it’s the women who will get the job done with little fuss and the men don’t put themselves out. There are exceptions - one white middle class bloke who is very competent and works hard perhaps interestingly has a disability. He was promoted to one of the vague roles then returned to his old role but on the same salary - he is paid £30k more than women in similar roles, but at least he can get the job done unlike the rest of the white male privileged.

The white male privileged all tend to be based in London tooHmm


FVFrog · 04/11/2018 11:26

Yep, totally agree op And mine just walked out after 25 years of marriage. High flying career, no idea which dentist his kids go to, or more sadly, how to relate to them any more. I continued to facilitate his relationship with them for their sake not his.


placemats · 04/11/2018 11:30

I've been a PA in a former life (before children) and no way would I have accommodated any nonsense about personal life other than to rearrange a meeting if there was a family crisis. I was perhaps lucky but I don't think so. One was gay and the other very private about his personal life. I do understand that since the 90s things have changed for the worse.



Unfinishedkitchen · 04/11/2018 11:33

I agree OP because I had a boss just a like this who complained about other people not being as committed i.e present as him. He conveniently forgot that he had a PA, an EA and a SAHM. The arrogance was astonishing. He is far from the only one I’ve seen. Many of these guys aren’t as brilliant as they make out but have the swagger and polish to give others confidence in them.

However, as Dylan once sang, the times, they are changing. Two of the current SLT members are just under 40 and live in London which means their wives also have to work to pay the mortgage. They have to share pick ups and drops off and often have switched into trainers and are out of the door faster than most of the women. They have that well known slightly panicked look at 5pm when a meeting is overrunning and they know they have to get away.


SilentIsla · 04/11/2018 11:33

PAs thinking they are in a decision-making position!? Amusing.


AmIRightOrAMeringue · 04/11/2018 11:33

I agree OP

I think things are slowly changing. There are more men now working condensed hours to support their family more for example.

I do think as women there are things we can do. We can stop facilitating entitled men by not doing everything for them and making sure there is fairer division of labour at home, BEFORE we have children with them (as it's much harder to leave afterwards)

We can stop having the attitude that 'I was pregnant and gave birth, therefore I get to make all major parenting decisions and I want 100pc of the paternity leave'. I have seen the latter said lots of times about the low take up of paternity by men - I think a lot of it is the men not wanting to, but if they were encouraged by women to use it, and men were regularly absent for months at a time in the workplace due to family reasons, then I think it can only help equality in the workplace

I think companies have a responsibility to change things as well by policies that are family friendly, flexible working, and encourage women to go for higher jobs.

Ultimately, companies that are more diverse, have better results (in general) so companies that stick with the same middle class white men managing them will ultimately be left behind. Shareholders care more about results than continuation of the boys club and those that adapt and change will survive


ashtrayheart · 04/11/2018 11:34

I work for a county council and I agree with you.
Years ago when I was struggling with the mental health (hospitalisation) of my now ex husband and young children, I asked my manager if i could borrow some leave from the next financial year (which was approaching), as I had no childcare (my MIL was taken ill, who normally provided it). This is allowed subject to senior manager discretion.
Senior manager, the type you describe, said no on the grounds that 'he always made sure he kept some leave back for emergencies'. This man who had a wife at home and had probably never had to sort out a childcare emergency in his life. This story aside, my organisation is full of these men who have no clue about anything outside their own bubble.


LakieLady · 04/11/2018 11:35

I feel your pain, OP, I used to work somewhere with a similar culture.

My friend was only woman on the management team. One morning, one of the public-school tossers was moaning that the baby had been playing up and he'd had to iron his own shirt.

She smiled sweetly, and said "I wish I had a wife. I have to iron all my own shirts".

They were nearly all lawyers, and I was shocked to hear how they dismissed things like staff going on mat leave as "a bloody nuisance" or a legitimate problem raised by junior staff, almost entirely female, as "the bloody women are moaning again".

They didn't reserve their contempt for women, they were also homophobic. One was on a diversity course with my friend, and he proudly announced that he didn't have a problem with anti-discrimination rules for women, ethnic groups or people with disabilities, but in his eyes homosexuality was a sin and if homosexuals were discriminated against, it was because that was their penance for sinning. He was the organisation's employment law specialist. Shock This was early-mid 90s.

Roll on 5 years and the organisation had a female CEO. There was a massive culture change and most of them took early retirement.


arethereanyleftatall · 04/11/2018 11:35

I totally agree op.
I had a boss who was promoted way above his station, simply because he was lucky enough that his competitor (and far superior for the role) was on maternity leave when the role came up. He was absolutely useless.


windygallows · 04/11/2018 11:36

I love #IamgoldenPomBear. I'd love to see this trending!!

OP posts:

BarefootMe · 04/11/2018 11:39

This workplace sounds terrible, and as though nothing has changed since the 1960s or 70s. It does not sound a good place for you to work OP, so if you would not consider moving to another organisation with a more enlightened recruitment policy, perhaps you could find other like-minded women where you currently work, and maybe together approach HR re. getting more diversity. The problem with many unenlightened employers is that they make the classic recruiter's mistake of hiring clones of themselves, hence the continued dominance of white middle-aged men. Good luck OP. I feel your frustration. These issues need to be raised, so thank you.


lisasimpsonssaxophone · 04/11/2018 11:41

Completely agree, OP. It’s not bitter or sexist (or racist Hmm) to point out what is a very obvious pattern that occurs over and over in all kinds of workplace.

My company is absolutely dominated by incredibly smart, talented, experienced women who must make up about 80% of the workforce. And yet our senior management team is entirely male: attractive, charismatic, wealthy white men who all went to the most elite private schools. They ALL seem to waltz in from totally unrelated industries and just get handed Director jobs with no actual experience of our field. And they get paid ten times as much as most of the women who are working their arses off to ‘climb the ladder’ like we’ve been told we’re supposed to. There is simply NO WAY a woman or a person of colour with so little relevant experience would ever get handed those jobs. What’s that expression? ‘We will only truly have achieved equality when women are allowed to be as mediocre as men.’ It’s so, so true.

I have nothing against our Director personally and think he is good at his job in his own way, but it is a simple fact that he has an army of talented women making his job a success. He has a whole team of (female) PAs and assistants who do everything from organising his meetings to preparing his presentations for him. Most days he literally just has to go where they tell him and read the notes they make for him. And of course he has a wife who stays at home raising their children so he never has to leave early to do a school pick-up or stay home to look after a sick child.

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