When Angela began working for a top notch advertising firm in San Francisco, she was thrilled her new boss was a woman. Incensed by the jerkish behavior of her male bosses in the past, she presumed working for a female would be a more rewarding experience.
“Unfortunately it was hell from day one,” the 26-six-year-old reveals. “She was in her fifties and I didn’t have a lot of experience. She gave me shit on a daily basis, telling me I didn’t know a thing about the real world and didn’t have to fight to get my position like she did.”
The endless berating eventually took its toll and Angela ended up leaving after eight months, despite her love for the work. But, you don’t have to suffer the same consequences. The trick is understanding that your boss – man or woman – is human and prone to his/her own hang-ups.
Furthermore, both sexes pick at various behavioral quirks in the office, some of which could land you in the corporate doghouse. So before you sigh over getting passed on for yet another raise, here are the Scandalous top five rules for adapting to the distinctive business practices of both male and female bosses.
1IF YOUR BOSS IS A MAN
Rule #1: Don’t Flaunt Your Goodies. He’s well aware you’re hot with a ton of charm to boot. Don’t rub it in his face by wearing revealing clothes, glossy lipstick and Veronica Lake-esque hair swept over one eye. It might win you a few lusty glances, but what good is that when it also kills your shot at a management position? Even if your boss makes your panties wet, don’t go there! Save your sex appeal for co-workers or underlings.
Rule #2: Never Let Him See You Cry. The ultimate kiss of death under any circumstances — even if you’re having the most extreme PMS attack of your life, you just found out your beloved poodle died and you desperately need a shoulder to cry on — is to cry in the office. Instead, rush into the privacy of the bathroom and wail your heart out or seek solace in a friend during your lunch hour outside the office. If he witnesses you bawling, you are reduced to an emotionally erratic child who is incapable of handling major projects and the independent strong image you’ve been cultivating for yourself gets shot to hell.
Rule #3: Listen to your voice. Literally. Do you sound like a young girl? Although you can only correct the actual tone of your voice through a speech therapist, you have complete control over your whine volume. Whimpering and complaining will get you zero recognition, unless you want to
be recognized as a sniveling child not worthy of a promotion or a raise.
Rule #4: Be Forthright but not bitchy. Speak in sharp statements rather than with flimsy questions. Instead of spurting out, “Do you think I should write a memo for the meeting?” say, “I’m writing a memo for the meeting so the associates will have an idea what to expect from the clients.”
Rule #5. Don’t Make Your Private Life Public. Before you think of telling him about your men or the wild weekend you had, ask yourself: Do I really want the person who holds my career cards in his hands knowing all the gory details about my sex life or how much Molly I did Saturday night? It not only makes you look incredibly unprofessional, it also opens doors for him to take advantage of you when you’re at your most vulnerable.
2IF YOUR BOSS IS A WOMAN
Rule #1: Be Respectful, But Never Kiss Ass. If you must compliment her, do so about a specific act. Anything else will seem like a lot of hot air. For example: Wrong: “I always love the way you make everyone sit up at attention during your presentations.” Right: “I noticed that your remarks on the Blackfield Project were well-received by the board this morning.”
Rule #2: Act Your Age. Any sign of immaturity reflects poorly on her management skills and your interpersonal adeptness. That said, if you’ve spent years at home rearing kids but have returned to the work force and are older than your superior, think twice before resorting to pedantry. It thwarts her power and makes her feel ineffectual. While you may have more life experience, she has the kind that counts in the office — on-the-
Rule #3: Listen Attentively, But Don’t Dish Out Advice. Sometimes she just needs someone to vent to. Offer your ears, nod your head in agreement and leave it at that. If you start to play Dear Abby to her personal and professional dilemmas, you’ll only do yourself harm by blurring those ever-so-critical lines of authority as well as facing a possible backlash if your advice is adverse.
Rule #4: Give A Helping Hand. By offering to aid her in a time-consuming project, you’ll definitely show that you’re a team player — something she’ll really appreciate. However, make sure it doesn’t threaten her power in any way.
Rule #5: She isn’t your girlfriend. An after work drink from time to time is fine, but if you start dishing the details of your weekend sexual conquests or letting her tag along with you and your crew, personal conflicts will carry over into the office. Keep it business!