Monday, 28 April 2008

Woman Management.

I have recently had an animated discussion, with a certain someone, about inappropriate behaviour in the workplace and the responsibilities of a good manager. I spent most of my working life in the Civil Service, where there was a strict code of conduct and most of the behaviour outlined below would not have been tolerated. Ego massaging, for the sad, manopausal middle-aged man would have been allowed, as in question 4, but no favours would have been granted as a result of it!

Anyway, I've been persuaded that I need to 'loosen up'! I suppose I'm just an old fashioned woman! I'm not going into all of the gory details, but the quiz I have devised, below, may give you a light-hearted insight into some of the discrepancies.

A good manager needs to take his responsibilities very seriously. He needs to ensure that his department is productive and runs efficiently. He needs excellent interpersonal skills. He has to set standards and live up to them, showing others how to do the same.
Do you think you might have what it takes? A male manager, supervising female staff, needs to observe a strict code of conduct at all times. Work through our short quiz, which concentrates on a few of the problems he might face, and make a note of which option you find the most appropriate course of action, for each scenario. The questions are based on real life situations.

1. Your new assistant is working through her probationary period. She insists on fetching your newspaper, each day, from the newsagents and buying you a chocolate bar, out of her own money. What would you consider to be the most suitable course of action? Would you

a) thank her for her kindness, but say that you will be picking up your own newspaper, in your lunch break, from now on and that the chocolate bar was a kind thought, but unnecessary, or

b) wait until you have put on 4 lbs, then tell her that she can continue to pick up your newspaper, but that she needn't bother with the chocolate, from now on, or

c) ask her if, while she's picking up your newspaper and buying your chocolate bar, from the shop, could she also buy you a cheese sandwich, a can of beer and a copy of Nuts magazine, and you'll give her the money on payday?

2. Your new, young, female assistant invites you to check out the new underwear she is ordering out of a catalogue. Should you

a) tell her that, as her 57 year old manager, it is inappropriate for you to be aware of what your 20 year old assistant is intending to wear under her skirt and her top, or

b) pour over the pictures and inform the rest of the company, at the earliest opportunity, that you have been looking at your female assistant's underwear, or

c) take your Ann Summers catalogue out of the bottom drawer of your desk and point out that you favour the peephole bra on page 57, in black, and the crotchless panties, on page 64, in red, and ask how she would like you to pay?

3. Your young assistant has bought a new dress and failed to try it on, in the shop. If it doesn't fit, she needs to exchange it today, after work and she won't have much time to get to the shop before it closes. She wants to try the dress on, in working hours, behind the cupboard door, in the office which you share with her. She has not indicated that she expects you to leave the room. Should you

a) tell her that she should have tried on the dress in her own time, but, if it's really important, you will allow her 10 minutes to try the dress on, in the ladies toilet, as long as it never, ever, happens again, or

b) allow her to do as she wishes and remain in the office, as she offers no objection, giving no thought to the fact that the owner of the company calls in regularly, as his office is next door, or to the fact that your young assistant is so overweight that no cupboard door could ever hide her, as you are convinced that there could be no chance of the situation being misconstrued, or

c) tell her that she may try the dress on in the office, in your presence, that there is no need to struggle to hide behind the cupboard door, as long as she will allow you to take a few photos on your mobile to show to your mates in the pub', later?

4. You are having a mid-life crisis and you are depressed by your latest passport photo'. You thrust it under the noses of your 2 young female assistants, seeking reassurance and bemoaning the fact that you look so much older in the latest one. When the 2 young girls inform you that they prefer an older man, with flecks of grey in his hair and a pot belly, do you

a) wonder whether the youngest is pulling out all of the stops to get through her probationary period, whilst the other is softening you up, so that you'll agree to her having a half-day's holiday on Friday afternoon, and resolve to be influenced by neither, or do you

b) run home and inform your wife that your 2 young assistants still think you are hot, even though you are old enough to be their grandfather, or

c) ask if you could make up a threesome, at a cheap hotel in Bognor, during the first weekend in August?

5. You share a small office, with your 2 young, female assistants. They spend a certain amount of time discussing the intimate details of their private lives, in your presence, in office hours. During the course of their current, rather long, conversation, your youngest assistant complains about her lack of boyfriends and the fact that, whenever she has her period, blood keeps leaking onto her knickers, so that she constantly has to carry a spare pair. Do you

a) inform the girls that there's 'too much information' reaching your corner of the office and request that they get on with some work, or

b) pretend that you can't hear and allow them to continue, until they run out of conversation, or

c) pull up a chair and join in their discussion, offering helpful advice, such as suggesting that your youngest assistant loses some weight, offers oral sex on the first date, and tries those new sanitary towels with wings?

6. Human Resources are unsure whether to offer your new assistant a permanent position. They are very concerned about the number of days absence she has had from work, due to illness. Do you

a) suggest that her probationary period is extended, or

b) insist that she is given the permanent position, because you believed her when she said that she was ill, even though the validity of the illness has never been the concern, or

c) gaze into the middle distance, thinking about the long walk to the newsagent, the money you've invested in her underwear, the provacative photos' on your mobile, the weekends away in Bognor and the dirty talk during office hours, and insist that she is offered a permanent position, plus an extra £5,000 per annum, for being an outstanding employee?

Did you answer mostly 'a'? You definitely have management potential.

Did you answer mostly 'b'? Are you a close relation of mine?

Did you answer mostly 'c'? You're already a manager, aren't you?


Robin said...

Too funny. It is a joke, isn't it? Maybe? I think I worked in this office...

(and no I wasn't the cute assistant)

Working mum said...

Hahahaha! You really made me laugh with this post!

I feel so much better for reading this, but it's a case of don't make me laugh, it hurts! (nursing tonsillitis at the moment)

Perhaps I should pass this quiz on to my new Head of Department? No wait, she's female.

Mean Mom said...

working mum - I'm so glad I cheered you up! No, this quiz doesn't work with females, unfortunately, but they need to be careful with their male employees too, I suppose! I could try and make one up, but I don't have any true life situations to work from. I hope you feel much better, very soon!

Mean Mom said...

Robin - I wish it was all a joke!! I have a strange feeling that you were the person working in the office, who thought that 'b' options were acceptable! You men are all the same! If you answered 'a', however, I would like to marry you. You didn't answer 'c', did you? Now, I want to know!

Frances said...

Yuckie. Seems nothing much has changed from the good old days of sexism and sexual harassment. The fact that it also leaves the manager open to manipulation doesn't help, does it?

Mean Mom said...

frances - Unfortunately, I feel that you are right. A manager needs to ensure that his behaviour could never be open to misinterpretation. If some staff members need guidance, then it is surely up to the manager to offer it - firmly, but politely. Or does anything go, nowadays? Am I just an idealist and a prude?

Liz said...

Very good! I read your post on mumnesia too. You should pop over to my blog and read my post on Little Mrs Men O'Paws. see what is ahead.

Mean Mom said...

liz - Oooh, thanks and I will!

Grit said...

thank you for a jolly good laugh. in this office, dig is the manager. sadly, he is not known for his saucy behaviour, even when i have attempted the peephole bra routine.

Mean Mom said...

grit - Glad to have provided the laugh. Typical, though. Any saucy behaviour could be quite fun and, even appropriate, in your situation, as long as the work was fitted in sometime!!

Robin said...

Google hates me, I hope this doesn't post twice.

I forget that in the UK Robin is a man's name, hahaha.

I was the woman in the next cubicle trying not to gag with listening to old man discuss with the secretary in a strapless minidress what color g-string underwear was the best.

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Dear Mean Mom, how funny and how true! Like the music too. M xx

Maggie May said...

How funny! Is it a joke or for real?!

Mean Mom said...

robin - Sorry about my silly mistake! I should look closer at profile pics. Oh, now I know which one you were!

a mother's place - Men! Laugh or cry - I don't know which to do!

maggie may - I can't tell whether you are winding me up or not. The situations/scenarios took place. The 'b' options more or less cover the course of action which was actually taken. Apparently, the girl(s) behaves(behave) in that way, because she is(they are) young and she(they) will grow out of it. I think that she(they) needs some help and guidance! I also think that the manager needs guidance, but what do I know?? I have never been a manager! I despair!!

Metamorphic Sweet Wood Irene said...

Men basically are dumb creatures, but so are the women who help get them there.Why are the men the managers anyway. Weren't there any sensible women around? And then all those dumb assistants having dumb blond conversations! It's all so Benny Hill! I declare war on any of these attitudes and the people who created the situations that brought them about.

Mean Mom said...

metamorphic sweet wood irene - There are female managers working in the company concerned, but they are in other departments. This happens to be the way it is, in this dept, for reasons too complicated to go into. Younger women have always enjoyed working for the man concerned in this situation. Why would this be? Could it be because he is 'soft' with them and he laps up their flattery? In 25 years or more, I had never voiced my opinions. I felt that, just recently, in these situations, things had gone too far! Apparently, I have over-reacted, according to the male concerned.