In fact, I think it may have gotten me branded as bitchy for attempting to break out of the mold instead of "knowing my place". A lot of that was probably a function of where I was working, but this goes on at other places as well.
Part of the problem is that a lot of well-meaning individuals just don't believe this is actually happening. I can see how they might think that if they had never been in a position of having it happen to them. If you find yourself doubting this happens, do this: ask ten women you know if they had ever negotiated for something, and what happened when they did. Then draw your own conclusions.
I've noticed while watching my sisters and various girlfriends interact with other women that women seem to be faster to label each other negatively than most men I know would label other men negatively. Perhaps, however, I just hang out with mean women.
I had to go up and out to talk to people on other teams. We wound up forming a little group of women in operations (think pager duty) and talked about these things. We all noticed a bunch of similar problems but I can't say I ever got any solutions out of it.
I've actually followed through this process with several female colleagues and the conclusion I've come to is that in most cases, male or female, the only way you're going to get ahead is to have another option. It short circuits the "bitch" reaction if you're saying that you want to stay but this other great opportunity has come along. You generally don't want to ask for something unless you have a credible BATNA ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_alternative_to_a_negotiate... )
It doesn't matter whether the boss you're negotiating with is male or female or is thinking you're a "bitch" or not--they're not going to give you much unless you have some sort of leverage. (The difference, of course, is that the man is less likely to face the same negative consequences for asking and being denied.) In many cases, even if your boss wants to give you something, he or she may not be able to do so without you having some sort of leverage.
I never negotiated for something work-related, and I'm a man, I've been in the workforce for the last 10 years. My wife negotiates all the time, she works in procurement, it is her job. We've recently split, I left with nothing but the laptop on which I'm writing this comment, and she had to keep all the rest.
Which brings me to part two, the unspoken elephant in the living-room, the fact that women will always be allowed to "win" the kids in a divorce, no matter how hard men will try to win them. I guess that's just compensation.
Unfortunately as you say, in many situations becoming a better negotiator doesn't help. In the long term, the key is to find companies, managers, and colleagues who 'are' aware of these issues and work to do the right thing. Alas, that's easier said than done.
Here's one thing which did happen, though: while describing a particular failure, I said "<name> and <name> dropped the ball on this one". One of the guys on my team really objected to that. He didn't like hearing it from me.
I thought for a second and said, "hey, wait, you don't react like that when <guy in area> says the same thing". He just got really quiet and never really addressed the issue. I tried again: "How is it that the same words coming out of my mouth are bad when they were just fine coming out of the mouth of some man? What year is this again?"
I find that's what tends to happen: they get quiet and mentally set some bit on me that means "evil bitch".
I'd recommend reading up on the topic of persuading people if you feel shaky. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is a pretty good classic starter. How you approach this kind of stuff can make all the difference in the world. (And I'm not saying that they weren't unfairly discriminating against you. But there are good ways and less-good ways to address that situation, and picking a fight should usually be a last resort IMO.)
Yes. And respectfully and carefully playing to their ideals when they are uncomfortable with the reality your actions have just cast light on is a good way to move the bar, far more effective than such a personal attack. I don't know how it would apply in a work setting, but my ex husband had a big disconnect between his non-sexist ideals and the way he lived/assumptions he made. On more than one occasion, I played to his ideals and kept my mouth shut about his sometimes weeks-long grumpiness over the friction between his ideals and his unstated assumptions/expectations. This allowed me to gradually improve the latitude I had for pursuing my own goals in a situation where I was 100% financially dependent, with special needs kids in tow.
Humans are kind of like buggy software. There is often contradiction between what they believe and how they behave. That fact can be used as a force for good rather than just an accusation. You just have to put the emphasis on the part you want to grow rather than on the part you are offended by.
She is not the one who needs to change!
When you look at it, "an awful thing for you to say" can be parsed two ways. It might be an awful thing for anyone to say, or it might be an awful thing when it's coming out of the mouth of /certain people/. I considered both of those in an instant, and realized that it couldn't be #1 because he never objected to having someone else say the same sort of thing. That left me with #2.
As for the wording, I don't play baseball and I don't watch baseball, but I know that if you "drop the ball", you've basically let the team down. It was yours to make or break, and you broke it. There's enough of the game covered in popular culture to make that very clear: catch the ball or else.
Based on the theories in that talk, and on my own experience, guys are more likely to build little empires among other guys, even within a business. When you criticise a member of their "tribe" they will get defensive on this basis regardless of the facts presented because men have a tendency to value their social network over individual bonds (i.e. with you, by respecting your legitimate opinion).
If this is a good model of what's going on, it seems there's little you can do other than leave because it sounds like you're not interested in being a tribe member (if the guys even let you). It also makes me believe these tribes are going to be inevitable in a male-dominated work environment where the men haven't been selected or trained otherwise, which is something important for leaders to be aware of.
Talking about it is worth something I guess, but it's going to take a lot of women putting themselves out there (and being punished for it) over time in order to move the bar.
As a college dropout I sure don't 'know my place' and I really don't care to take the place society has designated my class. Sure, some people think I'm self-centered but fundamentally you go to work to earn money. If the team can't make sacrifices for me then I don't care to make sacrifices for it. As an employee I invest my time, and I expect a liquidity preference, just like the company's VCs do. A VC can always get their money back from some other source, I can never get my time back.
In the words of Ray Liotta in Good Fellas: Fuck you, pay me!
What I cannot stand is people that are being jerks about it. The guy that opens the first five minutes of an interview with an antagonistic question about stock options before we even got through the first technical question. The smug guy that comes into our office and starts pointing out holes in our product/strategy barely after we said our hellos (I've only been working on the company for two years, don't you think I thought of that?). The gal that can't program her way out of a for loop, and claims to everyone who's willing to listen she's being discriminated against.
Believe it or not, not everyone is out to get you. Some people are genuinely trying to do good work, have everyone well compensated with equity, and pay fair salaries while not running out of cash too early. If you're unhappy with the compensation, nobody will fault you if you leave for greener pastures. It's the smug, antagonistic, cynical jerks that everyone hates.
And I don't know about you, but I do know a gal who CAN "program her way out of a for loop" — I've seen her do it, such females actually exist — and if you're a decent listener, they may do you the favor of telling you about the extra crap they face due to men's kooky gender ideologies.
Anyway that said, I agree you can hack somewhat better pay out of a manager by handling them properly. Much of their professional world is social, so they are extra-sensitive to social cues. And software developers at this moment have far stronger bargaining positions than many other workers.
Among the advice that helped me (but YMMV):
* Reading _Getting to Yes_. There are alternatives to domination and passivity.
* Asking more than their highest range — if they negotiate me down, I did something right.
* Building my bargaining position by: increasing my relevant knowledge/ability, being a good presenter and listener/talker, overkilling the technical puzzles which you can do at home, and being able to walk away from a given deal.
AI prof Patrick Winston has helpful tips on giving presentations: (http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9F536001A3C605FC)
* Note that the initial hiring decision is when the market transaction is made. If you get it right, having brought your forces to bear on it, it's out of the way. (David Graber's _Debt: The First 5000 Years_ has some interesting words on this phenomenon.)
Of course, the goal depends on whether you're negotiating with a wealthy firm, a cash-strapped startup, or a social justice organization.
Giant red flag. If someone's wiling to hide information that helps you do your job in order to minimize your credit, something is horribly wrong.
The difference is, a girl who asks for a decent salary, rather than the first offer is often seen as being just as hardnosed as the guy who asks for a much higher salary, and stock options, then demands a big raise every time he's on critical path.
Being seen as hardnosed is not a good thing if you're not getting paid for it.
It's kind of like how guys who don't shower will be seen as unprofessional, but possibly brilliant; while girls who don't shower are just seen as unprofessional.
I always ask new clients if they've seen Goodfellas.
I'm reminded of a study I read a looong time back (sorry I don't remember where) that looked at how in situations where there is a shared armrest (think movie theatre or airplane) between two strangers, the men tended to be the ones who end up using it more. That wasn't malice, it was just an unthinking gesture. Ever since then, I've been hyper-aware of seat armrests. :-)
I think one takeaway from this is to be aware of the dynamics in your daily conversations and just watch. Pay attention to what's going on. If a man and a woman talk over each other, cast your eyes to the woman instead of the man if you think she has something interesting to say. Subtle things like this can make a big difference. If you do this in the office, the feel like you value them more and you will find yourself with new allies.
I would also suggest that if enough women ignored the stigma associated with being labeled a bitch, they would move the line is drawn a bit. That's not always possible but again, being aware of it helps.
I've had about ten requests from men to explain the phrase "winning the cocktail party". None from women.
A male friend, who spends a not inconsiderable time cruising feminist sites, was one of those who asked what it meant. I find it odd to realize that most men don't observe something that is obvious to every woman I know: that there is a competitive male dynamic to groups that is completely different from the way female groups act. They don't know, of course, because unless the group is overwhelmingly female, the dynamic of any mixed group always defaults to male, with women fading back into supporting conversational roles. Maybe it's the kind of thing you can only observe by contrast to the extremely anti-competitive nature of female groups.
The easiest way to put it (and this is hardly original) is that men in groups are focused on their role within the group. Women in groups are focused on the group. Men gain status by standing out from the group; women gain status by submerging themselves into it--by strengthening the group, often at the expense of themselves.
Both these styles have advantages and drawbacks. I'm not trying to establish that one is better than the other. But I'm kind of shocked, though I shouldn't be, to realize that men don't even see it, the way they don't see catcalling, because it never happens when they're around.
I've seen this kind of behavior a lot more often since I began looking for it.
BTW, if you're interested in cognitive biases more generally, check out Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow (http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Fast-Slow-Daniel-Kahneman/dp/...).
When females will start choosing the shy, introvert male individual over the confident, extrovert, win-it-all male than these sort of things won't happen anymore. Otherwise, it's just animal nature to behave in this manner.
Sorry, but that is complete bullshit. I have seen power struggles in female groups often enough.
I wonder what kind of critical mass would be necessary to shift the norms, even in relatively liberal places, such that when a man and a woman both start talking, it's even odds which one will continue talking? '
I think it's also possible, at least in many groups, to have people look at the gestalt of your behavior. If you're friendly and helpful in one-on-ones, but in meetings tend to speak up more, then you're ought to be likely to be labeled a bitch (or whatever the male equivalent is) than if you're pushy and domineering all the time.
Men are basically wired that way and it actually makes us happy to have a relationship with a "difficult" woman—and by that I mean a woman who knows what she wants and a woman you can't take for granted, not the passive-aggressive complaint-filer difficult that many women are! However, as it happens, that sort of tension also engages a sexual dimension and, along with losing negotiations, that is something we don't want at work. Men usually can't simply fend off sexual tension so culturing it at work would make our days unnecessarily difficult, especially in these times when you might get into trouble for even flirting.
I can easily imagine it makes sense for a man to not even begin to negotiate with a woman and instead shrug her off as a pushy, difficult person. But I disagree with that men would want women that stayed a mom. They do want such women if they have the balls, but they want her in to bed. They don't want them in the office because that makes things a lot easier.
Thank you for saying this. I feel like this is a huge problem for me personally: Men often seem to like it that I am headstrong but it doesn't seem to help me get anywhere in terms of "business" because the reaction seems to very frequently be "and, god, I totally want to sleep with you". Which means if they are decent men (especially in a relationship), they often seem to just not want to talk to me at all or if they want to talk to me (because they aren't in a relationship), they don't really want to talk about work/business in any meaningful way. It makes it very difficult to find a path forward with some things.
Ditto that. When I went to GIS school for two months, a two-thirds male field, in the last week I finally realized that most of the women sat in the last two rows at the back of class. A few women kind of floated around, sometimes in front, sometimes elsewhere. I was the only woman who consistently sat in the very front row. I was perceived of as extremely aggressive. I had not even noticed it until nearly the end of the program. I get into all kinds of hot water for thinking I'm just another person and behaving "just like anyone would (regardless of gender)" and having that interpreted as ultra aggressive. I strongly suspect that if I were male, much of my behavior would be interpreted as meek and mild-mannered.
"Fortune favours the bold."[we won]
Why does aggression has to be bad? To me I kinda use it as a filter. I don't think I'm special, and a lot of other people have their radar set to identify aggressive people.
Edit: Will add that I was a homemaker for a really long time. People seem to think that means I "should" be meeker.
People in social situations tend to doubt their own judgement. So, if a certain number of people say you are cool, you are cool[ Three man make a tiger, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_men_make_a_tiger ]. According to asche confirmity experiment[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asch_conformity_experiments] it takes about 3 person to 1 to change an opinion.
Because you are staying away from people who effectively don't get you, they wouldn't have any other basis to judge you on other than your friends, who will be telling them how cool you are.
I want to be the Madonna of the Internet. <batts eyelashes -- in a star-like way, mind you, not flirting per se>
For instance, you overheard someone higher up mention a problem that they have difficulty solving. They indicate somehow they don't know xyz, and you know a little xyz. Tell them you can solve it and how much you expect in return[Don't solve it for free]. It is easier to get notice that way.
It is something like how you see products on TV for solving people weight problems. Sometimes the building is so on fire that people are willing to try anything, and in your case if you can actually solve it - they will be exceptionally thankful.
The hard part is asking for a reward in return.
[Puts away my playbook.]
For instance, I'd open a door to a women and she'd put her best smile and thank me while another one might be offended that I'd treat her specially. (Happens to me from time to time in the metro.) Who's right? I guess both.. it depends of their background.
I always feel there's a blur when working with women between professionalism and amiability. I.e. If I talk with a colleague (man) about his weekend, it's fine. If I have the same conversation with a girl, it'd seem I'm trying to date with her. I don't know, maybe it's just me over-thinking things. What do you think?
I think you're over thinking it but it's good to be cognizant of other people's feelings, you'll go far further in life by catering to those who appreciate having doors held open and asking about weekends than you will by catering to the misanthropes who see ulterior motives in everything.
Could you ever imagine a woman's sexuality being invoked as a matter-of-fact justification for a workplace dynamic? Not by a man saying a woman's wonton behavior made him act aggressively, but as a result of actual female sexual agency? That is a telling cultural observation.
Like, what is "supposedly immutable male sexual dynamics"? I understand immutable data, but not immutable dynamics.
I don't actually see any reason to assume it runs one way. The (male) song "I didn't mean to turn you on" comes to mind.
Not saying that this is true, just that I am willing to entertain the possibility.
It's painful to keep talking over my partner. Frankly, I label myself a pushy bitch when I do it. But the fact that I need to earn this title keeps me doing it.
In meetings I tend to be the person who adds direction and focus because I'm the one paying attention to the big picture while everybody else is just trying to get their 2 cents in. (I've come to believe that this is a more 'female' way of thinking, interestingly enough.)
A woman took a class on assertiveness in the 80's. The instructor was a female nazi-like drill sergeant type. They were expected to practice yelling in people's faces and being super pushy and the like. One day when it came her turn in class to yell at people and all that, the author of the piece said "No, I don't really want to do that. I like being nice to people." She was berated and told how she had no hope of getting anywhere in the world and so on. She continued to politely decline. The instructor finally gave up and moved on. The author quietly gathered her things and left the class, deciding she didn't want to complete the course. As she left, she overheard someone in the back row (who was dutifully waiting their turn to yell at people as they were told to) say "God, what a bitch!"
Don't confuse style vs substance.
It's okay (kind of expected, really). I've slept four hours a night the last three nights and was served a notice of eviction a few hours ago. I'm frankly shocked that I have yet to be downvoted into hell (which I was looking forward to viewing as "entertaining distraction" under the circumstances). It can't be a "good" impulse to jump into this topic under the circumstances given how many feathers I ruffle when I'm in good shape. :-D
Peace be with you.
Any ideas on how I can raise between $50k and $100k in the next 29 days, drop me a line (or something).
Good talking to you.
And isn't it a no-brainer that people might prefer working with people who don't make demands?
I suspect if you were to run an experiment with people being offered jobs, you'd find that more people got the job who didn't negotiate than who did negotiate. After all, a fraction of the ones who negotiate might have made unreasonable demands.
And sorry, but stuff like the "men don't let me speak in a discussion" just annoy me, because men actually face the same problem. There are simply people whose tactic in discussion rounds is to not let the other participants speak. I doubt that is a man thing.
 - http://www.reddit.com/r/TwoXChromosomes/comments/hvv2m/i_wor...
Regardless, patriarchy still exists in many (often subtle(r) or more latent) ways. The original article is proof that it existed, and this just goes to show that there are directly observable reasons for it occurring. It shouldn't surprise people, despite the number of "well they should just ask" comments on the last article posted here.
Not to bring down everything to sexuality, but a sexually pushy woman would be typically labeled a "slut." Which is why a woman will almost never ask a man out.
I'm female. I have found it's really tough to try to initiate a relationship with a man because the default is to treat me like a "slut" if I do so and then get really threatened/angry/hostile when it turns out I am not throwing myself at him sexually, I am actually looking for a relationship. I've concluded that what "slut" means is really "someone who indiscriminately serves the needs of men/others". "Women looking to serve their own needs" is something society doesn't seem to really have a term for.
(Anyone know of such a term? I would be happy to be proven wrong and enlightened that it's just my whacked life that lacks this concept. Men who sleep around tend to get called "Players" and the assumption is they are taking advantage/doing the using. "Slut" is generally a term we use to indicate the party being used/in the subservient position.)
The standard advice for a single woman is not to ask men out on dates, but to "get yourself out there." What would the analogous behavior look like from a potential employee? Conferences? Blogging? Fine-tuning of resume?
 http://www.sarahmei.com/blog/2010/02/20/scale-8x-slides-post... The audio is a bit long, but it's worth listening to over the slides.
Just like affirmative action got called racial discrimination... Not really. I guess that's along the lines of how one would spin it.
The women we place in high regard are women who know how to get what they want. If you ask a young girl today what she wants to be when she grows up, she will most often tell you she wants to be a celebrity – the most recognized group of women who fit that description. No one goes anywhere in that business by being passive.
Obviously it is a problem that exists. It is just a strange dichotomy where we, as a society, promote girls to be "sluts," while women still feel negative towards themselves to live up to those expectations. What can be done to fix the problem?
Most people seem to prefer atavism when it comes to dating and bedroom activities. Those are some really deep patterns, and I doubt that they are solely the result of social conditioning.
A sexually pushy woman might be labelled a slut, but a sexually unpushy man will be labelled a beta male. Because, in the end, we are just chimps.
True point: women pay closer attention to men's pecking order than vice versa. But then again, the reason women do this is likely because for men, pecking order is more closely linked to high salary / reproductive fitness than it is for women, which comes back to the point in the original article -- if women don't get promoted or given higher salary, then there is no major salary inequality among them (at least compared to men), so we are back to square one.
The situation gives men an enormous advantage. And the vast majority of the 90%+ of Fortune 500 CEOs and tech startups and VCs who are guys don't seem to have any interest in changing it. Why do you think that's the case?
My hypothesis is that the society unconsciously believes that aggressive "pushy" women would make bad mothers or would be otherwise somehow bad at raising children. But would they really? What if strong women give birth to natural leaders, to put it figuratively? Human societies have a tendency to place higher value on things like complacency and moral propriety, even if those things could be detrimental at the individual level, and a related tendency to ostracize those with high social intelligence or manipulative traits even though those traits could be beneficial at the individual level. What if the "bitch" stereotype is due to a similar effect?
EDIT: if you disagree with me enough to downvote this, I would love to hear your opinion on why precisely you disagree, so please comment.
It's more that the people at the top have gotten there in the current situation. So emotionally they tend not to want to acknowledge what a huge advantage they and their peers have had getting there ... and they don't have any incentive to change things in a way that reduces that advantage.
Btw, i also don't negotiate. I just take best offer (last time i refused 2 before much better one came) and change job when i feel the market can offer a better one.
Having said that, I might have to justify whether my argument subtly implies that there are fewer women who are in the "truly outstanding" category. Fewer of them spent their youth in basements staring at terminals, compared to the countless male nerds. There are exceptions of course, but there is still a statistical anomaly.
I hope this doesn't come out as sexist. I am not comparing intellect, just choices.
Edit: Replaced "genius" with "truly outstanding".
There is some evidence, though, that men tend to divide up more between the extremes than women do. I'm not sure how much of this is "biology" and how much is socially fostered.
(and if it makes any difference to how people view the observation: I happen to be female).
Of course this could be entirely the two workplaces and not related to cultural differences by location.
Men and Women are different. Period. Trying to ignore it gets you nowhere.
Embrace the difference and work on letting everyone be themself to the fullest.
And you don't see cause-effect in any of this? If you do this repeatedly, and then suddenly start asserting yourself, yes, it'll have a significantly larger impact on how you're viewed than if you did it from the start - people notice changes more than they notice the status-quo. Start strong and you'll be seen as strong. Start weak and start making noise, and you're complaining.
>They always preferred to work with a woman who stayed mum.
Did your findings include that this is true for men as well? Unless it's a very well balanced group dynamic, there's little room for two+ people to try to manipulate things. It tends to be one leader and many followers, or a group of leaders that magically work well together. That's called humanity, not masculinity, and don't even begin to pretend women get along better together than men do, because you can't measure it without measuring against the already-influenced culture you're looking at.
>>"They always preferred to work with a woman who stayed mum. But it made no difference to the men whether a guy had chosen to negotiate or not."
I'm all for searching scientific studies to see what the researchers missed, but reading 17 words ahead would probably have taken you less time than writing a snarky comment.