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A Plague of Queen Bees

Donald Trump says he intends to “create chaos” in the Democratic coalition. Niiice. We understand Donald. That’s his personality. Zero empathy, maximum destruction, all in service to his gluttonous need for attention and power.

You’d be surprised how that kind of behavior can devastate you so close to home.

Some of us have lived with or have been the target of the iconic mean girl all of our lives. If you’ve grown up as a military brat where you’re always the new kid on the block, or if you have a relative whose primary goal in life is to monkey wrench close family relationships, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

But when it comes to your work place, there’s a whole new level of stress and distraction. It always takes me by surprise. You can’t win by being more professional, polite or smart. In fact, there is some evidence that those are the very qualities that get you into trouble with insecure women who seemingly never left middle school.

Targets are usually anyone who is “different” from the organizational norm. Usually victims are competent, educated, resilient, outspoken, challenge the status quo, are more empathic or attractive and tend to be women, aged 32 to 55. Targets also can be racially different or part of a minority group.

That and physical differences. If you happen to be genetically disposed to be tall, blonde and fit in spite of your lack of exercise, that can get the wrong kind of attention as much as having a physical disability or a big nose.

I’m witnessing this unique level of hell at the present time. It’s not just affecting me. It’s affecting a bunch of other people who have been derailed by grudges, pettiness, gossip, social and professional exclusion. It’s putting major initiatives in jeopardy, causing a loss of productivity. And it’s women who are perpetuating this on other women.

If you ever wonder why it is that men are able to succeed professionally while women struggle, this could be part of the reason. Men aren’t forced to walk on eggshells all day wondering how their hair might have offended someone. When men send an email asking questions, they get answers. When targets of other women send email or make requests, they get attitude or obstruction.

Commonly heard complaints:

Oh, the email wasn’t phrased right, it was directed at a person they weren’t allowed to speak to, I didn’t like her directness, she used a word in the wrong context, she’s too confident, comes off as too technical, she’s a know it all and some people aren’t interested in growing in their jobs, she is a bitch because she skipped the Christmas party. (Oh yeah, you can get reported for being insufficiently social with the hive no matter how politely you say you don’t want to participate. The B word was used liberally and loudly in a crowded room. It hard to keep that information from spreading.) And on and on and on.

Conformity is key. Getting work done efficiently apparently is not.

The infestation is going to have an impact on productivity and accomplishments. I don’t expect the queen bees to suffer. They will survive a nuclear winter because they’ve got awesome manipulation skills.

But eventually, it’s going to affect the bottom line. Workplaces would do themselves a big favor if they studied up on the problem. It’s unlikely that you can change the way these women think or operate. But you can hold them accountable for the results of it.

By the way, I have never seen this in the R&D industry. Maybe men outnumber women to such a degree that it fails to get a foothold to cause destruction. But in IT it seems to be an epidemic.

As for me, I’m trying hard to not spread dissension or petty cruelty. I’m taking the No Diss Democrats pledge. I will support and vote for the Democrat who wins the primary. Trump can’t divide us.

And at work, I’m not playing by the Byzantine Calvin ball rules anymore. From now on, I’m collecting data. Every failure has a trail of missed or deliberately skipped communications and all roads lead to Rome.


I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have hit my tip jar. I’m putting the money towards a good cause- my cranial prosthetic, ie wig. A good, convincing hair piece is expensive but will be invaluable to me in the months ahead and will lift my spirits. Its very timely too. This morning, the shower was clogged by a gigantic blonde hairball. I guess that means that the weed killer is working. 😉

So thank you so much.


Walk to work music. Looking for music that bounces me down the street to take my mind off, well, everything else. 🤗


14 Responses

  1. Thanks for talking about that kind of mistreatment that women dish out to each other. I was run off of a job I was shining at because of politics like that. I was never one that went to all the parties they were constantly having, so I’m sure that was a problem. On the day after they ganged up to lie about me to personnel to get me fired, they threw a little party in the breakroom just around the corner from my desk, to rub my face in all of it, where they celebrated themselves as the Ladies of Love.

    Some of my harshness here, for which I apologize, was because of that nightmare. It has taken a long time to grow past the outrage that mistreatment gave rise to in me.

    I wish I could have tossed something into the tip jar here, but the Ladies of Love made sure I wouldn’t have the means when they ran me off of that job. I’m really glad that others here do have the resources and were able to help.

    • I hear you. Through malice or stupidity, a lot of careers have been needlessly ruined. There should be consequences.
      Thanks for the good wishes. They’re as valuable as new hair!

  2. The current mode is to blast men for being jerks, and say that the world would be so much better if women ran everything; which could very well be true insofar as wars and militarism are concerned. But it is also true that the imagined world of women all working together supportively, is somewhat fanciful. There are obviously bad men bosses and bad women bosses. I have known several women who have complained about an unfair and petty woman manager. As to the “mean girls” part, I haven’t heard as much about that, but it does figure, because they do it in high school, so of course some would carry it over into adult life.

    It is fascinating how different people want to get something different out of their work environment. You undoubtedly want to do meaningful things in your research, and put out a good product of whatever sort, while of course enjoying good camaraderie. Some people are there mostly for the chance to form a clique, and then take out their envy or hostility on others. The study of the human aspects of the workplace was what I should have had as a career, rather than Law. I studied for my PHD in it, but ran out of money just short of dissertation. It is a fascinating and worthwhile area of study. The names McGregor and Atkinson come to mind; I think that they came up with useful if broad concepts which described people’s primary workplace motivations as either “Achievement Oriented” (major focus was on the work; often the characteristic of engineers), “Affiliation Oriented” (value work more for the friendships and interpersonal aspects), and “Power Oriented” (seek prestige and interpersonal power via the workplace).

    I know that an unpleasant work environment can just make the day miserable. And one is usually at the mercy of whomever you have to work with, and sometimes that can change, and there you are, stuck. One advantage of being an attorney, at least, is that you can change firms pretty quickly if it is a bad environment. The bad thing, is that most attorneys who run firms are not good managers of people. I finally solved this by carving out a career as a freelance attorney, which essentially got me out of office politics, where sensitivity, a sense of honor, and a good memory are not ideal attributes to have. But i know that this is not something that you could do, and so I hope that some upper managers would be sensitive to your input about the unfairness and spite you are experiencing. Things are hard enough in general, and of course even more so for you right now, to have to go through a workday full of unpleasantness and wariness.

    And I had never heard of Byzantine Calvin ball rules, so I must look that up!

  3. Sounds like the Queen (and King) Bees need to meet some neonics. 😈

    • Yeah, that was mean, but, Ascended Madoka forgive me, I look at the normals–the people RD called “the herd” a few blogposts ago–and I feel like a Marvel Comics mutant who has decided that Prof. Xavier is well-meaning but naive, and Magneto is right about the normals.

      I still support democracy, despite my low opinion of the average morals and intelligence of my fellow non-elite whites, but only for Churchill’s reason: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others which have been tried.” 😛

  4. “The herd” does not deserve people like RD, William, or SoP.

    “Strider” I am to one fat man who lives within a day’s march of foes that would freeze his heart, or lay his little town in ruin, if he were not guarded ceaselessly.”

    Your work is different from that of Aragorn, but your kind also play crucial roles in holding civilization together.

    “The herd” hates you for your brains, the very brains which make their vulgar luxuries possible. I think this must be why Crazy Aunt Ayn managed to capture my imagination for a few years in my youth–she had a point that civilization rested on a despised minority, but she was mistaken as to the identity of that minority.

    • Many of the rich also despise intellect, although their wealth, and so their power as well, would not exist without it.

    • OK, what’s Spammy mad about NOW? 😡

      The most infuriating thing about Spammy is that, with a few exceptions, I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA WHAT ITS MADOKA-DAMNED STANDARDS ARE. I WOULD CONFORM TO THEM IF I KNEW THEM.

  5. As a Hillary Clinton ride or die supporter, this whole Queen Bee/Mean Girl meme gets me very nervous. Sure, a woman here or there may hold another woman back but the whole system is designed to keep women down and it, sure as hell, wasn’t invented by us.
    I see that the Media pundits have already started in on Amy Klobuchar because she’s a “Mean” boss. Enough already.

    • I just read an article in Medium that included a signed letter by many of Amy K’s staffers listing all of the non- mean things she did to them over the years. The staffers claim that they offered all of this glowing commentary to The NY Times, but that despicable rag picked over the good and inflated the bad, making another terrifically slanted agenda-ridden piece a la Carlos Slim or whatever else is in its diabolical command post.

    • Sweet Sue,

      I’m with you!

      I think we should take steps to keep the big picture in focus here. We need to be asking “WHY” women undermine other women in the work place and create a negative work environment as a result.

      From the day a female enters this world, she is “conditioned” to be suspicious of other women and to find fault with them. Women are never allowed to hold men to the same standard we hold each other. Of course, men don’t hold each other to the same standard they hold women either!

      Women are managing a double bind that we face constantly: conform to traditional gender expectations, stay quiet and be liked, or violate those expectations and risk the penalties, including the penalty of being called puritanical, aggressive, and”humorless” (just ask Hillary) by the men. As women, we are continuously told to live in the cracks of a world shaped by and for men, without complaining or demanding. Without being angry. So we adapt by going after other women in order to avoid violating these gender norms created and defined by men.

      I wish life was simple for women and all things were equal. But they are not. Every girl learns, in varying degrees, to filter herself through messages of women’s relative cultural irrelevance, powerlessness, and comparative worthlessness. Images and words conveying disdain for girls, women, and femininity come at children fast and furiously, whereas most boys’ passage to adulthood—even for boys disadvantaged by class or ethnicity—remains cloaked in the cultural centrality of maleness and masculinity.

      In order to have a positive work environment, there must be a change in how women are viewed by men who still hold the lion’s share of power positions in most offices. In the end, it really comes down to
      R E S P E C T.

  6. Test post

  7. “As for me, I’m trying hard to not spread dissension or petty cruelty. I’m taking the No Diss Democrats pledge. I will support and vote for the Democrat who wins the primary. Trump can’t divide us.”

    I’m going to have a really hard time forgetting Anita Hill and bankruptcy “reform” if it’s Biden, but yeah.

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