Los Angeles Times
Call out work ‘mean girls’
Dear Amy: I’m a woman working in a very woman-dominated profession as a registered nurse.
I enjoy nursing and working with my patients. I work mostly with other women, some of whom are support staff. Some of these women are immature (to say the least). Their ages range from 30 to late 40s. I am older.
I generally focus on my job and have been successful at ignoring their rude and sometimes judgmental comments. The other day I heard them commenting about my appearance; they referred to me as “the lunch lady.”
I was extremely hurt and humiliated. I haven’t mentioned this to anyone else at work. I am now feeling resentful, especially toward these two particular women.
How can I just let go of this and not act bitterly toward them?
I just started back in therapy. Normally, I really don’t care about the unwelcome comments. Nor do I care what my co-workers think of me on a personal level, but this recent comment hurt me deeply. I am already sensitive about my age.
Dear Upset: First, a word about “lunch ladies.” Using this phrase as a mocking insult demeans other working women, who are (also) deserving of respect.
I hope you will address this issue with your therapist, your supervisor at work and these immature middle-age “mean girls,” who definitely need a course correction.
You interpret their remark as discriminatory, agerelated bullying (I do too). So, on behalf of hard-working professional women everywhere, I hope you will find appropriate ways to respond, both in the moment and also on up the professional chain at work.
They should be called out. A response you might rehearse that will telegraph your own ire but reflect your professionalism is: “Ladies, no. I suggest you get back to providing care for our patients.” And then document the episode and report it to your/their supervisor.
They might deride this as a very “lunch lady” way to behave, to which you should think to yourself: “Yes! And you’ve been served.”
Dear Amy: Whenever my husband unloads the dishwasher, he puts about half of the things away in their proper places in cabinets or drawers, but the other half gets piled on the counter, right next to the dirty pots and plates.
It’s so frustrating! I’m not sure how to bring this up. I feel like maybe I should be grateful he contributes to housework (something my father never did), but I find it frustrating and confusing when the clean stuff and the dirty stuff are just piled there together.
He definitely contributes to housework on a regular basis, so I’m not sure if I should just let this slide? If I mention it, is that petty nagging? I just feel like if a job is worth doing, it should be done completely.
Dear Half: Your husband is not doing you a personal favor by putting a few dishes away. Functioning adults are supposed to do their share of household chores.
Your own father trained you to feel grateful for every scrap of household effort (mine too), but when you clean up after your husband cleans up, you are infantilizing him in his own house. Treat him like a grown-up and talk about it.