Will Working for a Female Boss Cramp My Style?

Last Updated Apr 3, 2009 11:11 AM EDT

Dear Stanley,
I recently interviewed with a company where the team was led by a woman and included five female co-workers. I am a man and my concern is that I would not fit in. Further, I have heard recent statistics that a high percentage of the population would rather work for a man. I work for a company now where it's the good 'ol boys: I can golf, go out for drinks, swear, etc. in a corporate setting. Am I setting myself up for failure by taking a job in a female-dominant setting? The reason for the change is 100 percent salary based.
Worried Walter

Dear Walt,

Hi there! Guess what? You're a sexist! Congratulations on the fact that your disability has so far gone undiagnosed due to the environment in which you are working. It was only a matter of time before you were busted, and I'm happy to do the job. Your attitudes are very poor, my man. I'm not saying I don't sympathize. It's fun, if you're a man, to work inside the cozy womb -- if that's the right word -- of a gender-dominant group within a culture. But it's like any other society where injustice is the law of the land: cozy for the guys in power, cold for those on the outside looking in.

Just for fun, here are some of the indications that you're suffering from chronic Sexist Butthead Syndrome, as demonstrated in your brief e-mail:

1. You went out of your way to find out the gender composition of the department you'd be working for;

2. You believe you would "not fit in," which demonstrates your probably well-founded feeling that you don't relate well to women in a professional environment;

3. You cite some troglodyte survey saying that a "high percentage of the population" would rather work for a man. Any man? As opposed to any woman? Nice job of generalizing, dude!

4. You use the phrase "good ol' boys" without irony;

5. You are concerned that a better salary would not offset the loss of golf;

6. Your conviction that "females" do not drink or swear. My experience is that they do both quite nicely.

At any rate, I believe there's hope for you. You're asking questions; that's a good thing. You're considering making a change in spite of your horrendous attitudinal liabilities. And the truth is, most men, particularly those of a certain age, have had to make the same shift and have done so splendidly. You'd be amazed how sexist attitudes eventually melt away when you are compensated well to have them do so.

I think you should take the job. You'd be surprised at how the number of your fellow trolls has decreased in recent years. You need to get with the new program, pronto. What you'll find out is that women make just as good -- and just as bad -- managers and colleagues as men do. Sometimes better. Sometimes worse. They do tend to cry a little bit more, but that's another story altogether.