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DrJackiePhD
DrJackiePhD, Doctor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 213
Experience:  I have been doing research in relational/interpersonal communication since 1998. My Ph.D. is in interpersonal communication.
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People are using the fact that I am as they continue to throw

Customer Question

People are using the fact that I am as they continue to throw up in my face (easy going) even when I am not easy going as if they need to make themselves feel more important or assertive then they are. I chose a field "management" and now I am getting a lot of negativity from people especially men who are trying to discourage me. It is taking a lot of energy just to keep from jumping down their throats. How do I get over this and more forward?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 2 years ago.

DrJackiePhD :

Hi, I am DrJackie, and I am here to help if I can.


 


 

DrJackiePhD :

Would you like to chat about your situation in the workplace?


 

DrJackiePhD :

Please let me know by entering the chat. I will hang out online for awhile yet. Thank you!

DrJackiePhD :

While I wait for you to enter, I would like to know specifically how subordinates or co-workers are displaying negativity. The more information I have about your question, the better I can address your concerns. :-)


 

Customer:

Hello Dr JackiePhD, Currently I am only working part-time in home care. I lost a job in November because my co-workers did not like the fact that I had more education. Money was stolen and I was the one who got blamed. The problems started way before that with co-workers complaining that I was insensitive. That was in a hospital with about 4 other people besides myself on the 3rd shift.

DrJackiePhD :

Oh I am so sorry you have had this experience. It is terrible to be accused of something bad that you had nothing to do with. :-(


 

Customer:

I am still covered under a free trial period.

DrJackiePhD :

Can you help me understand--were you asking about your former co-workers or current ones?


 

DrJackiePhD :

I am asking because you mentioned you had lost your job in November. But are your concerns going back to that position?


 

Customer:

I am currently having a lot of problems with people when I am out in public. This "easy going" title that they have applied to me appears to be something to be used against me to stop me from getting a job, going out or just being assertive in a lot of different situations.

Customer:

Yes, I am concerned about moving forward into another position and experiencing the same type of situation.

DrJackiePhD :

So you are in a nursing home as a supervisor of others? Please forgive me--I ask a lot of questions so that I can understand.


 

Customer:

No currently I am working in a private home on a 1 to 1 bases. I hope to get a job supervising others.

DrJackiePhD :

Oh, I see. So you are not referring to that individual.


 

Customer:

This job is only part-time. Just something to compensate my workmen compensation.

DrJackiePhD :

You are referring to a social network within your field?


 

Customer:

Yes,

DrJackiePhD :

Oh, no, I am guessing you were hurt on the job and am sorry to hear that. Thank you for your patience as I try to get a bigger picture.

Customer:

I feel rejected before I have even had the opportunity. This network of negativity or possible "black balling" is very threating to any possible success or is this only my feelings?

DrJackiePhD :

Are you saying that mostly men are trying to stop you from moving up within your field? Do you have any idea why this is? Unfortunately there is often competition that becomes person in the work field. What research has shown is that since men, especially middle aged or older, are used to being the majority of people in supervisory roles, they often support the "glass ceiling effect" that they in fact help to create to "keep women in their place" so to speak. By no means am I saying this applies to all men, and certainly not even to older men. However, that idea has been deeply imbedded in our cultural here for 250+ years as well as back in Europe for thousands of years.


 

DrJackiePhD :

Researchers attribute this behavior to them trying to "save face." Unfortunately, this is unfair, unethical, and has been illegal for awhile now. But "proving" this has happened to someone is often tough, as I am sure you know.

Customer:

Yes that appears to be the main problem. I am trying to keep from feeling these practices will stop me from at least getting a job. I have no positive support from family and my friends are very much involved with their own lives. So my main problems is how do you network with others when you feel just negativity is present?

Customer:

DrJackie are we finished here?

DrJackiePhD :

Here is something that you may or may not know. People have long believed that the typical "male style of leadership"--that is, assertive, demanding, kind of tough and without much emotion is the best type of leadership in the workplace and that a "female leader" is too soft, too emotional, etc. You could fill in the blanks there with many stereotyped adjectives. In social psychology, often "instrumental" is used in place of "masculine" to avoid the automatic reference to men and also "affiliative" is used in place of "feminine" to avoid the automatic reference to women. Research in the last decade or so has shown that women who use the affiliative style of management (however, kind vs. soft; compassionate vs. over-emotional, etc.) is more effective in being in a supervisory role. Researchers attribute this to the fact that if a supervisor attempts to have a relationship with a subordinate, and really consider his/her workplace needs vs. having a "suck it up or leave" type of attitude, the chances for success are greater.


 

DrJackiePhD :

No, I am sorry--I try to be thorough and it takes me awhile to type sometimes.

DrJackiePhD :

Also, men who use a more affiliative style vs. instrumental or perhaps I should say, more traditional "harder and tough" leadership role also succeed more often.

DrJackiePhD :

So I think what I'm trying to say in response to your concerns is that if people are perceiving you as "soft" vs. a caring leader, that might be the problem. There really is a difference. From what you have said, it sounds like you are affiliative. But it's a learned trait in how we portray that; unfortunately in the workworld the old way of thinking of how bosses are (from the way they were historically) prevents workers from seeing the difference. Again, being considerate of workers' feelings and needs does not mean you do not expect them to do their job. It takes work to change that old stereotypical image.


 

DrJackiePhD :

I don't think you need therapy or anything like that but you may think about figuring out a mentor to help you. That is, can you think of anyone who know/are friends with who is a successful leader who does embody the relational qualities but still knows how to convey that she expects a job to be done properly? Perhaps she could mentor you, meet you for lunch a few times a month, and maybe even you could kind of "shadow" her for awhile since I believe you are part-time right now.

DrJackiePhD :

I am sure that sounds like you are back in college applying for an internship; but I recommend to people all the time that we never can learn enough and that we all could learn from someone else who is in a similar position.

Customer:

So what you are saying is that I preceived as soft instead of one who is capable of being a caring leader. I really believe that I could benefit from an internship finding one at my age is another problem. I have no problem with completing my education, I have already acknowledged that i am a life-time learner. Finding someone who is willing to take the time is another thing.

Customer:

Dr.Jackie, thank you very much this has been a tremendous help, it has re-opened my eyes.

DrJackiePhD :

Right--but don't give up--I am sorry again if it seems like I am trying to get you to undergo an internship. I meant kind of "shadow" someone you already know. Here's an example--when I was in grad school I was good friends with a fellow who had just received his graduate degree in engineering. I was surprised to find out that for the first six months at his company, he was actually meeting with a mentor once a week for lunch. The organization they worked for encouraged that. And you see that all the time in lawfirms and financial firms. Junior partners are usually paired up with senior members for that reason--to promote success for the junior person because that ultimately promotes success to the entire organizstion.


 

DrJackiePhD :

oops organization.

Customer:

Oh no , I don't think you are trying to make my undergo an internship. I am thinking now of someone who I can shadow in my field. I realize what a significant impact that would have on my transition back into the work force.

DrJackiePhD :

One of my best teaching experiences when I was a junior faculty member was having a senior colleague/mentor. She had been teaching and researching a lot longer and I learned so much! So I am excited for you to have something like this!


 

Customer:

That is a great idea. I am going to focus on finding someone. Thank you for your insight into my problem.

DrJackiePhD, Doctor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 213
Experience: I have been doing research in relational/interpersonal communication since 1998. My Ph.D. is in interpersonal communication.
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DrJackiePhD
DrJackiePhD
Associate Professor of Communication
203 Satisfied Customers
I have been doing research in relational/interpersonal communication since 1998. My Ph.D. is in interpersonal communication.