Career Sabotage – Part 3

When I worked in the emergency department, I was in charge every night—and the people who worked with me enjoyed me being in charge, or at least that was what was said to me. I had beautiful reviews and had some great pals, many of whom were at my wedding. Fast-forward about five years, and I have now decided to leave my management position to go back to the emergency department. So I talked to the emergency department manager, who has been a friend of mine for twenty-five years. About three weeks into the process, when I hadn’t heard anything, I went back to my friend who was the manager of the emergency department and said, “So what’s going on?” She got this really awful look on her face and she twitched—and she was tripping all over herself and said, “You’d better talk to your boss.” So I sit down with my boss, who says to me, “There is a problem. They don’t want you there.” You could have knocked me over with a feather. She went on to say this one, this one, and this one—my friends, people who had been at my wedding—had gone to their bosses and said, “We don’t want her.” I was shocked. We would go out after work together; we would talk to each other on days off. Sometimes I would help them out with babysitting or they would help me. If I had any kind of a party or get-together, they were first on my list to invite. They were the people I laughed with at work; they were the people I cried with at work. They were there through my divorce, through a terribly tough time in my life. Why would my friends turn on me like that? That they would stab a friend in the back for no apparent reason for their own selfish gain? Well the bottom line was, they were afraid that I was going to usurp their perceived position. Keri’s story is an example of the impact of mixing friendship expectations with the hierarchical norms of masculine work environments, which can trigger horizontal violence. In such cases, acts of covert career aggression can leave the recipient feeling not only bewildered but shocked when it happens. Career aggression can also damage a woman’s self-confidence. Angella, a diplomatic services manager in Mexico, explained that “When someone is saying bad things about you, after a while you start to feel that maybe the bad things are true.”   An excerpt from my book, New Rules for Women, available at Amazon (]]>

2 thoughts on “Career Sabotage – Part 3”

  1. How do you suggest the woman whose career move was sabotaged best handle this situation? Quietly slink away or Confront the ‘friends’ she thought she had?
    I do agree that women can be much harsher critics than men and are far worse at back stabbing. But rarely are they called on it. So much involves politics and the perceived threat of having this accomplished woman rejoin management in their arena….

    • Thanks for your comment, Sandra. I do not think the woman in this scenario should slink away. I do think that she should confront her previous friends, and go for what she wants. She should fight for her management position, and stand up for herself. And clearly, these women are no longer her friends.


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