There are many things that can ruin a good day at work. Spilling your coffee on yourself, missing a deadline, fucking up an important document or farting really loudly when you thought nobody was around only to see a co worker behind you. Once, I bent down to get a file from a cabinet and split my pants right along my ass. Had to call Andre to pick me up.
An0ther thing that can ruin your day or week or even your job, is a cat. No, not the cute furry ones that purr and want to snuggle. I’m talking about the catty women that lurk around every corner of every office in the world. The catty ladies that sometimes come wearing a smile and treat you like their equal only to tear you to shreds when you show a moment of weakness. I’m sure men can behave in a catty fashion as well but for some reason, I think women may be better equipped for this particular behavior.
Catty behavior can be defined as subtly cruel and malicious/ spiteful / catlike; stealthy. Why are women SO good at this and why do we seek out other women? Especially in the workplace? I did some googling and found that 45% of American workers say they have experienced workplace cattiness. To make matters worse, 40% of the tormentors that are women tend to prey on other women 70% of the time. I think this speaks volumes about the number of women in the workplace that have experienced or even taken part in catty behavior.
I have personally experienced women being catty to me on more than one occasion. Women I barely knew. Sometimes it’s a sideways glance, other times it’s a snarky bitchy remark that stems from nowhere when the 2 of us are alone. Sometimes it’s a rude gesture in front of others to what I can only assume is to show me who’s queen bee. I think my recent favorite example of cattiness was when someone stopped me to see my engagement ring in front of a busy boardroom packed with people. She gazed at it and smiled. Looked up and told everyone my news only to add in a much louder speaking voice ” Is your diamond real because it doesn’t look like it.”
So why do we do this? Is it envy? Insecurity? Competition? Maybe it’s because as we grew up, we were taught these qualities were less than desirable and to keep it under wraps so we were never taught to deal with these emotions in open way. But women by nature have a desire to connect with one another. So why are we being so catty? Is it because we as women are better at reading each others emotions so it makes for easier prey? So we don’t seem weak in a male dominated office setting?
Are you reading this and maybe feel guilty for a previous catty encounter? Or are you reading this and know someone who has done something totally bitchy to you in the office and you secretly wish that she would choke and die at her desk? I am guilty of both, I must admit. So I am going to take this opportunity to use my past bitchiness for a moment of reflection and to figure out the type of coworker I want to be. You never know! That woman I always hoped would choke on her lunch could be someone who could offer me help on a future project and further my skill set and that maybe one day would help land me my dream job.
I think its high time that women start to respect one another. Not just in the workplace but all places. Women have worked too hard and worked too long towards gender equality just to mess up our own efforts by our own hands. Wouldn’t it be the same amount of energy to promote and support in any way I can to my fellow female colleagues than it would be to judge them? Let’s face it, we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for other women paving the way for us.
The next time you encounter catty behavior, take a second and think about where she’s coming from. Is she being rude just to be rude or is she having a hard day and she missed her deadline and you just happened to be in her war path? That catty lady may just become an ally you thought you never had.