Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Female flameouts

Strangely, many young women never seem to have considered the fact that the reason people have to pay you to work for them is because work is neither self-actualization nor entertainment:
One reason that women are burning out early in their careers is that they have simply reached their breaking point after spending their childhoods developing well-rounded resumes. “These women worked like crazy in school, and in college, and then they get into the workforce and they are exhausted,” says Melanie Shreffler of the youth marketing blog Ypulse.

Many also didn’t think of their lives beyond landing the initial first job. “They need to learn life is a marathon, not a sprint,” says Kelly Cutrone, president of People’s Revolution PR and author of “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You.” Ypulse’s Shreffler adds, “They expected things to be better now that they’ve arrived and made it. But instead they are starting over on the bottom rung and still striving. You can’t see the end of the tunnel because they are so many twists and turns. It’s impossible to see what life will be like in 20 years these days. It’s hard to look just 3-4 years in the future. They don’t know what they are striving for, which makes it really hard to move forward.”

Even those who did plot out their lives past the initial first career have unrealistic expectations about full-time employment. It’s not as if these women expected their jobs to be parties and good times, but many underestimated the actual day-to-day drudgery. “College is nothing more than a baby-sitting service. These students are totally unprepared for the real world. The reality for women who want to work in PR is that they are going to be working with 24 catty [women] who will backstab and compete with them. No one will say thank you. You will eat lunch at 5 p.m. It sucks and it’s hard work,” says Cutrone.
What few people still in college, or post-college education of either sex realize is that work is very, very different than academic achievement. In the education machine, effort matters. In the work world, or rather, the productive work world, only results matter.

This is something that those who are accustomed to "succeeding" by receiving brownie points and pats on the head find shocking and demoralizing. Since young women are far more successful in the academic world than young men, it should be no surprise that they find the transition to the real world more difficult even though they are statistically much more likely to gravitate towards non-performance jobs in government and large corporations.

I found this quote to be rather amusing: "Ultimately these women are going through the difficult realization that they may have to redefine their goals and come up with different measures of success in order to thrive in the corporate world, says Thompson."

What? She can't possibly mean that simply showing up to every classmeeting and turning in your homework assignmentsPowerpoint demonstrations on time isn't the key to workplace success!

What I found particularly interesting, and totally unsurprising, is that there is no call for these young "burned-out" women to man up. When a young man drops out of the high school-college-work program, no matter at what stage he drops out, it is blamed on his immaturity. When a young woman drops out, it is a consequence of societal changes placing unfair pressure on a high-achiever.

The sad fact is that playing apocalyptic video games will likely be better preparation for the global economy to come than straight As, a Masters in Management, and job as a junior executive in Human Resources.

22 comments:

TLM said...

What? She can't possibly mean that simply showing up to every classmeeting and turning in your homework assignmentsPowerpoint demonstrations on time isn't the key to workplace success!.......

Which is why I've seen, over the course of my professional sales career, so many of these gals make a bee-line for marketing & project management positions. Or they just slut it up with the surgeons (65% betas)to drive business. They seem shocked that no one gives a crap that the nurses like them and a purchasing manager thinks they're cute, the only metric to be measured by is are you hitting your numbers. Daily stack rankings emailed to the entire sales force can be demoralizing if you're not in the top 10%. And many can't handle that kind of pressure. Especially if they've been molly-coddled by their professors and the university system.

Anonymous said...

"The sad fact is that playing apocalyptic video games..."

...and working out hard...

Mike M. said...

Ah, the Liberal Arts major discovers the Cold, Cruel World.

As the engineers laugh. Because college was usually harder than our jobs - and there's a lot less back-stabbing in the STEM fields.

JCclimber said...

Arghhh!!!
That's why I am beginning to hate my job. It isn't enough for me to get results. Instead, I also have to put in about double the amount of time in endless meetings, and creating friggin' powerpoint presentations to prepare for the meeting, and to capture what the meeting covered, and to report the results after we do the time and effort to get the results.

I. am. burning. out. But I've noticed consultants take this up even further. They "powerpoint and meeting" us to death as well. Yet we wouldn't pay them unless they delivered something. Or we can at least convince the vice president that they delivered something.

The funny thing is that I'm an extrovert, and should enjoy the meetings. And I do enjoy them, if they are productive.

By the way, my corporation has made a noticeable change from a start up with a lot of testosterone (well, as much as scientists have anyway), to a big fat bloated corporation in just about 15 years. Staffed up with enormous HR, Quality, and other bureaucratic departments. Almost entirely women and beta boys in those organizations.

Markku said...

If it weren't for endless meetings to decrease company productivity, then what good is middle management? Nobody is going to make decisions that make himself unnecessary.

And the value of middle management to higher management is that the higher management doesn't need to interact with the hoi polloi. They are perfectly willing to spend whatever company money necessary for that luxury.

DaveD said...

"She can't possibly mean that simply showing up to every classmeeting and turning in your homework assignmentsPowerpoint demonstrations on time isn't the key to workplace success!"

You may be a bit insulated, there Vox, but the sad truth is that most jobs ARE like school. Its more important to jump through the right hoops than it is to actually Do. The. Job.

Its one of my great frustrations in life that the process is more important than mastery/completion. Who brought this way of thinking into the office? The skirts. Women are deeply infatuated by the process. Men like results.

DD

dannyfrom504 said...

"What I found particularly interesting, and totally unsurprising, is that there is no call for these young "burned-out" women to man up. When a young man drops out of the high school-college-work program, no matter at what stage he drops out, it is blamed on his immaturity. When a young woman drops out, it is a consequence of societal changes placing unfair pressure on a high-achiever."

this is gold. i see this A LOT in hospitals when the nurses are talking about leaving the profession after just 10 years and they find out the job is a TON of work and climbing to the top is a bitch.

yet.....i'd NEVER let anyone know i'm having a hard time with my PTSD. good post.

debbs said...

"The reality for women who want to work in PR is that they are going to be working with 24 catty [women] who will backstab and compete with them."

A related reality is that when a woman finds herself in competition with other women, she's likely in a dead end job. If you don't directly compete with men, you probably won't have the opportunity to be promoted above them.

A 'fulfilling career' isn't all that its cracked up to be anyway even if you are 'successful'. Motherhood, on the other hand, is more challenging, develops more strengths and offers greater returns than the corporate world possibly can. Putting your eggs in the wrong basket is a terribly disappointing waste of life.

debbs said...

Vox said: "When a young woman drops out, it is a consequence of societal changes placing unfair pressure on a high-achiever."

I was not under the impression that the article was talking about women dropping out of the workforce so much as women just getting off the achievement track and adjusting to the reality of the job as they know it.

Are young women choosing to leave the workforce in greater numbers than they have in the past? I've seen no information that would back that claim, though the economy may be forcing more women out of work.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, well, welcome to a man's life. What's that? You like actually being a man less than the 'idea' of being a man? Then go back to being women again.

Anonymous said...

"A related reality is that when a woman finds herself in competition with other women, she's likely in a dead end job. If you don't directly compete with men, you probably won't have the opportunity to be promoted above them. "

lmfao. I believe you mean to say, when a woman finds herself in competition with other women, she can't get the gender-specific preference needed for her to be promoted above others even though she lacks ability.

debbs said...

"lmfao. I believe you mean to say, when a woman finds herself in competition with other women, she can't get the gender-specific preference needed for her to be promoted above others even though she lacks ability."

You have a point but it's probably much more that way than it used to be back when I was career oriented. Still, if gender-preference is the rule, wouldn't we see higher numbers of women in middle and upper management? According to the article referenced, that isn't the case.

R. Bradley Andrews said...

I wonder how much of the complaint about the lack of women in the higher levels of many companies stems from issues related to the stress of dealing with the pressures noted above.

That is probably one of the reasons I will never be promoted to that level, but I don't claim a biased system, just that I am not willing to do that.

The LP 999/Linda said...

Haha, power point presentations. Such comedic value!

Cool, its always a comfort to know my gaming on ps3 is a better outlet than finding a nonexistent job from boomers who refuse to hire me for some bullshit reason. This only encourages my workouts, gaming and other pursuits.

Kelly Cutrone is one of my fave business women, she was featured on Dr Phil telling off a couple princesses. I was watching the video on youtube someplace. Anyways, Kelly lives in a world where businesses compete, work endless hours and meet something called deadlines. Gen Y and millennials are not always familiar with this part of having a job.

Recently, there was an op-ed asking if women's ambitions have declined or changed. The writer ended it with asserting that women simply want a change.

And I ask, from what to where? If women only understood that the vast majority of office gigs (desk jockey jobs) mean being stuck with a bunch of women with a 15 y.o. mentality of, "lets plan a Christmas, birthday or office assistant appreciation day." For examples, see the types who must decorate every room in the house or office, never a plain wall or minimalist desk.

Boogeyman said...

Sweet Zombie Jesus! Who ever told these people that work, or even life, was supposed to be fulfilling? Get up at dawn, grind out a day at work, go home and pay your damned bills!

The percentage of people who enjoy their work is very small. Don't count on it happening to you. Be happy you're keeping food on the table and a roof over your head. If you still feel like crying, take some solace from the fact that you're still sucking air and the knowledge that just about every body who lived before you had it shittier than you do now.

As my evil uncle Russel used to tell us kids when we complained about anything, "Shut up ya sissy laa'laa"

Mrs. Pilgrim said...

JC wrote: "By the way, my corporation has made a noticeable change from a start up with a lot of testosterone (well, as much as scientists have anyway), to a big fat bloated corporation in just about 15 years. Staffed up with enormous HR, Quality, and other bureaucratic departments. Almost entirely women and beta boys in those organizations."

Ain't it the truth. Feasts always attract flies...

Stickwick said...

You may be a bit insulated, there Vox, but the sad truth is that most jobs ARE like school. Its more important to jump through the right hoops than it is to actually Do. The. Job.

My husband has been a software engineer for a few prominent companies, and the environments are very much as you describe. It makes the competent engineers (who are mostly male) crazy, because they are results-driven, but these companies are largely process-driven. Hoops, hoops, hoops.

I can't really back this up, but I suspect the evolution from results-driven to process-driven was influenced by women in the corporate world who wanted the security of definitive steps telling them exactly what to do, as opposed to just figuring out how to achieve the outcome.

Anonymous said...


The sad fact is that playing apocalyptic video games will likely be better preparation for the global economy to come than straight As, a Masters in Management, and job as a junior executive in Human Resources.


I suspect that they will provide equal, ie, piss-poor, preparation, since they are both, in some sense, just wanking off.

Better to get some experience with things that you will likely need, like learning to use and maintain a rifle, learn to fly, learn to repair shit, and learn to program the damn video games rather than play them.

Anonymous said...

"who wanted the security of definitive steps telling them exactly what to do..." - Stickwick

That sounds about right.


"And the value of middle management to higher management is that the higher management doesn't need to interact with the hoi polloi. They are perfectly willing to spend whatever company money necessary for that luxury." - Markku

Another bulls eye. Noticed that too, money was no object when it came to hiring another fifth wheel/yes man/azzhat.

JayStang/stg58 said...

Ergo, women in sales jobs are rare to nonexistent. Sales, the ultimate results driven profession.

DH said...

Same thing for medical school: a cute girl who smiles alot and has shit to say about medicine during her interview will likely to be accepted by her beta chump interviewer. However, if I smile and try to say the same politically correct answers a cute girl applicant says, I'd get grilled and scrutinized from head to toe about my "passion for medicine". You see GAME everywhere in life, Game and learning about my health (nutrition) are the two best things I've ever learned in my life.

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