Ask your question here Ask now Do you remember those playground days, when the grade school rumor mill churned violently any time a girl and a boy were spotted together in the sandbox? I remember being a six-year-old with a heightened sense of justice, huffing over the discrepancies in attitude when I played with my friend Alex girl and when I played with my friend Alex boy.
The game was the same, the name was the same—but the attitude was so different. I posed this question to numerous young women and received myriad varying opinions.
Many shared personal stories about times they had grappled with this very issue. Others felt that a woman should treat each colleague—whether peer or boss, male or female—exactly the same, and that to suggest otherwise was antiquated and sexist.
Unfair though it may be, the sandbox attitudes resurface: One young woman who worked in consulting recalls, When I was a consultant, I saw many of my male colleagues get a drink after work with a more senior person on our team at 10 PM or later while traveling.
The double-standard can apply in reverse, too. At a previous job, my female coworker and I would often have lunch with our young, female boss. At meals, our conversation would inevitably turn to dating and relationships, and we became close with her in a way that our male coworkers never did. But did it happen? As a young professional female, however, you should be aware of these differences—and differences in perceptions—during your interactions.
If your boss invites you out for drinks with other men on your team, go—but remember to be yourself. In the office, act appropriately. In a private meeting with a male boss, avoid closing the door. Exude confidence in your speech, your posture, and your body language to indicate that you are not someone who can be taken advantage of.
And if a boss invites just you out for drinks, make sure you know the implications of that invitation. If your relationship is friendly, go to a well-lit bar and remember to drink responsibly. Being cognizant and aware can only help you as you begin your career. Now tell us what you think! Photo courtesy of alisdair.
She currently works in communications and is begrudgingly learning to be a grownup. She likes coffee shops and the bakery aisle of grocery stores, reading about other places but not necessarily traveling to them, keeping things clean, and stalking the Harvard Opportunes, her beloved college a cappella group. While you're here, you may as well check out all the amazing companies that are hiring like crazy right now.