The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Manager? Me?
Who says you have to be a guy to be a Techie? The day has come that I've dreaded for a while. No - it's not menopause. I'm not about to become a grandmother (at least, I hope not), and I don't owe a back tax bill. No, the day I'm talking about is the day they make me a manager.

I don't know why I dread this promotion. I guess it's because I've had so many bad managers in my life, and I don't want to be just another bad manager. I've worked for women who felt threatened by me, men who thought I was their personal whipping boy, and managers, who, quite frankly, didn't know what they were doing. And those were the decent ones.

I want to be a good manager. One who stays ahead of the game. One who can perform strategic planning and manage a budget. One who knows how to boost "team" morale and can get the most out of her subordinates, without making them feel like subordinates. What makes this a difficult thing for me, is that I am managing young men who are the same ages as my sons. Instinctively, I want to be a Mom to them, and I'm having to watch myself.

For instance, one of my guys got engaged this past weekend. I wanted to send an email out to everyone to announce this. I also thought of throwing a party and wanted to ask him if he and his fiancée were going to pre-marriage counselling. I did ask whether or not he was going to have one of those interminably long engagements. I was also going to glue those little bride and groom figurines to his computer monitor and attach a big sign that said "You're a Man now," but I figured that was probably going a bit too far. I'll have to settle for treating my department to lunch. That's my BOY!

After all, I've had lots of practise managing young men. I had four of them who had to be regularly corralled and kept out of mischief, if not kept out of jail. They had chores to do (they did them irregularly) and classes to attend (I had to practically kidnap them and deliver them to the school door.) In short, I've had years of practise of being a nag, and I'm not about to lose my momentum. In fact, I would consider my ability to prod and nag to be one of my more highly developed traits. Just ask my husband.

But I get things done.

I think that women often make the mistake of thinking that because they are in management, they have to act more like men. They are usually deluded into believing that this means acting like a blustery dickhead. It usually also means being loud. I will not be a loud dickhead. My work and results will speak for themselves. I'll attend more high level meetings and do more public speaking (things I'm good at), and I will not stoop to being a Bitch. I'm just going to be myself, which means juggling ten things at once and motivating people by giving them huge guilt trips.

Guess there will be a little bit of Mom in the management me after all.
posted by Melanie O. at 6:38 PM -
  • At 8:17 PM, Blogger KGB Files said…

    woo wee! I'd love to be managing a guy like that bloke in the picture on your post. He's a hottie.

    Congratulations on your promotion. I'm sure you'll rock their world and do amazing things. Great news. I also hope they are giving you a wad more cash.

  • At 3:11 AM, Blogger chimera said…

    best of luck in your new position, Oz. you seem like a good, fair, levelheaded person and I can't believe for one second you won't be a good manager.

  • At 8:10 AM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    Thanks, you two. It's a bit scary, and a bit exciting at the same time, but I'm really ready for a new challenge. My fingernails might be chewed down to the nubs, though. ;-)

  • At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Donald said…

    Are you hiring? ;0

    I've worked for women over the years. The best were not stuck on themselves but on the mission.
    Getting involved in your workers personal lives is not recommended.
    You may have to lay them off someday. (At least in America it's the norm) Just remember to keep your expectations realistic and remember it's just a job.
    Building great personal bonds is better left to educators and health-care workers. Corporations do not want personal bonds.

    I'll like you the same no matter though.


  • At 3:43 PM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    Thanks for the advice, Don. Hard not to form those personal bonds, though. It's a bit like acting - for it to be believable, you have to sacrifice a bit of yourself and allow your emotions to connect.

    I'll try not to smother them, though. ;-)

  • At 4:56 PM, Blogger Kanani said…

    I've seen female managers act more like Moms, really taking crap out of women and babying the men.

    But you'll do well. Just hold everyone accountable for their work, treat them fairly, listen and don't be a good boss, but not necessarily their friend.

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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