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Memo to Men: Musings From the Corner Office

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It probably doesn’t shock you to learn that Bitchy Betsy isn’t particularly a girly-girl at work. In fact, I’d say I play with the boys better than most, and have productive, enjoyable relationships with many male colleagues. But let me tell you, sometimes I wanna hit a few of them upside the head with a five iron.

Whatever for, you ask? Glass ceiling got me down? Falling into the wage gap? Oh, no, I’m talking about much more base offenses.

For starters, there is the whole taking-the-newspaper-into-the-bathroom thing that really pushes my buttons (and makes me kind of queasy, truth be told). The office is not your home and contrary to what I might tell finance at budget time, advertising doesn’t always pay… Not to be crude, but do I really need a mental picture of Jerry from IT scanning the sports section behind door number two?!

I have worked in corporate America for close to fifteen years, and I have never, ever seen a woman take reading material into the bathroom. Toothpaste, yes. Papers to peruse on the potty, no.

Almost as annoying is the guy who constantly “shifts gears” in the middle of conversation. And by that, I do literally mean he changes his position, if you know what I’m saying.

Just why do guys think it’s appropriate to adjust themselves in public? Do they think women don’t notice? I work with one major repeat offender in particular who always stands just in front of my desk to tell me a joke, putting me right at eye-level for the punch line. What do you do about a man who’s perfectly in control leading a pressure cooker meeting, yet can’t control the urge to play with his privates in public? Laugh and look away, girls—laugh and look away…

This brings me to possibly the most absurd office offense committed by otherwise charming fellows: clipping fingernails at work. This one is particularly perplexing as it shows premeditation; instead of just taking three minutes to cut their nails at home, these guys haul their clippers to the office so the rest of us get to share in the fun.

I will never forget the first time I heard an unmistakable SNIP at the office. I was so shocked; I actually walked two doors down to this man’s office to investigate. Indeed, there he was sitting at his standard SVP-issue mahogany desk in his perfectly tailored suit, cutting his fingernails. And here’s the worst part—this did not turn out to be an isolated incident! 

Guys, you know I love you, but please listen to a little advice. Do not do your dirty work at the office. Do not pass the mailroom on your way to the loo. Do not collect $200.

Remember, if you don’t have anything nice to say, my door is always open…   

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Bitchy Betsy is a vice president at a well-known Fortune 100 company. When pressed, she’ll admit she loves her job. However, that doesn’t keep her from mercilessly ridiculing corporate culture. Got something catty to add? Post your comments here.

Read other Bitchy Betsy columns:

Musings from the Corner Office: Giving at the Office

Musings from the Corner Office: Corporate Speak


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