organizing an all-men beach weekend for coworkers, is gossip beneficial at work, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Should I organize an all-men beach weekend for my coworkers?

I work at a bank branch of about 17 people, nine of whom are male. I’m considering inviting all the guys in the office for a weekend at the beach. We all get along and enjoy golfing, and think it could be a fun weekend. I wouldn’t be advertising it around the office because this would be a “guys weekend,” but since all the guys in the office are being invited, I’m anticipating the women in the office hearing about it and causing some drama.

Am I overthinking this because of the office culture we live in today, or is there a specific way that I should approach this? No work is going on during the trip, so no “deals” are being made. We are simply hanging out. The simple fact is that us guys are all pretty friendly towards one another and enjoy each other’s company. We’re all on the same career path and no one officially answers to or manages the other. Thoughts?

Yeah, it’s likely to be a problem. There’s a long history of women being excluded professionally through informal all-male social networks, where men are included in networking and business conversations in off-hours social settings without women. You have to understand that history to understand why, even if you 100% don’t intend this that way, it’s likely to have echoes of that to people. (Especially with the golf, by the way, as that was a traditional way women were excluded. Golf and strip clubs.)

Don’t be part of that, and definitely don’t be the person who organizes it. At a minimum it’s going to look really bad, and you may end up causing real issues in your office, as well as making people above you question your judgment.

And if you’re really friends with all the men in the office and none of the women, it’s worth thinking about why that is, since in a group of 17 people, that’s not likely to be a random quirk of statistics.

2. Do I need to gossip in order to hear insider info about my job?

I’ve always felt strongly about not gossiping at work, but I’ve noticed recently that the people who gossip know much more about what is going on with the company than I do. They knew ahead of time about the state of the company, possible layoffs, and upcoming changes when I was blindsided. Is it possible that engaging in gossiping is a social investment to open you up to being told more insider information?

There are different types of gossip, and I wonder if you’re grouping all in together when you shouldn’t. The bad kind of gossip is when gossip about other people that’s unkind and/or no one else’s business (like gossiping about someone’s sex life) or that’s based on nothing more than idle speculation (“Jane has been out a lot lately, I bet she’s job searching”). But there’s also good gossip — positive thoughts that you wouldn’t mind getting back to the person you’re talking about (like how much you like working with Jane or what impressive feedback you’ve heard about Bob). And then there’s sharing work-related information, which seems to be the type of thing you’re talking about. That’s not usually gossip — that’s talking about what’s going on with your company and in your industry.

It’s true that people who engage in bad gossip are often going to hear the work-related info too, because they’re talking to people a lot and having free-floating conversations and it’s more likely to come up for them than for someone who limits how much they talk to others. But you don’t need to engage in bad gossip to hear this kind of thing — you just need to build relationships with people and make a point of talking to them informally and being open to tangents. I would focus there and see if it changes the type and amount of information that flows your way.

3. Awkward text exchange with a boss-turned-friend-turned-boss

I work in higher education, and I have a situation with my boss I would love some help with. I worked for “Amanda” for a few years, and while she was my supervisor, we had a friendly but professional relationship. Our team was only part-time student workers and us, and we worked together very closely. After I left to complete my PhD, she and I became good friends, regularly meeting for brunches and happy hours, along with a few other former employees. We also texted/emailed regularly. A year and a half later, the person who took on my old position resigned, and Amanda hired me back. At the same time, our team of two became a team of three with the addition of a new full-time staff member, “Gina.”

In the year since my return to work, I felt like Amanda and I were balancing friendship and the supervisor/employee relationship well, though I will admit I did impart a little more distance given her status as my boss and the addition of Gina to our team. My return to the office also coincided with Amanda falling out with one member of our brunch group, so our out-of-office hangouts also largely died out (though we do sometimes get a drink or dinner with Gina after work events). I still see her former friend regularly on my own (which she knows about), but she and I talk about work and our personal lives every day and spend a great deal of time together, so I haven’t really made an effort to schedule alone time outside of work with her.

Last week, she and I had a late-night text conversation that started about a work-related thing, but then devolved into her telling me how much it hurt her that we are no longer friends. She had clearly been drinking, and tone of her texts was rather inappropriate (a close friend who read the texts described them as “insecure high school mean girl”). I was very taken aback by them, and tried to explain that I still thought of her as a friend but that I was trying to navigate a rather muddled personal/professional relationship. I also said I didn’t want to create an environment where Gina might feel excluded. She replied by saying that it made her very sad, but I made it clear how I felt and she’d “just deal with it.” I said I was going to bed but that we should talk about this in person at some point, and she stopped replying.

The next day I just opted to pretend it never happened unless she brought it up, which she didn’t. Her behavior in the office has been more or less as usual, though she has been a bit more distant and on occasion snippy with me. Other than her boundary issues, she is a really great boss and we work well together. I’m not sure if I should bring this up with her, or let it lie unless she brings it up herself. Do you have any advice?

I wouldn’t bring it up. It’s possible that she’s embarrassed by the conversation (or even that she doesn’t remember the details, depending on how much she’d been drinking). As long as she’s treating you more or less the same, I wouldn’t bring it back up again and risk further awkwardness with little gain.

If she does start treating you oddly though, or if you see additional signs that the (necessary) change in your relationship is causing issues, then you might be stuck having to discuss it. I’d approach that as “hey, I’ve tried to be really thoughtful about how we navigate social boundaries now that you’re my boss, and I know that’s inherently weird since the nature of our relationship has changed a couple of time now, but I feel like we’re doing a pretty good job of it.” If you model an approach that’s pretty matter-of-fact that of course things had to change, she might take her cues from you, even if she does feel weird about it. (And it’s pretty normal for either of you to feel weird about it at times! It is weird. That’s okay.)

4. Asking about raises when you’re being hired

I’ve been in my current position (as a librarian at a university) for almost five years. I’ve had one performance-based raise (which are an exception at my institution) and no adjustments for cost-of-living increases. No one on staff has gotten a cost-of-living raise in many years. Thanks to the fact that I’m about to be getting paid effectively *less* than when I started, I’ve started applying for new jobs. When should I ask about the frequency of cost-of-living raises in the hiring process? Or is that something I should assume will happen and it would be weird to ask about it?

You can ask once you have a job offer and are negotiating salary. In that context, you can say, “So that I know what to expect in the future, can you tell me how you typically handle salary increases? Do you have set periods for offering merit raises or cost-of-living adjustments?”

5. Explaining company acquisition on a resume

How does one handle a company acquisition on a resume? I worked at Company A for three years until September 2017, at which point they were acquired by Company B. I immediately began looking for a new job and did not include Company B on my resume, but would explain the situation during a phone interview. I was employed with Company B through January 2018. When my new job did a background check, I had to disclose the information anyway, and felt like I was lying since I didn’t expressly include it on my resume.

What’s the best way to handle this? Should the new company become its own line item, or can I keep the job as one entry, and note that Company A was acquired by Company B in Sept 2017?

It doesn’t need to become its own line item. You can do it this way:

Company A, September 2015 – January 2018 (acquired by Company B in fall 2017)

{ 1,408 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Ask a Manager Post author

    A request: Please don’t pile on #1 (it’s already happening 30 minutes after this post went up). If you have a new point to add, by all means add it, but I want to avoid a pile-on of hundreds of comments saying the same thing. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. RUKiddingMe

      Sorry Alison I posted before I saw this. I don’t think I’m piling on per se, but yeah I probably repeated some stuff (haven’t read the comments yet) already said.

      Reply
    2. Justme, The OG

      Your answer to #1 is fantastic. Thank you for bringing up the history of women being excluded in professional settings.

      Reply
      1. pleaset

        Piling on AAM – this is perfect: “if you’re really friends with all the men in the office and none of the women, it’s worth thinking about why that is, since in a group of 17 people, that’s not likely to be a random quirk”

        Reply
      1. Specialk9

        That was really disappointing. I for one assumed good faith on his part, and was excited that we might get him to see that his actions were unintentionally part of a larger cycle of active harm against women.

        But you know what? I still hold that hope, that this was just an initial reaction out of defensiveness. I know in my own life I had to really wrestle with the idea that I could have taken on racist and sexist ideas from the broader culture, but I’m not A Racist or A Sexist **unless I choose not to listen and do the inner work** on those things that harm people. I rejected initial messages because I misunderstood that last part.

        Because calling out sexism is not being mean, and it’s not a label. It’s a call for someone to LEARN and try to do better. All of us have to work on our stuff. But if you double down after being told how you’re harming people, THEN you are choosing that label for yourself.

        Reply
    1. bohtie

      It’s only 830am and I think I sprained something rolling my eyes at “how office culture is today” preventing him from being That Guy. Sigh.

      Reply
        1. Midge

          I think it’s interesting how people having a reasonable reaction to an unreasonable situation is so often seen as “causing drama.” OP is certainly not the only or the first person to have this read on a situation. But having this reaction to people being unhappy when you do something unreasonable really does undermine those people. And since in this case “those people” are every woman the OP works with, that’s really not good.

          Reply
          1. Bones

            I think it’s a way to not have to feel empathy for the person you’re upsetting. It’s *their* problem, not yours. And it sucks.

            Reply
          2. Annoyed

            And in gendered situations it’s almost *always* women who: “cause drama,” “overreact,” are “sensitive,” or … god help me … “hysterical,” etc. Those things are *rarely* attributed to males.

            Reply
        2. Nanani

          It would not be “the women causing drama,” it is 100% OP1 causing drama by setting up an event that excludes on the basis of gender.

          Reply
      1. I GOTS TO KNOW!!

        I know we’re asked not to nitpick word choice, but I think his consistent use of language that minimizes women’s feelings about the difficulties they face in the workforce is really important to note.

        OP, you need to do some serious self-reflection here. Implicit bias is clearly at play here. You likely don’t even realize it, but you are displaying an astonishing amount of sexism in such a short letter.
        ** You’ve cultivated friendships with none of the women but all of the men
        ** You think these women will cause drama
        ** There’s a negative connotation to the way you say “office culture today”
        ** You say no work will be done, but also mention that you and all the guys are on the same career path – so there is a work attitude at play here and it is dismissing the women who are on the same career path

        My hope is that this isn’t known sexism, but ongoing accidental sexism on your part. Hopefully the responses here have opened your eyes to how you’ve been behaving towards women and you can start to adjust your behavior accordingly. Make the effort to do better and you’ll be better for it.

        Reply
        1. Michaela Westen

          OP, in case no one else made this point, this:
          “there is a work attitude at play here and it is dismissing the women who are on the same career path”
          is the essence of the old boys club. It’s how men have prevented women from having equal opportunity in their careers for centuries. When the women mention it, they say innocently, “we were just playing golf and the promotion casually came up and boss said I would get it…”
          Of course there were some men who didn’t understand this, but it was deliberate sexism and oppression. Exclude the women and do the business without them, which prevents them from having career opportunities. I know some men are aware and doing this deliberately. I’ve seen the smug, stuck-up smiles on their faces.

          Reply
        2. Lanon

          I think a lot of the reactions here go to far. It’s perfectly fine to be friends with only part of your coworkers and perfectly fine to organize outings with your work friends. It could be that the fact he has no female friends at work is a problem, but not necessarily. I think y’all unfairly dogpiling too much.

          Reply
          1. I GOTS TO KNOW!!

            I think you haven’t read all the responses then.

            Regardless of gender/race/age/whatever make up, you don’t invite half the office to something and not the other half. It’s significantly less than half, or everyone. Inviting 2 or 3 friends is fine. Inviting 8 people and not inviting 8 is not fine.

            His language in his letter, and in his comment as Beach Poster (https://www.askamanager.org/2018/07/organizing-an-all-men-beach-weekend-for-coworkers-is-gossip-beneficial-at-work-and-more.html#comment-2072752), clearly indicates issues with women. Issues he might not be consciously aware he has, but which are very clear from his language and attitudes.

            AAM and other commenters have very clearly laid out the history of excluding women that comes into play here and why it is relevant.
            Here: https://www.askamanager.org/2018/07/organizing-an-all-men-beach-weekend-for-coworkers-is-gossip-beneficial-at-work-and-more.html#comment-2072474
            Here: https://www.askamanager.org/2018/07/organizing-an-all-men-beach-weekend-for-coworkers-is-gossip-beneficial-at-work-and-more.html#comment-2072489

            Perhaps the fact that the vast majority of commenters agree this is problematic isn’t in fact “unfair dogpiling” but instead an indication that this is problematic. Because it is, in fact, problematic.

            Reply
    2. Doug Judy

      I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s just naive about the struggles of professional women and other minority groups.
      I’ve been overlooked, dismissed and not taken seriously because I look 10 years younger than I am, have kids, am female, etc. If I do manage to get in front of a male colleague in a less formal setting their usually “impressed” by my ideas and intelligence. Which is also eye rollingly annoying.

      OP, please take these comments to heart. It’s hard to understand if you haven’t experienced it, but what you can do is be aware and make an effort to get to know you’re female colleagues. Most of them are probably pretty awesome and can help you gain valuable insights.

      Reply
        1. Doug Judy

          I’m not sure if you’re agreeing with me or not. Yes it’s the 21st century but sexism is still very alive and well in the workplace.

          I’m in a professional role and as I am writing this I’m sitting at the receptionist desk because all the admins are in a meeting. None of the the males in the office at my level were asked to cover the desk for an hour. None. Just the women.

          Reply
          1. Annoyed

            Question: Sincerely did/do you ever push back when none of the males at your level are asked to do that?

            Reply
            1. Doug Judy

              I’m fairly new here so this is the first time it’s come up for me. But I work in financial a heavily male dominated field with a lot of older men with egos the size of ‘Merica. All the firm cares about is how much money they bring in, so many of them get away with being dicks. As long as their behavior isn’t overtly sexist or illegal they won’t do anything.

              Next time I have a face to face with my boss I’m definitely going to ask about it. It could be that they have tried to ask men to do it in the past but they always are “busy with clients”. I doubt it. This industry is very heavily a GOB club.

              Reply
              1. Kat in VA

                “Egos the size of ‘Merica” earned my keyboard a shot of Red Bull. I’m wondering if that’s why the B and L and N keys are sticking (as opposed to the Macbook’s disastrous “butterfly” keys).

                Either way, it was a good snort.

                Reply
            2. NorthernSoutherner

              Sure, push back. So she can be labeled a drama queen? Why was Judy asked to cover the desk? THAT is the problem. Judy has to go the extra step of pushing back on something completely unfair and sexist. Got it. Same old, same old. Women have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition. So tired of it, but as the golfing OP proves, it ain’t changing any time soon.

              Reply
      1. Bones

        I do think that a lot of men purposely don’t care to learn, and then pull the “but I just didn’t know!!!” card later. Not saying that’s what OP is doing, but it happens a lot.

        Reply
        1. Annoyed

          That and “I/we just dont know what you want.”

          They say that all the time even though it’s been told, clarified like fine crystal, and explained to death 10,000 times, in six different languages as well as given to them in the form of an interactive pop up picture book.

          Women are just not telling them what we want from them…apparently.

          Reply
          1. Kelsi

            That really means “I don’t feel like giving you what you asked for/don’t believe the answer you told me, so I’m going to act like I don’t know until you say you want something that’s more convenient/palatable to me.”

            Reply
          2. Lora

            “given to them in the form of an interactive pop up picture book”

            HAHAHAHAHA oh thank goodness I’m the only one in the room for lunch. This is perfect.

            Reply
          3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

            Oh that one raises my hackles the fastest. Who can ever know what women want? It’s not like they are humans who live in the same society and speak the same language. I like how the Bad Advisor used to phrase it, something like “how can we ever understand those fickle skirts?”

            Meanwhile it’s so easy. Men, think about what you want and how you want to be treated in the workplace. This is what women want. Mystery solved.

            Reply
        2. Kat in VA

          The OP knows. Hence the comment about causing ‘drama’ with the women. Why would there be any drama if it was, you know, no big deal? Because it is, he knows it, and he wants a script so he can shoot down any notions of exclusivity or sexism.

          Reply
            1. Kat in VA

              Yes, he did appear to retreat into the YOU GUISE ARE MEAN, WHATEVER KTHXBAI defense.

              Here’s the thing – if nearly everyone responds to the question of “What is this animal?” with the answer, “It’s a duck”, you might, indeed, examine said animal for feathers, bill, webbed feet, and an affinity for water and wild quacking.

              However, his response was petulant and along the lines of, “You just won’t let any guys have any fun, political correctness wins again, I guess we’ll just stick with the other two events that we always do that are *also* along gender lines!”

              The “guys are married” and “the women are single” arguments are red herrings that harken back to the old argument that single women aren’t to be trusted, married men aren’t to be trusted, and the best way to keep those women from tempting those men is to just keep them out of the way, period.

              Which heads down a slippery slope toward, “Why should we have women in the office at all? They’re just a liability to us people!” (Note that “men are people” and women are something…else)

              When the #metoo argument was gaining steam, I engaged in many an internet and real life argument with men who decided it’s just “better” for male hiring bosses to avoid employing women completely to prevent any potential sexual harassment cases in their offices. This has the same flavor to it.

              I’m sick of arguing about it, so I didn’t respond to Beach Poster’s post. He made it clear he didn’t like the answers he received, and that the overwhelming majority of answers being similar was obviously an anomaly.

              Reply
              1. Luna

                The “women are single” line of thought almost bothers me more than the initial question. Not only does it feed into the stereotypical idea that single women can’t be trusted/good married men never find themselves around other women (hello Mike Pence), but it doubly discriminates against them as well. Single people (of both genders) often get left out and discriminated against, and obviously women do too (regardless of their relationship status). LW’s coworkers are being left out not only for being women, but for being a very specific kind of women that is frowned upon by large parts of society.

                Reply
                1. Kat in VA

                  Well said. I totally agree.

                  My husband works with married and single women all the time. I trust him. I have no reason not to.

                  It’s just another smoke-and-mirrors reason to exclude women.

    3. RoadsGirl

      I used to work at an office that had an annual “ladies’ night”. It eventually turned into an all-office shindig.

      I don’t think I have a point. Is it wrong to have a guys’ event but right to have a ladies’ event? Are both wrong? Do we overthink these matters?

      Reply
      1. Claire

        It’s not “wrong,” per se, but why does anything in the workplace have to be gendered? Outside the office with friends, sure–guys’ weekends, bachelorette parties, whatever. Those are voluntary events with friends. I just don’t see any reason why anything in the office (other than bathrooms) should have anything to do with gender.

        Reply
        1. Anonymeece

          Blech, yes! I work on a team that is mostly female, and we always went out for drinks after a successful busy season. We added a new guy to the team and invited him so we weren’t excluding anyone, and he sent a very weird message about how his wife wouldn’t approve of him being around a bunch of women outside of work. We actually pointed out that this was not a gender thing, we invited everybody, and that this was an event for professionals going to work, and maybe he could lay off the casual sexism?

          Gendering of any kind at the office is just not on.

          Reply
          1. Michaela Westen

            It sounds like his wife was paranoid, or he used her as an excuse to not socialize. Blech, what a marriage!

            Reply
      2. Gaia

        A case could be made that a ladies’ night is less harmful (not inherently without harm entirely, but less so) than a man’s night because of the historical and to.this.day.ongoing. gender inequality in the workplace that overwhelmingly favors men.

        Reply
        1. Claire

          An argument could be made, yes, but it’s easier to just leave gender out of the equation entirely. It’s like what the post below this one says about throwing a “girls sleepover” or something. Not every “girl” is going to enjoy that and it might just cause more problems than it solves.

          Reply
        2. aebhel

          Yeah, the context is different if it’s a group that’s historically been excluded from power (which is why professional organizations for, say, black or latino people are a very, very different thing than professional organizations for white people).

          That said, I’d still be pretty uncomfortable with a ladies’ night as well., for much the same reasons. If it’s something a few coworker/friends want to do after work, that’s one thing, but once you’re talking about half the office, it’s inevitably going to cause an issue.

          Reply
          1. Lizzy May

            This was exactly what I was going to say. I participated in Women’s Networking & Mentoring event a few years ago and because of that event I became familiar with a department in my organization that I had never heard of before. Now, I work in that department, in part because I knew what the job was when it showed up on our internal job board and understood that I was qualified for that job. I was able to move forward in my career because of that event.

            That event also touched on dealing with sexism in the financial industry, imposter syndrome, how to network, how to advocate for yourself and a few other areas specific to ways women are often marginalized in the workplace that wouldn’t have been relevant to men in the same way. I think as much as possible avoiding gendered events is a good idea but I’m not bothered by occasional professional events for groups that are marginalized in the workforce.

            Reply
            1. Wendy Darling

              Yeah, when I worked at a giant tech company (which, like all giant tech companies, had a very poor track record of hiring and retaining women) there were networking and mentoring groups for women. We also did Lean In circles, which in practice wound up being support groups for dealing with your sexist leadership. People legitimately spent the entire meeting developing strategies to deal with sexist managers hindering their career progression or making their jobs intolerable.

              Reply
              1. blackcat

                I have been to these sorts of events in academia!

                “How do I deal with a sexist labmate?”
                “How do I deal with a sexist student?”
                “How do I deal with a sexist PI?”

                These are not “girls night” issues, but rather women mentoring each other. And it is not helpful to have men invited, since there’s always the risk of them making the #notallmen points. Like, okay, #notallmen, but women benefit from sharing tips for dealing with sexist assholes. It’s not all men, but rather *enough* men that we benefit from sharing information and strategies for coping.

                Reply
                1. J

                  Yes to all of this! As a woman I have been marginalized bc of my gender many times. But I was reading this and I thought, if we women are empowering and educating ourselves but never have any panels that include men, then how can we hope to change the attitudes of the men in power? I don’t mean the ones like OP who are committed to being sexist, but the accidental sexists or the men who aren’t sexist but do t see sexism so they say things like ‘but women’s groups are sexist bc they exclude men’? I agree all women groups are essential tools. How do we communicate the knowledge we gain in a structured way, to all? Both men, and the other women who didn’t go to the panels?

          2. smoke tree

            Yeah, it doesn’t have the historical baggage but in the workplace I think it’s better to avoid gender-based events altogether (with the exception of women’s networking groups and things like that). Particularly if the team dynamics make that awkward–if there are only one or two men on the team, you wouldn’t want to leave them out.

            Reply
      3. General Ginger

        I would be completely in favor of a women’s professional development group or women’s only networking seminar or whatever other women’s professional events organized by the office, but I think stuff like guys’ weekends and ladies’ nights really don’t need to be connected to work. We can have those on our own time. Gendered “fun” really doesn’t belong in the office.

        Reply
        1. TechWorker

          We do unofficial women’s drinks at my company every couple of months.. but then we’re <10% women, and we go to the pub people always go to after work, so it’s not like men can’t join us if they’re around (and sometimes they do). This year it’s been a bit different because the new cohort were about half women, but usually there’s only one at most in a year group, so it seems worth them getting to know other women in the company.

          Reply
      4. pcake

        I live in California, and in the ’80s I managed a nightclub that had a ladies’ night. Everyone liked it – the women didn’t pay to get in, the guys were thrilled there were more women on that night each week, so the club did well each Tuesday, much better than on any other weeknight. But the club was sued by someone who felt having a ladies’ night was discriminatory ; the club lost, and we were forced to stop having ladies’night even though we offered to have a gentlemen’s night on a different day of the week.

        Reply
      5. RoadsGirl

        To go more into what happened, when I first started working at this office, it was let’s go spend the night at one of our camp properties and do crafts and whatnot.

        Then someone said “Hey, let’s invite A (a guy) with his video game console!” Which then (and this may be awkward) “G (another guy) is a certified concealed carry permit instructor and since we’re at a camp property those that want to could get certified if G is up for teaching a class!” (True story, wound up being a big hit and tradition–though it was always a small number of the office bunch taking the class, so I don’t think the pressure of a previous letter was felt here)

        It actually felt a little more natural than the ladies’ craft overnighter.

        Reply
      6. SarahTheEntwife

        Not everyone is either a guy or a lady. Gendered events doubly exclude nonbinary people who can’t go to either. (Or who are awkwardly told that of *course* we count as ladies/guys too! which is not actually helpful).

        Reply
      7. NorthernSoutherner

        Look, guys have the advantage even using the same restroom. Talking sports. Knowing they all visit porn sites. They just bond in that way that excludes women. In this culture, I just don’t think men really *like* women. We’re the buzzkill to their juvenileness. When we speak, they hear bossing and whining. That’s the reality.

        Reply
  2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#1, please don’t be that guy. As much as you enjoy your male colleagues, please don’t coordinate an all-male beach/golf weekend. If you want to hang out with a posse of guy friends, please hang out with non-work friends.

    The problem with this isn’t the culture we live in today—it’s the culture we’ve lived in for decades (including now), in which women’s professional advancement and mentorship has suffered because men maintain and cultivate social opportunities that are exclusively male. And it’s so normalized and common that men often don’t even realize how entrenched that culture is.

    In addition to everything Alison mentioned (which is on point), it’s generally not a good idea to plan social events with work colleagues where all of X group is invited while all of Y group is excluded. That analysis is pretty equal opportunity—I feel the same way about the letters we’ve received where female managers/bosses want to have a “girls sleepover.”

    I’m also preemptively going to say this: To anyone who complains about diversity programs or mentorship/pipeline programs for traditionally underrepresented communities (including women), this is not the same thing at all, and I’m not here to discuss why one form of programming is a problem while another is not.

    Reply
    1. Engineer Girl

      I have to agree. Opportunities come through relationships. And if you create relationships with some while excluding others you are also limiting opportunities.

      And Alison pointed out something telling. Why not relationships with the women?

      It’s pretty easy to have group weekends with all invited. We had mountain climbing weekends, chocolate parties (don’t do this when there is work the next day) ski weekends, rafting weekends, etc.

      Even if your intentions are good, it’s going to give the appearance of a “bro” culture. That will be a ding against you in a climate where we’re trying to include, not exclude. And the timing is really tone deaf.

      Reply
      1. nnn

        To avoid the appearance of a “bro” culture, in addition to making sure to invite all you co-workers, another thing you can do is invite spouses and partners, especially when the event is a weekend away. (But also sometimes invite spouses and partners to local events, so as to avoid excluding those who have children.)

        Reply
        1. Not Tom, Just Petty

          To avoid bro culture, realize that the women in the office might see this as “a gender based advantage” for the men or a “gender based exclusion” for the women, instead of seeing it a women causing “drama”

          Reply
          1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister

            That line stuck out to me as well. I think OP should really, deeply consider how he views his female colleagues, when his first assumption regarding their legitimate concern at being excluded from bonding and networking would be “women stir up drama”. I would bet if he sincerely evaluates his prejudices and behaviors, he’d find that he doesn’t give them the same professional opportunities or considerations as his male peers.

            Reply
            1. Specialk9

              The only time I’ve heard male angst or annoyance referred to as “drama” is if that male is either gay, or genderqueer. In other words, in roles that society (problematically) demeans by equating to being female. Think about that for a second.

              Reply
              1. General Ginger

                Yup. Or perceived to be gay via some set of archaic rules, from ‘wears pastels’ to ‘files his nails (yes, really).

                Reply
          2. MCMonkeyBean

            Yes, exactly, it wouldn’t be the women “causing drama.” If there was drama as a result of OP planning a weekend and excluding all of the women, it would be the OP who caused it.

            Reply
      2. RUKiddingMe

        Exactly. Also not to split hairs or anything (ok maybe a few) if there is an office of seventeen and nine are male that means that close to half of the office is not invited based solely on gender, ergo half of the members of this particular staff will miss out on anything that happens (regardless of OP’s protestations that it’s not about work) .

        Reply
        1. Falling Diphthong

          We can even take gender out of it and apply the kindergarten rule: less than half or everyone. An outing with 2 of your 16 coworkers wouldn’t raise eyebrows; invite only half the office and whether it’s “the cool people” or “the guy people” or “the people who are Just Like Me by some other measure,” it’s going to read as a clique of in and out people.

          Reply
          1. ThisIshRightHere

            I’m not familiar with the “kindergarten rule.” Can you shed some light on the context, there?

            Reply
            1. NerdyKris

              If you invite half or more of the class, you have to invite everyone. The number of people invited should not be more than the number left out.

              Reply
            2. Genny

              The rule is if you’re handing out invitations at school, you either need to invite less than half of the class or you invite the whole class. You are however free to distribute invites through other methods to however many in the class you want; you just can’t hand them out at school (this part doesn’t really apply to LW 1’s situation). In a class of 17 people, if you wanted to hand out invitations at school, you would half to either invite 1-8 people or all 17.

              Reply
              1. Ego Chamber

                Weird. My school had The Chewing Gum Rule for invitations handed out during class: If you’re going to do it, you have to bring enough for everyone.

                Reply
            3. Natalie123

              If you’re planning a birthday party or something for your child and want to invite their classmates, the ‘kindergarten rule’ says that you need to either invite less than half the class, or the whole class. It’s actually a decent rule for lots of non-kindergarten type situations, though!

              Reply
            4. Annoyed

              In school when kids invite orher kids to stuff like birthday parties (away from school) the “rule” is to invite everyone or less than half of the class to avoid hurt feelings.

              Reply
            5. IvyGirl

              It’s exactly what’s stated above, but rose out of the dilemma for inviting kids to a kindergarten birthday party:
              If you’re inviting less than half the class to the party, it’s probably OK, but if you’re inviting half the class or more to the party, invite everyone.

              Reply
              1. RoadsGirl

                To the class, if Pater is quietly passing out half a dozen invitations, most kids will assume Pater’s bestest friends get to go to his party. Tends to be fewer hard feelings or even kids who care.

                But once Pater starts hitting that half-way mark, kids start to wonder what they did wrong.

                Reply
              2. Sad Mom

                It still hurts (20 years later!) that one mom in the private school where my son attended invited every child in the class but two…my son being one of the two.

                I actually called her and asked her about it. (Yes, I was nice.) She floundered around a bit, and really didn’t have a reason other than “so many kids and trying to limit it.”

                Interestingly, I was a teacher in the same school. I made sure that the “kindergarten rule” was well-known in my classroom. It hurts to be one of only a few to be left out. :-(

                Reply
            6. fposte

              In addition to what people are saying, the point of the kindergarten rule is that it’s okay to selectively *include* people but it’s not to selectively *exclude* people. The “half the group” metric functions as a tipping point.

              Reply
            7. TootsNYC

              because small children don’t have etiquette discernment yet, and they’ll talk about everything, if all but 3 kids are invited to a child’s b-day party, those 3 will likely feel hurt at being left out.

              So schools often officially ask parents to either invite less than half the class, or all of the class.

              That way the kids who aren’t invited will have lots of company and won’t feel left out as badly.

              Reply
              1. Inca

                I’d like to add that those kids *are* left out, not just ‘feeling’ left out. It’s still creating a dynamic of exclusion that is not good, even if the actual not-invited kids don’t really notice.

                Reply
              2. Clisby Williams

                I have 2 kids and no school ever had that rule. The rule in my kids’ schools was that if you aren’t inviting every child in the class, you can’t hand out invitations at school.

                Reply
                1. Falling Diphthong

                  And the school directory with everyone’s email. I think the only time I dealt with this directly my kid was in preschool and there wasn’t a school directory–all communication went through the child’s cubby. After that it’s been the spirit–if you’re in a girl scout troop of 10, you don’t invite 7 of the other 9 to do some fun extra thing.

      3. Dust Bunny

        Plus, basically half of the team is female, and still no friendships? It’s not like, well, there’s one woman and we don’t work on the same projects so I haven’t gotten a chance to get to know her. It’s HALF THE TEAM.

        Reply
        1. Totally Minnie

          This stuck out to me as well. Unless OP’s office has gender-segregated cubicles, I don’t see how that happens accidentally.

          Reply
    2. HannahS

      Yes, exactly. You don’t manage each other, but when all the male coworkers hang out this is what starts to happen: your coworker John gets an assignment and says to your boss, “Oh, I’ll loop OP into this because I know he’s interested in learning more about XYZ,” when Jane would also be interested, but neither of you know that (because you guys don’t hang out with her), or Eric starts to prefer working with you because you guys just “gel” in a way that neither of you does with Carol (because you guys don’t hang out with her), or years from now, when Tim is serving on a hiring committee for his new employer, he’s going to recommend you over Elena, because even though you’re all from the same office, Tim can assure his new boss that you’re “a great guy with a great work ethic” in a way that he can’t with Elena (because you guys never hung out with her). Professional networks start with people who know each other as both workers and as people–literally, that’s what networks are. You are literally and deliberately creating a boy’s club where all the men who work together are going to get to know each other better, and BECAUSE you all work together, it’s going to have an positive impact on your present and future careers for you to all be friends. The women will be rightly furious, because they’re being excluded from that. And Alison is right. Eight women, and not one is your friend? But you want to spend a whole weekend with all nine men? It’s vanishingly unlikely that that’s a coincidence.

      Also, this is a lesser point, but it’s very bad manners to organize a social event within a group of people (your coworkers, your book club, your kid’s classmates) and invite half or more. The “excluded” should be the numerical majority. If you wanted to become closer friends with, like, two of your coworkers, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation, even if they were both men.

      Reply
      1. neverjaunty

        Professional networks start with people who know each other as both workers and as people–literally, that’s what networks are

        Exactly this. And the flip side of this kind of exclusionary networking is that it’s 2018. Many of those women are going to go on to positions where they will have the ability to affect your career. If Carol remembers you as that guy who couldn’t be bothered to befriend women and just wanted to hang with the bros, she’s not going to be super interested in hiring or promoting you, or recommending her to her friend Elena.

        Reply
      2. Mystery Bookworm

        I actually think letter 1 and 2 are related to each other in this way. That sort of ‘good gossip’ OP #2 is thinking of – that stuff comes up organically in work-related hangouts in a way that it doesn’t come up in workdays!

        Reply
        1. Luna

          Good point! This is very true. Even if the main purpose of the weekend is social, if everyone is there because they know each other through work there is a zero percent chance that no work will be discussed during the course of this “guys weekend.”

          Reply
          1. Autumnheart

            Yeah. I socialize with several people who are in the same industry as me. Guess what we talk about? Work.

            Reply
          2. Not So NewReader

            Yep. I noticed OP said there would not be any work talk. Good luck with that. Maybe two coworkers could successfully do this (doubtful) but nine people will not be able to do this. And OP will not be privy to every conversation to insure no work was discussed.

            Reply
      3. JamieS

        Eh if they’re bonding over more guy-oriented hobbies like golf I don’t think it’s that statistically unlikely. I know women also golf but, at least where I’m at, it’s very heavily skewed towards men. Basically sounds like OP, and possibly the other guys, just needs to expand the things he’s interested in to have more common interests with the women.

        It struck out that none of the men manage each other even though they’re the slight majority in the office so I’m wondering if the managers are all women or if there aren’t any managers in the office? Looking at it from a more selfish POV if managers are all women that seems like another reason not to do it since, even if they personally wouldn’t be included, it’s likely the managers would take issue with guy reports excluding women which could have an immediate negative impact on OP.

        Reply
        1. snowglobe

          I’m assuming that the guys know better than to have a social weekend with the boss, while excluding all the women. They figure that if it’s just peers then it’s ok.

          Reply
        2. Countess Boochie Flagrante

          Golf is a guy-oriented hobby because women were deliberately and systematically excluded from it for the longest time, and those barriers are in the process of coming down. There’s a huge and ugly history in the connections between golf and business networking, and the ways that women and non-white people have been traditionally excluded from golf.

          Reply
          1. Falling Diphthong

            My bil (a white man) learned to golf as a dutiful reality of having the sort of job where socializing-yet-work-mysteriously-comes-up is done on golf courses. His wife is the one who goes out and plays golf for fun.

            Reply
            1. Not So NewReader

              Years ago, my husband was told to join a country club if he wanted to advance his career. My husband heard his own drummer so he said NO and it was a firm NO. His career did not advance and he got shuffled around. He made 5 moves in 3 years. When they moved his job again, he quit. He recognized it as the GOB network and wanted no part of it. He wanted advancement based on merit and definitely not like this.

              Unfortunately he was in a line of work that routinely chewed people up and spit them out. So no one really noticed or cared.

              Reply
            1. Annoyed

              Oh so boring.

              Nevertheless women need to be given the same access/opportunities to attend these “it’s totally not gonna be about work…honest” outings.

              Reply
              1. Tisiphone

                I am old enough to remember women wanting access to these outings and the pushback being some variant of “We’re just socializing. You’re the ones making it about work.”

                That’s about when I started referring to golf courses as Outdoor Executive Board Rooms.

                Reply
            2. Not So NewReader

              If I had to play golf, I’d quit the job. I can’t handle the boredom. And I don’t do well with standing around just talking about things. I get to a point where I feel like saying just do the thing and stop talking about it.

              Reply
          2. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesInYourHouse

            Sorry, that’s the excuse gamers and so many other use. Plenty of women golf–and many would love to learn. Same with anything else ‘mae’–I know plenty of women ho would love to learn carpentry, electrical work, etc. And if you’re talking fun outings, sure, I’d go learn golf if I thought it’d help me network.

            Reply
            1. CMart

              It’s not an excuse though, it’s the history. “Why do more white men play golf in 2018 than women?” Because historically women and non-white people weren’t allowed on golf courses unless they were employees there.

              Of course women want to golf, DO golf (or play video games, or weld, or whatever). That’s why it’s important to include them when organizing a golf outing! Not just shrug and go “well ladies don’t like golfing so that’s why we only invited the dudes.”

              I can’t tell if you were disagreeing with Countess Boochie (since your comment is nested under them) or agreeing and adding your dissent to JamieS’s assertion that it’s probably normal for the women in OP’s office to have been excluded because the bonding happened over “guy” stuff. Because I think you agree with the Countess.

              Reply
                1. CMart

                  ” if they’re bonding over more guy-oriented hobbies like golf I don’t think it’s that statistically unlikely”

                  Wasn’t it though? My read of that statement is “if they activities they did together were male-dominated, then it’s not unlikely/it is normal that the men would have bonded to the exclusion of the women.” You didn’t cast any judgement on the idea either way, but that was how I read what you were saying.

                2. JamieS

                  No it wasn’t. Likelihood of an event doesn’t automatically equate to it being normal. My assertion was that if someone builds friendships based on things that are predominantly done by one group (or not done by another) it’s not unlikely most of their friends would be members of that group.

                  That’s not the same as saying that’s a normal thing to do because it’s not normal for someone to only make friends via hobbies that are predominantly only done by certain groups which was implied in my original post when I said OP probably needs to find other interests.

            2. Countess Boochie Flagrante

              How is it an excuse? My point is that calling golf a “guy-oriented hobby” is absolutely loaded with an ugly history of intentional exclusion.

              Reply
              1. Lara

                I think TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesInYourHouse meant that gamers etc will use the excuse that gaming is an inherently male hobby in order to exclude women. Whereas in reality there are tons of female gamers using gender neutral pseudonyms to avoid sexual harassment.

                Reply
                1. Starbuck

                  I also love seeing them change the definition of what counts as a “game” or “gamer” to purposefully exclude women and the types of games that women tend to enjoy (or games that are seen as such, whether that’s actually true or not). Do I get to be called a gamer for playing Sims and Neopets and SeaWorld Tycoon for hours and hours online as a kid? No, according to some gamer bros. What about my friends, who play DDR or CandyCrush or Farmville etc. etc.

                2. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesInYourHouse

                  Yes. While many women love D&D, video games, etc. But many male gamers insist it’s a guy hobby. Dragon magazine, about 15 years ago, had its fantasy cover art using a man in the traditional chicks in chainmail pose/style–scantily clad. Many of the men who read the magazine threw a fit, not realizing their own hypocrisy.

            3. The Glow Cloud

              This is my first AMA comment, even though I read obsessively. I needed to say I love your name.

              Reply
          3. Allison

            Just because women don’t generally like something doesn’t mean you can exclude all women from that thing.

            Reply
            1. Anne (with an “e”)

              I agree. They should: (in this order)
              A. Invite the women to the beach and golf weekend
              B. Do something else and invite the women
              C. Cancel this weekend event completely

              Reply
            2. General Ginger

              And if women en masse genuinely don’t like something (as opposed to are consistently and constantly excluded from it, which leads everyone to say, oh, they just don’t like it), then it’s still worth examining what it is about it they don’t like. Because if all the women in your office aren’t attending your, idk, wine and cheese nights, it might be because they don’t like wine and cheese — or they may have a problem with Bob who makes gross comments during wine and cheese nights.

              Reply
              1. Annoyed

                Then the “bros” need to get with the women and get *their* input into what kinds of things are mutually interesting and inclusive.

                Reply
              2. TootsNYC

                which would explain why women have been slower to adopt gaming, and why the visible face of gaming is male. Because there are some real assholes, and they make a bigger impact than their numbers.

                Reply
                1. Lara

                  It’s also true that plenty of female gamers use gender neutral handles to avoid harassment.

                2. General Ginger

                  As a (mostly former) gamer — agreed. I’m a trans man, but my World of Warcraft days were significantly pre-transition. I did luck out with some really good groups, but there was still so much completely unacceptable behavior towards female players. And, usually much less disgusting, but still very noticeable to me, were the attitude changes towards me when fellow players found out I was female.

                3. Starbuck

                  Also many male gamers tend to exclude certain types of games from what counts as being a ‘gamer’- I’m thinking of stuff like Neopets, Sims, CandyCrush, Farmville, etc. – games perceived (rightly or wrongly) as being for women or mostly played by women. They try to get away with it by calling them not ‘serious’ games or ‘real’ games but it’s so transparent.

            3. Mookie

              Just because women don’t generally like something doesn’t mean you can exclude all women from that thing.

              Also, that’s how exclusion and game-keeping work, by increments. You make it uncomfortable enough for a certain class of person to breach an unnaturally homogenous close-knit group of other people with matching backgrounds, and blammo! It’s more homogenous and exclusive than ever. It’s not that Women Don’t Like [the thing]. It’s that women — surprise! — often like women. We like to be around women, sometimes! It’s fun! I know it goes against all the Chill Girl rules, but I don’t like always being the only woman in the group. Male solidarity is marketed as healthy and an outlet (for what? What in patriarchy makes it so uncomfortable to be a man that they have to run away to their homosocial Man Meetings all the time?).

              Reply
          4. Jules the 3rd

            +100 Augusta National, the home of the Masters, started to allow women in 2012.

            2012 .

            “Augusta National’s membership policies became a major talking point again this spring because I.B.M., one of three principal sponsors of the Masters, had elevated Virginia Rometty to chief executive. The four previous chief executives of the company had been given club membership.”

            Ginny plays golf.

            Reply
            1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

              Yup. I believe the last time they commented publicly on this (last year), Augusta had three female members (of around 300 total). Yay.

              Reply
            2. KMB213

              Burning Tree (in Bethesda, MD) STILL doesn’t allow women. With a few rare exceptions (to shop for their husbands on specific days in December, primarily), women (including female secret service agents) aren’t even allowed on the grounds.

              Reply
                1. Natalie

                  By not letting her in the gate:

                  There are no women’s facilities at the club. Female taxi drivers are not allowed inside the gate. When a woman flying a small plane crashed near the 18th hole in the 1950s, Burning Tree employees quickly secured an area around the pilot and wreckage until the police arrived, when she was removed from the barbwire-protected grounds. When a female Secret Service agent announced herself at the gate in the mid-1980s — she was working a security detail for the visiting Australian prime minister — she, too, was turned away.

                  .

                  http://www.espn.com/golf/masters/story?id=1534920

          5. SheLooksFamiliar

            I’m a woman and I hate playing golf with a white-hot passion. It is SO BORING, even when they let me drive the cart. But when my boss invited me to play with my peers and higher-ups, you can bet I got coaching on my awful backswing. And I tried really hard to not roll my eyes when people said stuff like, ‘That’s a golf shot! That. Is. A. Golf. Shot.’

            See, I knew what a great opportunity he presented to me and wasn’t going to insult him by declining it. In the workplace – even after hours – golf isn’t always played just for the love of the game.

            Reply
            1. IL Jim P

              I personally don’t golf and hate it but luckily there’s a Top Golf nearby that actually makes it worthwhile and not too boring. Plus you don’t have to endlessly walk around a grass field. I always suggest it when someone asks if anyone wants to go golfing and most of the time people, even avid golfers, agree.

              Reply
        3. Observer

          They aren’t going because golf, they are doing gold because guys – officially because “we like each other” (but somehow we don’t like any of the women.)

          Reply
          1. JamieS

            I didn’t say they’re going because “golf”. I said if golf is the primary thing they’re building the friendship on it’s not that statistically unlikely the women aren’t included since women as a whole golf less than men.

            Reply
            1. Seriously?

              I would agree if the women were invited but chose not to come. Not inviting them because “women as a whole golf less” is a problem.

              Reply
            2. Observer

              Uh, no. The OP says that he wants to invite them to gold because they all get along with each other and want to hag out.

              Reply
            3. Luna

              I don’t think I would call golf the “primary” thing that the friendships are built on. Friendships are rarely about just one small thing like golf. I like soccer and it’s nice to have another soccer person around to chat with. But if that’s the only thing we have in common we aren’t going to become BFFs and plan weekend beach & soccer outings.

              Reply
          2. Not So NewReader

            The problem starts when they fail to invite women. The reason for not inviting them does not matter. They only invited men.

            Reply
        4. anonarama

          My dude, golf being “guy-oriented” isn’t a neutral thing when the club that hosts one of the biggest events in gold didn’t allow women to be members until 2012.

          Reply
              1. General Ginger

                Mary Stuart (Mary, Queen of Scots) is generally considered one of the first, if not the first, female golfers.

                Reply
                1. Annoyed

                  Isn’t she credited with actually “inventing” it even though officially some guy gets the credit?

                2. General Ginger

                  @Annoyed, a similar game was played in China in the 900-1100’s, and I want to say in Rome in the times of Augustus Caesar (but don’t quote me on that one). But modern golf does hail back to 1400’s Scotland, so it predates Mary by about a century. James II of Scotland passed a law prohibiting golf sometime in the 1450s, and Mary wasn’t born until the 1540s. But she is definitely the first serious female golfer, and may have come up with the word ‘caddie’.

                3. Cornflower Blue

                  THANK YOU FOR EXPLAINING, Google was bringing up nothing when I searched “famous female golfer beheaded” and variants of that.

            1. Cornflower Blue

              I what. What did I just read. I want to Google this to find out more but I’m scared it’s going to be some sort of weird misogynistic golf hate crime.

              Reply
      4. mimsie

        10000% the first paragraph. I was going to respond along these lines but want to respect Alison’s request not to pile on and add noise. OP 1, I don’t think you’re being malicious or intentionally mysogynistic so I beg you to read this response with an open mind.

        Reply
        1. Specialk9

          Exactly. OP is not doing this on purpose, but please listen when we explain why this thing that feels innocuous to you, is actually really harmful to others, and potentially to your future and your reputation.

          Reply
      5. Elemeno P.

        Yes, this is perfect! I’ve gotten my last two jobs because people got to know me as a person. I had the skills to do the job, of course, but one boss got to know me when I worked on another team, and one boss got a glowing recommendation from a former grandboss who got to know me at work socials.

        If Person A and Person B have the exact same skill set in every way, but you know and like Person A and don’t know Person B, you’re probably going to recommend/hire Person A in the future. If you have the opportunity to get to know Person B, take it! They might also be awesome, but you won’t know unless you hang out a bit.

        Reply
      6. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister

        This is such an exceptionally well-articulated response. Thank you for taking the time to write, and I hope the OP sees it and understands how his actions can be so damaging.

        Reply
      7. Orange Lilly

        This is also precisely why “culture fit” is such a problematic concept. It leads to all white, male dudebro offices.

        Why invite only men? Either your dislike women, be that overtly or tacitly, or you are “just more comfortable” with only men. Both of these are problematic and rooted in sexism. If you are a male member of the species and you have only male friends, you have been infected by sexism irrespective of whether or not you are aware of it. Irrespective of whether or not you agree with it.

        It is high time that people realize that they must go out of their way to interact with people who are different if they want to consider themselves a decent, fair employer/employee/coworker. Even if that makes them uncomfortable.

        OP – If you want to see yourself as a decent, fair person or even as merely a logical person, you cannot do this weekend. You must do some hard self-reflection and then go out and try and build friendships and collegial relationships with the women in your office.

        Yes, I did say logical. It is not logical to have friends who are only male. It is not logical to have friends who are only white if you are white. (Presuming you don’t live in an area where there are no women or no minorities). If you exclude a certain subset of people based on a characteristic that has nothing to do with their worth or their interests, then you are being illogical.

        This doesn’t happen intentionally, but it is also not accidental. It may be hard for you to break out of this pattern, but you can do it. I have seen old, rural, white men do it. One of my father’s clubs lamented they were only white old men. It was difficult for them, but they made changes and became an open, inviting club. Now they have young people, women, and the few minorities who live in the town in the club. It’s more vibrant and more fun for everyone. But they had to recognize they were the ones creating the barriers. That the barriers weren’t good for them. That they’d be better off taking them down. That they had to be the ones to do the work.

        Reply
        1. SophieK

          Culture fit does NOT lead exclusively to all white male dude bro workplaces. It is just as likely to lead to a mean girl vibe, a team building/faaaaaaamily vibe, and non gendered cronyism and nepotism.

          The concept needs to go, but can we stop the gendering please?

          Reply
        2. Classroom Diva

          The whole “culture fit” thing is actually a bad thing for businesses too, if they’d only think about it. Diversity brings diverse thinking to questions and problem-solving. If you all think similarly, then you may never see an obvious solution that just doesn’t fit your paradigms.

          Diversity allows for a broader perspective, more critical thinking, and better brainstorming. It’s good for business!

          Reply
    3. Spooky

      “I’m anticipating the women in the office hearing about it and causing some drama.”

      OP, I’ve got a mirror you can borrow to take that long hard look at yourself you clearly need.

      Reply
      1. Kat in VA

        “Women, so emotional, so hysterical, so dramatic, amirite guise?”

        No. No, you are not right, brocacho OP. They would be pissed off, and rightfully so.

        Reply
    4. David

      “…because men maintain and cultivate social opportunities that are exclusively male. And it’s so normalized and common that men often don’t even realize how entrenched that culture is.”

      Interestingly, the same exact situation appears in fields that are female-dominated (nursing, teaching, etc.) I would suggest that it is an issue with who has traditionally been in power (or driving the culture) in the organization instead of an issue with a particular gender.

      And now back to the office e-mails about our one social activity…a craft club.

      Reply
      1. Liz T

        The fact that you can name two fields dominated by women (without considering the larger societal forces that cause that cause that phenomenon) does not mean that this isn’t a gender issue.

        Reply
        1. Chameleon

          Also, while both nurses and teachers have generally been female-dominated, I suggest you look at the gender demographics of hospital and school administrators–i.e. the people in charge of nurses and teachers.

          Reply
        2. Countess Boochie Flagrante

          Not to mention, medical and educational fields are great examples of glass elevators — the entry-level or lower-prestige positions are primarily female-dominated, but when you look at who’s holding the significant positions of power and who’s making the real money, guess what… still men.

          Reply
      2. August

        Hm, no. Gender really can’t be excluded from the conversation. Fields like nursing and teaching are majority female because women are the ones who have been relegated to those high-effort, low-pay jobs. Also, situations like LW #1’s are so common because men, and only men, have traditionally been the ones in power and driving the culture in the vast majority of fields.

        Reply
        1. Cucumberzucchini

          I read somewhere that teaching use to be a male-dominated field, and when women entered the profession and it transformed to became a predominantly female profession, the prestige of the job was devalued. It was a really interesting article, I just don’t remember where I read it.

          Reply
          1. Archaeopteryx

            I remember learning that as well; I believe there was an NPR story that said that in the early pionee days, people realized that having free public schools all across the country would be less expensive if teaching became “Women’s work “… which could therefore be paid a lower wage. So the shift was not organic but intentionally engineered!

            Reply
          2. Frankie

            There’s a long history, also, of men taking over traditionally female activities that weren’t able to be done for work or pay (like beermaking)…suddenly men take over and can form guilds, etc., and make money off it, and the prestige goes up, and women are still excluded.
            This stuff goes way, way back, and some people just don’t understand that it’s been part of Western culture for centuries and centuries. A really good contemporary example is how the pro chef world can be a real boys’ club, while there’s still an expectation that women learn to cook well and provide daily meals for their families for no compensation.

            Reply
          3. ThePaperLibrarian

            The librarian field as well. There was actually a historic decision that switched the majority of librarians from prestigious males to humble, low-paying females. Melville Dewey specifically decided to hire numerous women assistants so that he could (1) pay them less and (2) sexually harass them.

            Even today, the men in the field have a tendency to rise to managerial and director positions much more easily than women.

            Reply
            1. Librarian person

              Exactly. My previous employer was a great example of this. Something like 82% of librarians are women (at least in 2011), yet out of the 9 upper management positions at my previous employer, 2 were women.

              Reply
          4. Academic Addie

            This is the case in programming and software engineering, as well. “Computers” originally referred to women who did computations.

            Reply
          5. CMFDF

            I took a diversity class in college (I forget the exact title of the class, but it was sociology and about minorities – race, sex, sexual orientation), and the teacher was explaining this – how men in “women dominated” fields make more money than the women, how when women start to crack into fields to make them more even, the wages stagnate, etc. The last unit had been about racism in housing, so when a couple students were confused by it, she described is as white flight, but for jobs, and not race-related (or exclusively so).

            Reply
            1. bonkerballs

              Not just pay, but prestige. For example, up until recently I worked at a preschool. Early childhood education is a very female-dominant field, and our school had about 25 teachers who were women and 3 teachers who were men. And those three dudes got so much praise and accolades from everyone – other staff, the families we served, our donors – basically just because they were men in a female-dominant field. People would see them with the children and think it was adorable and incredible that these three guys were so good with the kids, that because they had to change diapers they clearly had a passion for the work. Whereas they would see the women teachers who were just as good, just as caring, just as passionate, but because they were women and were expected to naturally be good at childcare, they just weren’t noteworthy.

              Reply
          6. Xarcady

            To use a volunteer example, leaving out the issue of pay. The Catholic Church, back in the 1970s, started to let lay men up on the altar to do readings, and eventually give out Communion. These were considered prestigious positions, and men sought them out. I can remember a time when men didn’t volunteer, they had to be asked by the priest to do these jobs, and there was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth when someone was passed over.

            Then, at some point, women were also allowed to give out Communion, and eventually to do readings. Women happily volunteered. And the men stopped volunteering in such numbers, because reading and giving out Communion became “women’s work,” just like washing altar linens and making coffee for the coffee and doughnut time after Mass.

            Men still do these things, but it is not seen as a prestigious position anymore. And parishes are sometimes left with not enough volunteers for these positions, because they aren’t seen as a big deal these days.

            Reply
            1. Vicky Austin

              My church has plenty of male altar servers, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, etc. We even have a guy who works in the kitchen and makes coffee for the coffee and doughnut time after Mass.
              Then again, my church is very progressive, so it’s probably not the best one to use as a litnus test of how “typical” Catholic parishes work.

              Reply
        2. Specialk9

          Interestingly, both were fields that were well respected and well paid when men did them. Add secretary to that list too.

          Reply
          1. Observer

            Nursing has never been a field dominated by men, and it was also never a field that was highly respected.

            Reply
          2. stitchinthyme

            The reverse happened with computer programming. It started out as a women’s job, and wasn’t highly valued…and then men discovered it, started shoving women out, and suddenly it became high-prestige and well-paid.

            Reply
            1. NutellaNutterson

              Programming also has the 1984 effect. Not the Orwellian 1984, the literal year.

              That’s when the first users of home computers entered college. And those home computers were marketed towards boys. (Why that was the case is something else to unpack.) So those boys were familiar with computers, maybe learned to program grew up a bit, entered college, had more experience than their female counterparts, and were perceived as “naturally” more capable at programming.

              Reply
          3. General Ginger

            Yup. My grandfather, an army colonel (non-US), went from active duty to a position as secretary to his ranking officer.

            Reply
            1. Kat in VA

              Yet somehow now, people will refer to me disparagingly as a “secretary” as in, “Oh, you’re just a secretary?” when I tell them I’m an Executive Assistant.

              I usually respond with an airy (yet pointed) version of, “Actually, I damn near RUN THE LIVES of the executives I support. These folks don’t get on planes, drive their cars, stay in hotels, go to meetings, or even know how their workday is going to go unless I TELL THEM. They don’t make it to meetings, they don’t talk on important phone calls, they don’t meet with the Board of Executives unless I engineer it. They eat lunch because I provide it, they remember their spouses’ birthdays because it’s on my schedule, and they don’t miss their kids’ lacrosse games because I remind them. So think of that the next time you call me “just” a secretary. Some of these executives can barely tie their shoes without me reminding them or doing it for them.” Then some kind of MUAHAHAHAHHAHA in there.

              Obviously hyperbole, but with a kernel of truth in there.

              “Just a secretary”…indeed.

              Reply
              1. Kat in VA

                urgh I repeated myself.

                Allison, any chance – pretty pretty – please that we might have the ability to edit our posts in the future? Sometimes I’ll rattle something off, hit SUBMIT, then re-read it and find a GLARING error that really upsets my former-proofreader’s heart.

                Pretty, pretty please?

                Reply
              2. General Ginger

                I mean, as loathe as I am to use it as an example, the head of state of the USSR (either de facto, de jure, or both, depending on time period/specific leader) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, or the First Secretary [of the Party]. The head of the UN is the Secretary-General. Heck, Cabinet Secretaries are a thing.

                Reply
        3. RVA Cat

          The same trend has happened in recent decades with pharmacists. I think the refusals to fill certain female-only prescriptions may be no coincidence….

          Reply
          1. Sethra Lavode

            This brings up memories of the pharmacy school professor who blamed women for devaluing the profession because we were entering it in such large numbers. He was a former head of the state Board of Pharmacy and just as pleasant a person as his remarks would indicate. The worst part was the school knew about his opinions, but between tenure and his status, he was never losing his position. Sexism devaluing a profession is a thing, but it’s a hell of a thing to blame the women entering the profession for that.

            Reply
          2. AMPG

            A doctor friend of mine told me that the same thing happened with the OB/GYN specialty. Once women doctors started being more prevalent, the pay dropped and it became a less sought-after specialty.

            Reply
            1. Kat in VA

              Which is interesting, because many, many women I know prefer a female OB/GYN because of their familiarity with the, ah, region being addressed.

              Me? I’ve had good and bad OB/GYNs of both (actually, all) stripes. I prefer small hands, gentle demeanor, and one that LISTENS to me and doesn’t blow me off (women docs do this too, not just men).

              Reply
            2. Vicky Austin

              I’ve read that in some Muslim countries, one of the few high-paid professions available to women is medical doctors. This is because their religion forbids a man to see any woman naked who is not his wife.

              Reply
      3. post-it

        Interesting. Nursing and teaching have historically been numerically woman-dominated for sure but the concept of holding power might be debatable.

        Reply
      4. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesInYourHouse

        Actually, you’re wrong. Study nursing and male nurses earn more than female which is stunning considering it is female dominated. Teaching is similar in that the few male teaching are often heavily favored and idealized (‘Men can do better teaching young boys!’) And no craft group I ever saw excluded men.

        Reply
        1. Justin

          100%.

          As a male educator, yes, it’s mainly women, and there are probably a few small things that tilt towards women in particular places, but overall

          1. Chicken or egg, but teaching became female-dominated and then, suddenly, all the money and respect went away. WHAT A MYSTERY
          2. We DO need more male teachers (esp teachers of color), but literally none of that means that men are being excluded in any way. We just treat teachers poorly so college graduate men are like, nah. (That’s a simplification, obviously)

          Reply
          1. Chameleon

            My husband is a teacher and there’s another reason:
            3) Men who do go into teaching are specifically pushed toward administration roles. My husband has been pressured to become an administrator since literally his second year teaching. (He has less than zero interest).

            Reply
            1. Middle School Teacher

              Men are also, unfortunately, discouraged from becoming primary school teachers. There is a creepy idea that a man who wants to teach primary school is a predator. Which is a) patently untrue and b) unfortunate because a lot of kids benefit from having that kind of male role model. A lot of men are either pushed towards admin or high school (because those Big Kids need a strict man to keep them in line).

              Reply
              1. RVA Cat

                Plus there’s the whole thing of male high school teachers who are coaches first and teachers as an afterthought.

                Reply
              2. RoadsGirl

                I’ve only taught in low-income areas, and the opposite is true in my experience! Schools and communities LOVE male teachers–precisely because they are recognizing potential positive male role model opportunity.

                Reply
              3. twig

                My favorite teacher EVER (one of the best I ever had — including college & grad school) was Mr. Norris in 1-3 grade.

                He was the exception, though. There was one other male teacher in my elementary school (and a male principal the first couple of years).

                ** Not adding this as a “nuh-uh! I had a male teacher” by the way… more as the exception that proves the rule.

                Reply
            2. A username for this site

              I ran extracurricular classes and I can give you a reason, 4:

              For every parent who wanted their son to have a “strong male role model,” there were 3 parents who threw an “I’m taking my money and leaving!” fit if their child had a male teacher. Typically, these parents had a female child, or a preschool aged boy. A lot of parents felt that a male teacher would not watch their child carefully and might be a pedophile and harm them.

              I spent a lot of time explaining to people that assigning teachers on the basis of gender, not qualification, was illegal and also resulted in an uneven development of staff skills (because preschoolers are inherently beginners, someone who is always teaching preschool will not learn how to teach the advanced skills proficiently.) And I spent a lot of time losing and having to reassign teachers to placate a tantrum.

              Reply
              1. Classroom Diva

                As a (female) teacher with a teacher son, I have seen this discrimination toward men. Women can babysit, help small children, and love on them. If a man tries? Parents assume the worst and complain. It is disheartening that men are treated like predators.

                As a woman, I fully realize the discrimination women have faced and still do. However, this does not justify discriminating against the formerly dominant group either. People are *individuals* and individuals hurt as individuals. My son hurts when people discriminate against him in the teaching field, as much as I hurt when someone discriminates against me as a woman.

                So, I would argue that we need to STOP with justifying ANY sort of discrimination and bias. Treat others as you would have them treat you. Man or woman, black or white, or pink with purple polka-dots. Just treat people as the individuals they are.

                Reply
              2. whingedrinking

                I used to work at a tutoring centre where there was a partly-unspoken rule that the owners did not hire male tutors. When the admin said this out loud at a post-work happy hour, I looked at her blankly and said, “They know that’s illegal, right?”
                “Yes, but they say it’s so hard to place students with guys, and that some of the parents don’t even want their kids going to a place that hires guys, and they think it’s pretty unlikely anyone’s going to find out and sue them for discrimination, so it’s not worth it.” (This place also tended to run summer camps themed around trademarked intellectual property with not a care in the world, so I wouldn’t personally have them pegged as legal experts.)

                Reply
        2. Rachel Morgan

          It’s the same was in libraries. It’s a woman dominated field (say, 80% are women), but more men are in places of power (management – say 43% of leaders are men), and the men get more pay. It’s definitely the same way in libraries, unfortunately.

          Reply
        3. RoadsGirl

          Teacher here. Men, particularly in elementary, are valued as teachers. There is the “they can better teach young boys!” plus in lower-economic areas where Good Male Role Models may unfortunately not be around, male teachers are often requested by single mothers.

          I certainly won’t condemn what a male teacher can bring to the table and the classroom.

          But last year I discovered another interesting thing. In public teaching, there tends to be salary schedules more or less set in stone by the district. If one wants to chisel away at this stone, there can be some salary negotiations. And there is that line about men being more likely to negotiate salary. A good friend had changed schools due to an exciting offer (getting to teach what he Loved) but there was a salary issue. And, of course, he negotiated for a comparable salary. I’m sure I could do similar, but it did feed in to the tendency of men finding a way to make more.

          Reply
          1. France

            “There is the “they can better teach young boys!””
            So infuriating. Who gives a crap about better teaching for young girls ?

            (Not saying men can’t, I actually don’t think you have to be the same gender to teach, but this train of thought that it is sooooo important to teach boys while forgetting girls is just… FFS.)

            Reply
            1. A username for this site

              This is common among parents in low-income minority neighborhoods in the US, where young men are much more likely to drop out of school, get involved in crime and end up incarcerated, and are less likely to be employed as adults.

              It’s not “who gives a crap about girls,” it’s that in that little slice of the world, the girls are finishing school, staying out of trouble, and find gainful employment, when the boys are not.

              Reply
            2. RoadsGirl

              There is some concern and complaint in education that the traditional system is better geared towards girls and that boys are indeed left out. I haven’t looked at enough research to decide how true it is, but apparently it is a concern that girls are already receiving an education style that tends to be better for how many of them learn, and when many boys tend to learn a different way, they are losing out. The case is made a male teacher can perhaps better reach those boys, or better implement a style more suited toward them.

              Reply
              1. Autumnheart

                Which is interesting when you consider that girls have been historically excluded from formal education altogether, and in many parts of the world, still are. But when girls start outperforming boys in the same setting, oh, suddenly it’s a crisis.

                Reply
                1. RoadsGirl

                  If the system is set up to favor one group (and it doesn’t matter what group that is), it is best to find a way to fix it, is it not? It is a crisis when, as a username mentioned, one group is fasttracked to poverty and prison because of the system.

                  My view would to be a much more diverse education system set up to reach people on a much more individual basis.

                2. Classroom Diva

                  It isn’t okay to justify bias and discrimination toward a group, just because they have been historically privileged. People are *individuals*…not just the group they belong to. When you pick on a group, and justify mistreating them or ignoring their pain, you are mistreating and ignoring the pain of real people, real individuals.

                  That isn’t okay. As a teacher (female), I can tell you that what Roadsgirl says is true, as well as A user name for this site. Boys ARE falling behind in school, are going to college far less (check the percentages of girls vs. boys in most colleges), and are being labeled ADHD or behavior problems in droves.

                  As a mother of sons, I have seen the change, because it impacted my boys (and, yes, I have a daughter too). Sometimes, when we correct a system, we over-correct it. This has happened in some places in education.

                  We need to come to the understanding that bias and prejudice simply have no place in society regardless of historical power. Sure, equity demands that we help level the playing field for historically marginalized groups, but we also can’t justify an over-correction either, because it isn’t a *group* you’re punishing, it is individuals. Equity means leveling the playing field and bringing everyone UP, not knocking others down and justifying it.

                3. More Complex

                  I feel people really need to actually look into these things because most of the time people are blaming the wrong things. People love to point out the fact that boys are more often diagnosed with ADHD but completely ignore the fact that boys often have the hyperactive-impulsive subtype of ADHD while girls predominantly have the inattentive subtype of ADHD. This is a huge difference and teachers are only really trained to notice the hyperactive-impulsive subtype. There isn’t an over-diagnosing of boys; there is an under-diagnosing of girls because they’re more likely to get lost in a day dream, missing entire lessons, than to be unable to sit still. Which one is most likely to be suggested for testing: the kid refusing to sit down and being loud or the one sitting quietly and looking out the window? “Influence of Gender on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children Referred to a Psychiatric Clinic” is a really good paper that discusses all this.

      5. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

        In addition to what Liz said, I’d argue that women aren’t actually “in power” in those situations either. I don’t know anything about nursing, so I’ll speak to teaching.

        Women may dominate the field of teaching, but they don’t have much of the power in their workplaces. About 75% of teachers are women. But only slightly more than half of principals are women. Less than 25% of superintendents are women. Less than half of school board members are women.

        Female teachers creating social opportunities for themselves is a survival mechanism, not a consolidation of power through “the old girls’ club.”

        Reply
        1. Justin

          Frankly, as a male teacher of color, there are a lot more issues with race in education than any worry about how male educators are treated poorly in any way.

          We men are gonna be okay, as we always are.

          Reply
        2. Orange Lilly

          There are more women now going to law school than men. They don’t have any real power. And the occupation is being devalued daily.

          It’s not coincidence.

          Reply
          1. Allison

            It’s like women decide to go into a men’s profession so they can make a decent amount of money in this economy, and men are like “ugh, this career path is OVER!”

            Portlandia, anyone?

            Reply
          2. The Other Geyn

            This. My law school (and other law schools) love to boast about the fact that there’s more women than men in their incoming class. But the male to female ratio in partnerships in firms is still…not good.

            Governments and non-profits tend to be better though, but based on my (anecdotal) evidence, government positions tend to be more female dominated because the firms are so bad about promoting women.

            Reply
            1. Lynn

              Not just promoting women, but a complete lack of work/life balance for anyone at many firms. There’s rarely support for having kids, dealing with sick parents, etc. Government jobs, on the other hand, provide support for those things and typically have much better vacation and retirement benefits, even though the salary is lower (or much lower).

              Reply
        3. CMFDF

          I work for a school district (not a teacher). My department has two types of jobs – in-school positions, which are hourly, school year-only, and district office, which are salary, year-round. I have the first type, it is great and works for my life. (I also make more money than I did at my previous, year-round job, so my complaints are few.) But it’s not lost of me that 90% of the people who are hourly are women, and 90% of the people who are salary are men.

          Reply
      6. Mainly Lurking

        Actually the ‘Glass Escalator’ effect is a well known phenomenon in professions dominated by women such as teaching or nursing, whereby men in these fields traditionally advance faster and higher than their female peers with the same qualifications and experience, so it’s really NOT ‘the same exact situation’, unless you meant to say that men still get more chances to get ahead.

        Reply
      7. Jules the 3rd

        Also, while I can’t speak to teaching, no RN I know, male or female, has a problem getting hired. The male nurses I know who work in hospitals (qty = 3) all struggle not to get promoted (they’re not interested in management), or tapped for special projects, etc. They are the first people the admins go to when there’s new tech being proposed or developed; two of the three are on the tech boards. They get extra pay for that…

        There’s some drawbacks to being a male nurse (esp workload and lifting) but lower pay or lesser opportunities are not problems the way they are for women in male-dominated fields.

        Reply
      8. Annoyed

        Teaching and nursing? Two of the jobs that have historically been the only “acceptable” ones for women to have?

        Two areas where the male members og said professions get paid more, irrespective of the fact that they have no higher degrees, more experience, or qualifications of any kind than their female counterparts? Even in 2018?

        Poor men, so oppressd.

        Reply
      9. Jules

        David, presumably you are invited to the craft club. The issue isn’t that there are golf outings; it’s that women aren’t invited, on the basis of their gender.

        Also, I’m a teacher who has worked on teams with four women and one man—and we definitely included the guy in all our social activities, none of which were “gendered” activities. A gender imbalance doesn’t have to mean excluding the minority.

        Reply
      10. coffeeandpearls

        It seems like everyone in the office was invited to your craft club, though.

        I’d be glad to have more variety in my office socials, but I’m not going to be picky since I know the same small group of women volunteer their time to organize our happy hours and board game lunches (that everyone is invited to and occur during office hours so we all are able to attend). I’m not that into board games, but I go to have a nice time with my co-workers and network.

        Reply
    5. Fiennes

      It would be one thing if, say, two other guys on the team shared an interest, and three of them went off to do that for a weekend day. Because then it’s not “guys’ day out,” it’s “birdwatchers’ day out” or similar. (Even golf would count, if these three are the only avid golfers.) But the minute all the guys are invited just for being guys, it stops being an activity limited by common interest and starts being limited by gender. The first isn’t necessarily a problem (though cliques can form out of anything.) The second is definitely a problem, and that’s what we have here.

      Reply
    6. Clisby Williams

      Seriously, don’t do this. It’s not so much that it’s a group of guys, it’s that it’s all the guys in a very small group with none of the women invited. I used to work in IT where about a dozen guys took a golf trip like this every year. However, that was a dozen guys out of about 1400 people overall. They weren’t all on the same team; they weren’t in the same departments; they didn’t do the same kinds of work. They just happened to have made friendships over the years, during the course of their work.

      Why not suggest a beach weekend for everyone, including spouses? People who want to play golf can do it; people who want to do something else can do that; people who would rather stay home can do that. 17 people is not a lot of people.

      Reply
    7. Michaela Westen

      “female managers/bosses want to have a “girls sleepover.””
      OMG, I hadn’t seen this before. Even without the gender issues I would *never* want that level of intimacy with my boss and colleagues! I would start looking for a job with good work/life boundaries if it was even suggested. :o

      Reply
  3. Thankful for AAM

    Follow up re #5.
    For me, company A got a very new name after I left. Neither is recognizable even locally. Do I list it as company A, company B, or as company A, changed to company B? Just curious.

    Reply
    1. beth

      I’d probably say something like “Company B (Formerly Company A)”. Getting all the names in there covers your bases.

      Reply
      1. GlitsyGus

        Company B (Formerly Company A) is exactly what is currently on my resume. It has never proven to be an issue.

        Reply
    2. YetAnotherDevManager

      I have a job that changed names after I left. I call it Company B (formerly Company A) on my resume.

      Reply
      1. No Tribble At All

        Ditto. Company A was bought by Company B, and I list it as “PositionName, Company B (formerly Company A)”

        What would you do if the position changed names but not responsibilities? Like, Company B decided all its llama wranglers would be called llama herders instead. Would you do “Llama Herder, Company B (formerly llama wrangler under Company A)”?

        Reply
        1. Gen

          My spouse has worked 7 different roles for a company that has been renamed and/or bought out by other companies 5 times in the last decade. Some of his roles changed when the company was incorporated into larger international orgs and others span two company names so his CV is a mess no matter what we do to format it

          Reply
          1. Admin of Sys

            I had a similar situation years ago, and I just eventually smoothed out the entries. Now it’s under the name of the company that it was when I left, with the job roles split out only if there was a major promotion. The information is correct, just not complete – but much like leaving off short jobs in your resume, there’s not a need to include every variation.
            (Though if it was a small company gobbled up by a larger, worth-name-dropping company, I’d probably include that somehow)

            Reply
        2. Antilles

          In most industries, I don’t think you need to worry too much about the titles changing names because the exact titles vary enough within the industry that it’s not particularly relevant as long as they get an idea of your responsibilities – a “Project Engineer” at my firm is an “Engineer IV” at other firms and is plain “Engineer” at still other firms.
          If you’re filling out a background check form or similar situation that demands all jobs, titles, details, etc, then you have to…but for a general resume, I think you’d usually be fine just sticking with one title unless you have a clear reason you want to highlight a title change (e.g., promotion, major change in responsibilities, etc).

          Reply
        3. Ali G

          Yeah you don’t really need to worry about lining up all the titles with different company names. I worked at the same place for almost 9 years and had so many frivolous title changes it was ridic. We also changed the company name as well. What I do on my resume, is pick the 3 titles that show the progression of my career the best (always include the accurate most recent one) and then align my supporting accomplishments under those. So it looks something like this:
          Llamas Inc (formerly the Llama Group)
          Director, Llama Health (this is either your current title or the one when you left the company)
          **List supporting accomplishments
          Manager, Llama Petting….

          Reply
        4. Beatrice

          I have one where my former employer was a boutique agency bought by a megacompany known for their high-volume low-cost (*cough* low-quality) work in a significantly different part of the field. I list it like Designer, Grace Adler Designs, Jan 2005-Nov 2012 (acquired by K-Mart in 2013). Listing it the other way would lead to incorrect assumptions about pretty much everything about my experience there.

          Reply
      2. Not a Blossom

        That’s what I do too. Former company name is much better known in my field (to the point where for that branch of the business, they are considering reverting back instead of using the giant company’s name), so I want that on my resume. People in my field are just learning who Company B is, but Company A has a long history and is very well respected.

        Reply
    3. CAA

      If names were changed after you left, list the name of the employer you actually worked for. The “acquired by” part is optional. You’re not expected to keep up with the name changes at your former employers, but if you know there was a change, it’s fine to include it.

      For example, don’t do this:
      Amazon (formerly Shoefitr) – Feb 2010 to Dec 2014

      Amazon acquired Shoefitr after you left, so you never actually worked there, and if I figure that out, it will look like you were being deceptive and claiming experience you don’t really have with a bigger, better known company.

      List it like this
      Shoefitr (acquired by Amazon in 2015) – Feb 2010 to Dec 2014
      or this
      Shoefitr – Feb 2010 to Dec 2014

      If you stayed through the acquisition and worked for both companies, there’s a little more leeway to use your judgment, but I’d say if you’ve been with the new company for a year or more, that’s generally the one you should list first, with the old company in parens.

      Reply
      1. starsaphire

        That’s my situation as well, and I do a similar thing on my resume:

        Alpaca Wrangler, 2004-2009: Alpaca Global Research (now Llamas, Inc.)

        It’s never caused any confusion that I’m aware of. Helps that one of my old alpaca wrangling co-workers is now the Managing Llama Wrangler and has always given me a good reference.

        Reply
    4. Cat Herder

      Our department (in an academic institution) had one name for a long time —very distinctive—everyone knew it. Then it was changed into an extremely generic sounding name. (People thought our department had been eliminated!). On my resume and on LinkedIn I just list it as “Current Name (formerly Previous Name)”.

      Reply
  4. neverjaunty

    OP #1, dismissing your female co-workers’ concerns about sexism and the history of excluding women in the workplace as “drama” is… a really good indicator that this isn’t as neutral an event as you would like to tell yourself.

    Reply
    1. all aboard the anon train

      Yeah, that jumped out at me too. Implying that there will be drama just because they’re women reeks of sexism, though whether it’s internalized or intentional is hard to tell.

      Reply
    2. Julia

      I came here to say the same thing. The women aren’t “causing drama”, they’re responding to it, and appropriately as well I assume.
      That’s like saying you invite only half your classmates for something and then accuse the other half of causing drama when they’re upset. Not cool.

      Reply
    3. Sami

      Oh yeah. I really didn’t like that. Unfortunately for a former college drama major, drama is used as a gendered term far too often.

      Reply
      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Yeah, that did not read well for OP, and unfortunately, it makes OP’s proposal read as even more gendered/problematic than OP may realize. [I almost wrote that it wasn’t a good look, but I decided that was kind of judge-y/harsh/unkind of me.]

        It’s not “dramatic” to be concerned about the cultivation of a good-ol’-boys club at work—it’s a valid, legitimate, and significant concern. OP’s proposal undermines workplace equality and then minimizes his plan to perpetuate inequality as “women … causing drama” because of the “office culture.” Both of those phrases come off as really dismissive. If OP implements this guys weekend, OP will have caused any resulting drama, not his female coworkers.

        Reply
        1. Loose Seal

          And having worked in banking, I’ve noticed that it tends to cling to ‘the ol’ boys’ network’ way more than other professions I’ve worked in. That could be something else for OP to consider: That or might be endemic beyond his branch which would make it even more right for him to work toward cultivating relationships with the women in banking as well.

          Reply
          1. snowglobe

            I was going to suggest the opposite. I currently work for a very large regional bank, and the company is trying very hard to shed the ‘boys club’ image and focus on diversity. In our company, if one of the women reported this to HR, the hammer could come down pretty hard on the all of the guys involved, which is another reason not to try this.

            Reply
          2. The Other Dawn

            Another banker here. I would agree with the ‘good ol’ boys’ network. It’s very prevalent in every bank in which I’ve worked. Lots of lunches together and outings to the golf course. My current bank does have a small group of women–a mix of management and other officers–that go golfing, but it’s way less often than the guys. And they don’t leave in the middle of the day to go lunch and then go golfing for the rest of the day like the men do. Also, the guys are always the ones that are representing the bank in any bank-sponsored golf tournaments.

            Reply
            1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

              Investing here, and hard agree. My firm is working very, very hard to promote diversity & inclusion, but you can still feel the GOB-ness clinging to the surfaces.

              Reply
              1. Liz T

                Yeah, I work at a large financial services institution. There’s the usual corporate emphasis on diversity/inclusion, but still almost all the women are admins (and almost all the admins are women), and in a paltry harassment seminar I had to go to there were still dudes saying, “Oh if that client’s a sexist jerk I just wouldn’t bring women to meetings with him” and things like that.

                Reply
              2. Ladyphoenix

                I think the thing is that unless there is a massive system shake up (all the old men are booted and women and poc get in the higher upper power), you won’t see this behavior change on a massive scale. At best, your (general your, btw) great great great grandaughter might see an actual progressive investment/bank.

                Reply
            2. Old banker

              Years ago there was an organization called Savings Bank Women. There were monthly dinners with a speaker. It was a great way to socialize without being “manspained” to. Unfortunately it went away with the demise of the savings bank era.

              Reply
            3. Michaela Westen

              This is totally Mad Men. Taking the whole afternoon to play golf? I didn’t think anyone did that anymore!
              Wish I knew what bank this is so I can avoid it!

              Reply
    4. beth

      Right? As if “I’m going to plan a team outing and only invite half the team, everyone else isn’t cool enough!” isn’t a move straight out of the high school mean kids playbook. But when he and his manly buddies do it, clearly it’s entirely justifiable–men don’t do drama, after all!

      Reply
    5. Hills to Die on

      It’s incredibly unprofessional, tone-deaf, and sexist to say that the women will cause drama because you are choosing to deliberately exclude only them from a social coworker event. Maybe they don’t appreciate those things about that everyone else sees here. If I were a decision maker at your office and I knew you went through with this, I would avoid ever giving you any additional responsibility, especially if it involves direct reports. Not because I’m a woman, but because of your poor decisions making skills and thoughtless actions.

      Reply
    6. Luna

      Yeah, major cringe when I read that part. Alison is spot on when she said the LW needs to examine why he is not friends with any of the women, and he would probably do well to also think about his relationships with women more generally, both in professional and personal contexts.

      Reply
    7. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

      This did jump out at me, yes. As did the subtle disapproval of “the office culture we live in today”.

      Reply
        1. Kat in VA

          I can report a high level of folks on Teh Interwebz and in real life who long for a return to those simpler, better, happier times…

          You know: simpler, better, and happier for anyone that *wasn’t* female, any color other than white, LGBTQA+, any religion other than Christian, and any socioeconomic strata below middle class.

          Those were just FANTAAAAAA-STIC for that limited slice of the population. The best part is some of those folks pining for “the good old days” were very young or not even BORN YET.

          Reply
          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

            That part is understandable. They feel they missed out on a ridiculous amount of privilege by having been born too late. They want to go back and experience the awesomeness first-hand.

            Reply
            1. Kat in VA

              …while simultaneously decrying the still-imbalanced-in-their-favor amount of privilege they still experience RIGHT NOW.

              Reply
      1. Michaela Westen

        The office culture we live in today tends to keep a boundary between work and social.
        So it’s not like Mad Men or My Favorite Husband, where the white male employee and his wife socialize with the boss and his wife… yes that was simpler, because neither the employee or the boss had to make friends outside of work.
        Does OP have friends outside of work to hang with? If not, he could work on that.
        If he wants to show his appreciation for his colleagues he could do something less intense, like ordering lunch (for everyone).

        Reply
    8. smoke tree

      Yeah, that seems like a standard use of the deflecting passive voice to me. If you decide to exclude colleagues from events on the basis of gender, you are the source of the drama.

      Reply
  5. beth

    #1: It doesn’t matter that business isn’t officially getting done. It’s still a chance for ‘just the guys’ to get to know each other better, bond, and form a closer team. That has repercussions in the office. When you have a question, you go to the people you know and like talking to; when you’re looking for help with a project, you look to the people you already have a relationship with; when you’re looking for someone to pull into a client dinner, you go to someone you know can hold a conversation and socialize smoothly. It’s natural to turn to people you know and trust for these kinds of things. But when you’ve built stronger relationships with the men in the office better than all the women, it ends up in a position where you’re likely to ‘naturally’ funnel all the opportunities to the men. It has a sexist impact, even if your intent had nothing to do with gender.

    If you want to plan a group outing with your coworkers, keep it simple and just invite everyone. You might well find that you enjoy your female colleagues’ company more than you expect.

    Reply
    1. Jen S. 2.0

      I’d maybe even allow it AS LONG AS there were immediate plans to have events with other — mixed — cross-sections and groups. Singles. Couples. Talls. Shorts. Youngs. Olds. Renters. Homeowners. Kids. No kids. Runners. Couch potatoes. First half of the year birthdays. Second half birthdays. Whatever.

      But if it’s the bros and then nothing else? Just, no.

      Reply
      1. Antilles

        Disagree. It’s still a problem even if you did have other events planned. “Oh well, we had one guys’ weekend getaway and one singles-only weekend getaway, so it all sorta evens out” doesn’t actually address the root cause of excluding people.
        Also, practically speaking, there’s no way it actually *would* even out in reality since people will overlap into different groups – OP1 and John are both single and guys so they can attend both the guys’ weekend and the singles getaway, but Sarah can only attend one and Mary is a married woman so she is specifically excluded from all of the networking events.

        Reply
        1. Specialk9

          Right. You don’t exclude people, you just try to provide a mix of activities (and sometimes you promote some people specifically but let others come – eg financial planning talk for women, Hispanic celebration group, LGBTQ pride). That’s how my company works. We are always having events, and it can be a good way to meet people.

          Reply
      2. beth

        Nah, just don’t go there. If there’s 1 event for everyone and also 1 event for just the bros, that still means the bros get more relationship-building chances than everyone else. If there’s 1 event for all the married people and 1 event for all the bros, then the married bros get more relationship-building chances than everyone else.

        Just don’t do demographically-limited events unless the goal of the event is explicitly to promote that demographic and give them a leg up. This is fine and good when it’s a marginalized group that you’re trying to promote–that’s generally an effort at increasing equality. But there’s no excuse for making an exclusive event specifically for the group that historically has the most social power behind them.

        Reply
  6. Aphrodite

    OP#1, I find myself a bit disturbed by your statement that you are “anticipating the women in the office hearing about it and causing some drama.” I wonder if you’d say this about the men if you were asking all the women for the weekend. Perhaps unconsciously, but I suspect your brain is equating women with drama and you don’t even realize that you think this way. It’s worth exploring your choice of words.

    Reply
    1. Agenda

      I wonder how OP would feel if he learned that all the women in his office were invited to, say, a weekend at the firing range, and not one man was invited because “men tend to rape women”. Which is of course a completely​ ridiculous, offensive, divisive, and unfair generalisation, much like the “women cause drama” bit about his letter.

      Reply
  7. Thursday Next

    LW #1, on the one hand I applaud the awareness you’ve shown in flagging a “guys’ weekend” as a potential problem. You haven’t forged ahead with this plan, which is good.

    On the other hand, let’s look at what you’ve flagged as “problems”: that your female coworkers might find out about it, which might cause “drama.” It’s worth considering those two things. Typically, when we worry that others might find out about something, it’s because we think that something should be secret. But should a coworkers’ outing really require secrecy? If an event can’t be openly acknowledged, I think you need to examine the nature of the event.

    You’re concerned about “drama” should news of the beach weekend reach your female coworkers. Even setting aside the gendered implications of “drama,” isn’t “drama” just a reaction to (unjust) exclusion? It seems like you recognize, on some level, that secrecy and exclusion are both problematic, and I hope you heed those instincts in addition to Alison’s excellent and succinct explanation of why all-male social events have historically put women at a professional disadvantage.

    Reply
    1. Lumen

      This is what I thought as well. OP, you already know that many, most, or all of the women you want to exclude will not be pleased about this, or even indifferent to it. You know it will be a problem, but don’t want to take that seriously. That’s even more of a red flag, to me, than the idea of the guy’s weekend: it’s the implied belief that half of your workplace will get upset “over nothing” just because of their gender.

      Simply put, it sounds like you already know this is isn’t really okay. However, the fact that you’re here asking gives me some hope that you’ll decide against this. Not because of the “drama”, but because in reading these answers you start to understand better WHY it’s not okay.

      Hope you don’t get too jumped on, because that’s something I really do want you to understand.

      Reply
      1. Jen S. 2.0

        Yay Lumen. +1.

        And not for nothing, I hope OP 1 really gets it, and doesn’t just “solve” it by not inviting half, but instead inviting Dudes 1-4 this week, Dudes 5-8 next month, Dudes 1, 3, 5, 7 the following month … **facepalm**

        Reply
      2. Tardigrade

        Yes, I think OP at least has an inkling that the situation is not OK, and it’s why he asked AAM.

        Reply
      3. Orange Lilly

        I don’t want him to feel too jumped on either, but I do think he needs to realize that if he does understand this is going to cause hurt feelings and he’s trying to get to do this anyway and just dismiss or suppress those hurt feelings, the issue isn’t just his sexism, but that he feels entitled to his totally optional fun weekend even if it hurts someone else. That’s rooted in the sexism, but it is also something that young people do when they are too young to realize that they need to consider other’s feelings and sometimes *gasp* they can’t get to do a fun thing because the downsides to other people are just too great.

        There is a sexism aspect here. There is also a maturity aspect here.

        Of course, we could be totally wrong about this. OP may not have those issues. But he surely must be made aware that this is how he will be perceived by the women in the group and how he will be perceived by management.

        Reply
        1. Luna

          This isn’t really about hurt feelings, this is about being denied participation in an event that could otherwise have a positive impact on one’s career opportunities. Being ostracized in the workplace by coworkers because of one’s gender. Those things are real, and harmful.

          Reply
          1. Orange Lilly

            That’s why I said “the issue isn’t just his sexism”

            I wasn’t saying the sexism wasn’t real or most important. Only saying there’s another dimension even if the sexism wasn’t there.

            It’s BOTH sexism and immaturity.

            Reply
        2. CMart

          Man. I’m in my 30’s and I still really struggle with “uggggh I know X isn’t cool and that I shouldn’t and if people find out it won’t be good, but damn do I wanna. Is there a way I can still do X and avoid all the negative consequences?”

          Sometimes the better angels of my nature win out. Sometimes they don’t. I actually really appreciate your comment, Orange Lilly, for reminding me that it’s important to continue to improve in that department

          Reply
          1. Oranges

            Ditto. And when the better angel does win out, if it was an epic struggle (to me) then I go and ask for “cookies” from other white/privileged people I know. Because if I can’t do that (admittedly) not good thing can I get a pat on the back pretty please?

            Reply
    2. Lilivati

      OP doesn’t see it as a problem with the outing he has planned. He sees it as a problem with his female colleagues blowing it out of proportion. There’s a clear and very telling difference between those things.

      Reply
  8. Observer

    #1 I’m trying to wrap my head around your question. You have an office that is just over half men. Somehow all of the men are friendly with each other, and not with any of the women. And you are planning a beach weekend only for the men, when no official work is being done so of course it’s has no bearing on office relationships at all, oh no! But, you know that all of those (terribly emotional) women are going to are just going to CAUSE all of this drama over a COMPLETELY innocuous activity that absolutely does NOT have the effect of excluding women. But, yeah, it could be it doesn’t look so innocent.

    So your question seems to be that you want to know if you really need worry about how bad your idea is going to look, and how to keep all of those drama queens from kicking up too much of a fuss. I know that there are still lots of people who think that way. But I’m blown away that this is so normal to you that you expected Alison to actually possibly tell you how to do this without any blowback.

    Reply
    1. Mary Richards

      Ok, I’m chiming in because Alison said it and I can’t find evidence: yes, the men are all friendly, but I don’t see that they aren’t friendly with the women. That in NO WAY justifies any of this, but I do think that it’s not fair to assume that the women are not friendly with the men.

      Reply
      1. Les G

        I think it comes from the assumption that if OP were friends with any women, he would invite them too. Which makes no sense, of course; when I’m friends with someone I tend to exclude them and then preemptively gripe about the drama *they* cause. /s

        Reply
        1. Specialk9

          It’s a pretty straight read of the letter. “I work at a bank branch of about 17 people, nine of whom are male. I’m considering inviting all the guys in the office for a weekend at the beach. We all get along and enjoy golfing, and think it could be a fun weekend. I wouldn’t be advertising it around the office because this would be a “guys weekend,” but since all the guys in the office are being invited… The simple fact is that us guys are all pretty friendly towards one another and enjoy each other’s company.”

          Reply
      2. Scarlet

        Well, if OP was friendly was any women in the office, why would he be specifically planning an all-guy weekend?

        Reply
        1. Mary Richards

          I don’t disagree, but multiple commenters have made it sound like OP explicitly said that the guys are close and aren’t friends with the women. He said the guys were friendly and didn’t mention their relationship with the women. Sure, it’s logical to assume that the men have some kind of boys’ club environment, but it might be that everyone has a decent relationship and this guy’s sexist justification for this trip is “all the guys are friendly, so we should do it.”

          Reply
          1. Temperance

            I think in these cases, you don’t have to specify that you’re just all bros because the context (that all the men are friends) is enough.

            Reply
          2. Mookie

            If he’s friendly with his female colleagues and likes their company, he wouldn’t need to keep this a secret (indeed, wouldn’t be able to, if they got along because the topic would invariably come up before or after the weekend) and he wouldn’t be ridiculously anticipating their ire when they find out. People you like and respect you don’t treat like they’re inconveniences to your fun.

            Reply
        2. Roscoe

          Possibly. I have a very mixed friend group. Sometimes the guys have guy nights and the girls have girls nights.

          Reply
          1. Nephron

            And if he wanted to invite his 2 women friends from the office, but he knows they hate the beach or they would have to bring SOs while no one else wants to bring SOs, he would have likely mentioned it as he did take the time to explain why he is inviting only the men. The letter as written makes no mention of none of the women liking the beach, or none of the women having the time because they are all part of a team working that weekend to finish a launch. He says this is purely social and not work related, making his decision to include and exclude purely social, implying rather strongly that he has no little to no social ties with any women in his office while having social ties with all the men in his office.

            Reply
            1. twig

              This kind of bugs me: ” they would have to bring SOs while no one else wants to bring SOs”

              It implies that women, necessarily, would need to get “permission” or bring their SO’s as a chaperone, while men would not.

              I assume that you didn’t mean anything by it (I like to assume the best of people) but this has tripped me up a couple of times reading your comment so I thought I’d mention it.

              Reply
              1. Nephron

                I meant it as an example of why he might be in the situation by accident rather than design. My sister rarely goes on trips without my brother-in-law because they are best friends and want to take vacations together so investing the time and money into a trip for 1 would be less enjoyable for them. I did not mean a women cannot go to the beach alone, I meant the coworker might not want to use vacation time on a group trip without SO.

                Reply
      3. MusicWithRocksInIt

        I’m guessing that the other men are friends with the woman in the office, but the OP is not? It would be really strange if none of the men were friends with any of the woman, and at that point I think this office would have other problems that need to be addressed. But he didn’t even say that he has brought this up with the other men yet, so this is just his perspective at this point.

        Reply
        1. MatKnifeNinja

          You can be friendly and not be friends. I have many women friends, who’s SOs would be torqued about a golf weekend where SOs and spouses were not invited.

          *assuming the event was a overnight thing

          Reply
      4. snowglobe

        ” We are simply hanging out. The simple fact is that us guys are all pretty friendly towards one another and enjoy each other’s company.”

        If the guys are friendly with the women and enjoy their company, why aren’t they invited to hang out? This statement pretty clearly implies that the friendships are between all the guys, but not the women.

        Reply
      5. NW Mossy

        While it’s not explicitly stated, it’s also possible that there’s some alignment between roles and gender in this office as well. If the men are mostly llama groomers and the women are mostly rice sculptors, there may be fewer natural relationship-building opportunities in the general flow of work, furthering the sense of a gender divide.

        Reply
  9. Lacroix

    #1 – I don’t want to pile on, but the phrasing of your post is a dead-giveaway.

    – You not only want to invite 8 other men on a holiday, you want to invite ALL of the men in the office, and NONE of the women. This is clearly not a coincidence. Do ALL of the men like golf and NONE of the women?
    – You would clearly prefer that the women in your office not even KNOW about this weekend, let alone take part. Why? Is it because you think they would be upset? Why do you think they would be upset?
    – You keep reinforcing that this will be ‘informal’ and you all just ‘get along’. TBH, it seems fairly obvious that you wish to be able to ‘relax’ and ‘be yourselves’ without those pesky killjoy women around. What are you going to do / say on this weekend that you couldn’t do in front of your female co-workers?

    Think about it this way – what if you asked all the guys in your office but one? Do you think that would be fair on him? Do you think he’d feel left out and excluded? Well, extend that empathy to the women in your office.

    Reply
    1. Yvette

      The way Lacroix put it, and I mean this as a compliment, reminds me of the writing exercises I was given in school. You were presented with a short written piece, had some of the facts reiterated, and then asked very pointed prompts, all designed to provoke thoughtful responses. The whole exercise was designed to really make you think deeply about a situation.

      Reply
  10. Cambridge Comma

    I suspect that part of OP1‘s reasoning is that as the men wouldn’t mind if the women had an all female weekend away, it isn’t a problem for them to have one.
    OP, imagine instead that half your office went to Ivy League schools. This group socialise together and have a special bond. You have the feeling that they share information that you are not privy to, and that they go to a group member with any potential projects and opportunities before going to non-group members.
    You didn’t go to an Ivy, and are forever excluded from this group, even though you have a good education that you worked hard for.
    Would this situation be OK with you? If not, why not?

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      You also have to throw in that people who went to your school are on average paid less for the same work, promoted into senior management at lower rates, penalized for professional behavior that the other group is rewarded for, and experience other negative professional consequences simply because of their alma mater. Now look at the exclusion from work social events through that lens.

      Reply
        1. Mazzy

          Wait…. is this true and do other people know this? This one racks my brain I thought it would be the opposite

          Reply
          1. Thankful for AAM

            Mazzy,Jazzy, in the ivy league analogy, OP#1 did NOT go to the ivy school and so is in the group that is paid less and is generally excluded.

            Reply
              1. Marthooh

                Hey, sometimes autocorrect jAUTOCORRECT IS YOUR LORD AND MASTER, DO NOT QUESTION AUTOCORRECTust does weird stuff, lol.

                Reply
    2. Jen S. 2.0

      Love this.

      So you busted your caboose at Stanford (which, while often lumped in with the Ivys, is PAC-10) or Georgetown (Big East) or Duke (ACC) … and you work your way into this job to find that the Princeton and Columbia peeps — who aren’t smarter or more qualified, because you’re all at the same level and getting paid the same — can’t be bothered with you.

      Ouch.

      Reply
      1. Marion Ravenwood

        I might have to tweak it for a British version (eg Oxbridge/red-bricks vs plate-glass universities).

        Reply
    3. Tim C.

      This happens where I work. Except they are called baby or wedding showers. The men are invited, they never attend. These events are planned outside of and in addition to any shower done by the employees family. If a male member of the department is getting married or expecting a first child, nothing is usually planned because guys just don’t.

      That being said, I have never had a problem getting ahead at work being male and more than half of the 50 plus employees in my department are female.

      Reply
      1. Specialk9

        Every male co-worker at my office who has had/adopted a baby has gotten a shower and gift. (And my place of employment is pretty male/white/conservative at management levels.) We don’t celebrate weddings, because that’s kind of weird and lots of people live together these days.

        Reply
        1. Specialk9

          Also, if you’re saying that women exclude too, so it’s ok… Maybe read this whole thread like 10 times, with an open mind. You’re missing something hugely important.

          Reply
          1. Chameleon

            Not to mention that the men *aren’t* being excluded–they are specifically invited but don’t come (because it’s women’s stuff and therefore a waste of time?)

            Reply
      2. Jules the 3rd

        Also: “The men are invited”. Not going is their choice. That’s a pretty big difference from not being invited.

        Reply
        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

          And even if the men weren’t invited, it’s still not the same thing. Or rather, it is — it’s reinforcing the emphasis that women are expected to place on children/family/relationships/emotional labor (i.e. not their profession).

          Reply
      3. Frankie

        You’re sort of demonstrating with your comment that “girls clubs” don’t wield the same professional power that “boys clubs” do, because you don’t face any penalties for not attending, you’re invited in the first place, and you appear to have no problem getting ahead without participating in these events.

        Reply
      4. Holly

        I mean, this is still potentially indicative of a sexist (against women) culture. It presumes a woman is excited for a wedding, the man is not, and the woman is the primary child care, the man is not. And it kind of backs it up if the man are invited and don’t attend (either they could feel unwelcome or they could feel its a silly womens event that they don’t want to be a part of)

        Reply
        1. pleaset

          And I’ll add something as a guy, to other guys: in talking about sexism, listen more and talk less. And if your initial reaction is to push back against the idea that X, Y or Z is seriously sexist do just talk: stop, listen more, and talk less.

          Reply
        2. Mookie

          As you say, this example is unwittingly brilliant, and captures exactly what women have been saying here, above and belowthread.

          Reply
      5. Iris Eyes

        “the men are invited” and therein lies the difference. It is one thing when you self exclude, another when you aren’t invited in the first place.

        Let’s change it around and say the finance department is always invited to the baby and wedding showers but none ever attend, no one in the finance department gets a baby or wedding shower because they just don’t. The lack of showers is connected to the displayed indifference to showers, after-all, why would anyone bother to throw a party when the guest of honor won’t show up?

        Reply
      6. Jules

        I mean, I definitely think that 1) male members should show up to the showers if they’re invited and 2) they should also get showers for the same things (and probably they should help plan some of the showers).

        But, again, there is a huge difference between declining an invitation and not receiving one at all.

        Reply
      7. tusky

        This part of your comment jumped out at me: “That said, I have never had a problem getting ahead at work being male and more than half of the 50 plus employees in my department are female.”

        If I am understanding you correctly, this illustrates that gendered power dynamics aren’t just a function of demographic numbers. Or, women can still be marginalized even if they are a majority in a given situation.

        Reply
      8. SarahTheEntwife

        If the men never attend showers despite being invited, that gives a pretty strong impression that they don’t like baby showers. Why would I throw a party for someone who consistently indicates that he doesn’t like that kind of party and/or can’t be bothered to show up if the presents aren’t for his kid?

        Reply
    4. Mr. Bob Dobalina

      OP#1 – I was also going to comment on this generally– no matter what the invitees have in common–even if they have nothing obvious in common, this scenario is a problem and shouldn’t be done. Just going by the numbers: an activity where 9 employees are invited and 8 are intentionally excluded will be a problem and shouldn’t be done. Throw in discriminatory selection based on gender, religion, race, marital status, etc. (too many very sensitive factors to list here) and it’s a complete siren-blazing no-go.

      Reply
      1. SaffyTaffy

        *quietly singing* Mr. Kitty Tuckus, Mr. Small Kitty Tuchus, Mr., Mr. Kitty Tuchus, Mr. Small Kitty Tuchus…

        Reply
    5. Vicky Austin

      “I suspect that part of OP1‘s reasoning is that as the men wouldn’t mind if the women had an all female weekend away, it isn’t a problem for them to have one.”

      Yes, some men*, when making decisions, use as justification, “I wouldn’t mind if Jane did the same thing to me, therefore, I don’t expect that she’ll have a problem with me doing it.” They fail to realize that putting themselves in someone else’s shoes doesn’t mean asking themselves, “How would I feel if Jane did the same thing to me?” but rather, “How is this action of mine going to impact Jane?”

      *Some women do this too, but in my experience, it’s usually dudes.

      Also, off topic, but I LOVE your screen name.

      Reply
      1. Anonymeece

        Ooh, thank you for putting this nicely!

        It’s similar to something I’ve seen where women complain about being catcalled, and men say things to the effect of: “I’d love it if a woman said that to me!”.

        Sure, you’d love it if a woman did it to you, a man. Would you love it if you were a woman and a man did it to you? Because they’re a whole big difference in that.

        And based on his reply down below, I’d argue that this is exactly what he’s thinking.

        Reply
  11. Tau

    Hey OP3, just wanted to say that this sounds like a difficult situation on a personal level and that you’re navigating it really well. Amanda going off on you in text was inappropriate – let’s hope that she gets that now that she’s sober and isn’t bringing it up because of that.

    Reply
    1. Lumen

      I agree with AaM and Tau that Amanda is probably embarrassed, more than anything else. Treat her with the same respect and kindness you would want to be treated with if you got drunk and shared some vulnerabilities and insecurities that you wish you hadn’t. You can’t manage her feelings, only your relationship with her. And that means maintaining the healthy boundaries you’re trying to set.

      Reply
      1. Elle

        Hi! I’m OP3. I’m glad that so far what I’ve been doing seems to be the consensus advice. I worried that my natural tendency to avoid interpersonal conflict was clouding my judgement!

        Reply
        1. Tardigrade

          I think you’ve shown great judgement about this situation -distancing yourself from Amanda, making sure Gina doesn’t feel excluded -and I agree with AAM about not bringing it up unless she does or starts treating you differently.

          Reply
        2. Hey Karma, Over here.

          Not at all. This isn’t conflict-avoidance, this is damage control. Your boss acted inappropriately, as her employee* you are following her lead regarding the unfortunate event. Let her bury it.

          *I don’t mean inappropriate in a way that hurt you physically or systematically harassed you. You are friends navigating a weird dynamic, not adversaries in a toxic work relationship.

          Reply
        3. Anonym

          And your concern that Gina not feel excluded really does you credit. You’re navigating a tricky situation with kindness, thoughtfulness and grace.

          Reply
    2. Logan

      Agreed that OP3’s been doing well. I’m in a situation where I have a few former colleagues who are becoming managers, but thankfully it’s not just limited to me (they are managing several people whom they were quite close to), so in our case it’s easier to navigate as a group. But it has made me think, because I have one person whom I am quite close to and they are going into senior management nearby, so I have wondered how we would navigate that relationship if we ended up overlapping at any point.

      I think that I would, at some point (because my friend is a thoughtful manager and I think really well of them), say something to the effect of “I want to help you succeed, so at work I will strive to treat you as professionally and respectfully as possible. Please let me know if there is anything else that I can do to support you.”

      Rereading your letter – I was wondering if maybe you can frame a comment in a way which sounds supportive of her professionally (assuming that you can say it honestly), and addresses the underlying feeling without the texts specifically (I’d be tempted to wait at least a few weeks, or maybe bring it up if she’s done something supportive of your work). Maybe ask if she prefers that you not discuss as much personal stuff at work, and leave it to an occasional social after hours? Essentially do a check-in, where you say that things are going well for you but want her opinion. I don’t know – these situations are very personality dependent, and I’m not always good at navigating these problems, although I think it’s important to find ways to support good bosses while maintaining a good relationship. Good luck!

      Reply
  12. Frug

    I’m actually a bit confused about #1. Why is this a problem? It’s a social outing and it’s organized by peers, not by management. My husband’s coworkers organize girls nights out quite often and no guys are invited. They’ve actually invited me and other wives but no male coworkers or husbands. I don’t think they’ve ever run into problems.

    Reply
    1. Hills to Die on

      There are some pretty good explanations posted above. Also, spouses vs coworkers is a bit different than this scenario (again, for the reasons others describe above).

      Reply
      1. Frug

        Those are specifically called girls nights out and male coworkers are not allowed but their wives are. So the few times I’ve attended I was on my own, without my husband. If my husband was married to a man, he wouldn’t have been invited.

        Reply
        1. Julia

          I don’t think two wrongs make a right, as in, “others are excluding X group, so why can’t we”?.
          It also seems like either the female co-workers or the wives are invited, so even if no men are, their spouses would still benefit from the networking for them.

          Reply
          1. Tau

            It also seems like either the female co-workers or the wives are invited, so even if no men are, their spouses would still benefit from the networking for them.

            Eh, I don’t think we’d accept “it’s a men’s weekend away, but we’ve invited the husbands of the female employees!” as an excuse if the genders were the other way around. To say nothing of how that line of thought treats single people, or how heteronormative it is.

            Reply
            1. Scott

              Why on earth would a man want to spend a weekend away with his wife’s … coworkers? What a bizarre thing to suggest.

              Reply
              1. Natalie

                Yes, that’s exactly the point. The top-level comment, the one Tau is responding to and that is the subject of this entire thread, is about a “girls night” work outing where they invite the wives of male coworkers as well.

                Reply
                1. Frug

                  To be fair, there aren’t that many of us and there are many married coworkers where my husband works. I guess they didn’t want the few of us to feel excluded because I know quite a few of them socially.

          2. Temperance

            It’s also not remotely comparable to men’s only activities, because, historically speaking and currently, women are not in positions of power in the same way that men are.

            Reply
        2. neverjaunty

          So the women at your husband’s workplace get it coming and going? They don’t get to hang out with their male co-workers on the “guys’ night out”, and unless their spouse is also a woman, the “girls’ night out” excludes their spouse, too.

          Reply
          1. Frug

            The guys don’t organize a guys night out ever. But all of my husband’s coworkers of similar age hang out together outside of work and they stay friends with people who leave the company.

            Reply
            1. EPLawyer

              Hanging together outside of work — without their female colleagues IS a guy’s night out. They just don’t call it that. Do they stay friends with their female colleagues who leave the company? Do the guys NOT include the women because they have “their own night out.” Which is justification for not inclusion, but is still exclusion from the main group.

              Having events based on gender is always a problem. As noted above, networking is about getting to know colleagues as people. If you are never in situations where you can do that, the historically excluded group remains excluded.

              Reply
              1. Frug

                No, no, I meant that they hang out together – all of them, men and women, quite often. They often organize social outings and everyone’s invited (male or female, it’s always a mixed company) but women organize their own girls’ nights every now and then. I’m not sure they refer to them as girls’ nights out to be honest, I forgot the exact wording.

                Reply
                1. Forever Twirling Towards Freedom

                  I think this seems a bit weird (and sort of unprofessional) but ok for a couple of reasons:

                  1. It’s different when it’s men instead of women, because women are generally at a disadvantage in the workplace, and there isn’t a long history of “old girls clubs” keeping men down, like there’s a history of “old boys clubs” keeping women down. Especially in a male-dominated field like banking (in the OP’s case).

                  2. They all hang out together for the most part. In the OP’s example, it sounds like the guys all hang out together and not with the women at all.

        3. Davina

          To me, these Girls’ Nights Out actually sound… not great. It brings a lot of unwanted stereotypes into the office about how different men and women are. Men like cigars and golf, women like shoes and wine! Except — not really?

          I was once at a group dinner on a business trip with my boss, other department heads, and the Big Boss. All my colleagues were men, and they’d all brought their wives. As a single woman, I was relegated to socializing with the wives, with whom I had nothing in common except the shape of our private bits. None of them worked in our field. Their conversation was about things like decorating their homes. Meanwhile my male colleagues were all forming lifelong bonds at the other end of the table.

          I’ve never forgotten it.

          Reply
          1. Washi

            Yeah, I think I would feel very uncomfortable about that just for my own sake. Women-only social activities feel like they place too much emphasis on gender in the workplace – like I’m a lady so of course I like giggling over margaritas with my ladyfriends – in a way that doesn’t feel compatible with people seeing me as a polished, capable, professional regardless of my gender. Also, I’ve always worked in female-dominated nonprofits where having a girls night and excluding my few male coworkers would genuinely be harmful. Men belong in caring professions just as much as women belong in technical fields, and I think it hurts everybody to divide up based on gender for social activities.

            Reply
            1. Washi

              (I should note that I feel very differently about affinity groups, women’s mentoring programs, etc, that are based on combatting inequality rather than defaulting to gender as a way to organize social activities)

              Reply
            2. Gazebo Slayer

              Yes – though I’ve learned from experience there can be bro-ish, or downright misogynistic, pockets within female-dominated orgs or industries. I once worked in an otherwise all male department (on my shift anyway) within a majority-female field, and it was awful. My boss ranted to me endlessly about how ridiculous feminists were, and my coworker literally told me in so many words that I was too emotional to do my job because I was a woman. (In a majority-female field.) I of course objected, and he got me fired for not getting along with him.

              (He also openly said he was there to do the bare minimum he could do without getting fired, and didn’t know some of the basics of his low-level job despite having worked in near-identical positions for ten years. But he was buddies with the boss, and that was what mattered.)

              Reply
            3. Emily K

              Agreed. My female friends and I do get together semi-regularly for what we often call “ladies nights” but 1) they’re not my coworkers and 2) although the get-togethers are mostly women, it’s actually at all uncommon for one or two of our male friends who is into the stereotypically “girly” things we do (wine tasting, clothing swaps, craft workshops, brunch, etc) to join us.

              We informally call them ladies nights a lot because they’re oriented around traditionally female-oriented activity (see what I did there?), but among our mixed gender group of ~10 mutual friends, everyone is always welcome. None of us ladies are bothered if men want to engage in some stereotypically female activities – as feminists we actually think more men should be engaging in sterotypically female activities more often until they aren’t stereotypically female anymore :)

              Reply
          2. bohtie

            I promised myself I wouldn’t word-vomit all over this thread but I will heartily second this comment about gender stereotypes. As a butch, I pretty much get it coming and going — if (and that’s a pretty big if) I’m “lucky,” I get invited to guys’ events because they perceive me as being “basically a dude,” right down to having a wife, and if I get invited to women’s events, a lot of straight/cis women are visibly uncomfortable with my presence because they don’t really think of me as a woman either. So generally I get invited nowhere, or if I am invited, everyone acts weird about me being there no matter what.

            Reply
            1. Teapot librarian

              I’m sorry that people suck. (I won’t invite you anywhere, but that’s because I’m a terrible socializer.)

              Reply
            2. Specialk9

              Man that stinks.

              My old company had an unusually high ratio of not-quite-openly L/G folks, and I never noticed them being treated differently socially (though as cishet I might have missed the subtleties – but I was good friends with several and they never mentioned it). My current neighborhood also has openly gay couples, and they’re just Buddy & Bork’s moms, etc. I was hoping that this was becoming a totally blase normal thing. I’m sorry to hear that not true.

              (Also, you’re not really a woman because you aren’t femme and you date women? Argh that’s sexist and awful BS.)

              Reply
              1. bohtie

                Yeah, I don’t mind being thought of in the general sense as “basically a dude,” but not when it’s used as an excuse to deny the importance of my identity as a woman who loves women, if that makes any sense. Those things are equally important.

                (note: I have used varying terminology in my previous comments here, because sometimes I refer to myself as nonbinary and I do trans-adjacent things like planning to have surgery and it’s often hard to know what words to choose when addressing an audience to whom that may or may not mean anything. In case anyone has seen my other comments and is confused!)

                Reply
          3. ceiswyn

            At a previous company, our social events tended to end with a long unstructured evening during which the men/techs would clump together and play poker, and the women/admins would clump together and chat.

            I was a woman tech, and every event it was just assumed that I would go with the female admins. I had to ask to join the poker group. And they were fine with including me, but I HAD TO ASK in order to hang out with the people who were actually my peers and professional network. Men were included by default, without even being asked whether they liked poker.

            Reply
          4. Pollygrammer

            At an old job, after-work happy hours were usually all women. Know why? Because pretty much every entry-level employee was female. All the men in the org were at least one level higher, and managers weren’t going to come to a coordinator-level happy hour. So that kind of illustrates the point from the other side, I think.

            Reply
          5. Luna

            I mean I can see in situations where the women are the minority in the workplace and they want a chance to vent/bond about certain issues they deal with because of that, it could be understandable. But I would never call that an official “ladies night”, and going to the trouble of inviting female spouses is odd.

            Reply
          6. Iris Eyes

            Yes, while I enjoy chit chat when a group I was hanging out with suggested that the women would all hang out in one room while the men watched the football game I pushed back every time. There are only 16 games I’m guaranteed a year and by golly if I have the chance to watch my team play we can chit chat another time. Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I don’t have interest in the game for the sake of the game. Add to the fact that I’m the only single in the group and its sometimes a bit of a trial.

            Reply
        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          It’s not ever a good idea to segregate office social events by gender, unless it’s something designed to support people in the face of professional underrepresentation or bias. But the history that I talked about in my original answer puts men-only groups in a different context and makes them more problematic. You can’t ignore that historical context.

          Reply
          1. Tau

            I do struggle with where the line is sometimes. My old job had a brief attempt at launching a monthly Ladies’ Drinks Evening. This was a really male-dominated environment, literally everyone on the tech side of the department other than me – something along the lines of 20 people! – was a man. I really liked hanging out with women I didn’t usually have that much to do with at work as a result, it came as a real breath of fresh air. But at least one of the men complained because they felt it was sexist and exclusionary, and I’m guessing that was why the event petered out.

            Was it exclusionary, or was it supporting an underrepresented group frequently subject to bias? I’m still not sure.

            Reply
            1. Fergus, Stealer of Pens and Microwaver of Fish

              I’m guessing whoever complained about it thinks the Society of Women Engineers is sexist and the NAACP is racist. I’m hopeful that at some point in the not-too-distant future, underrepresented groups don’t have to band together just to get a seat at the table or heck, to even discuss how to get a seat at the table, but until then, I’m not going to get all pearl-clutchy about it.

              Reply
            2. Thursday Next

              Underrepresented groups in workplaces/industries often have associations and meetings, and it’s a completely different scenario from a dominant group having all-whatever events. (It seems like this is your gut feeling as well, Tau.)

              It has to do with present and historical concentrations of power, and different histories of access. So, for instance, women haven’t been entrenched in STEM fields the way men have been, they’ve had a harder time breaking in, fewer mentors once they’re there, and more barriers to advancement. Women in STEM groups exist to discuss and counteract these things.

              A man complaining that a group like that was exclusionary for not being open to him is missing the point entirely. It’s appalling that complaints like that can effectively put the kibosh on these groups.

              Reply
              1. No Tribble At All

                There have been summer camps for girls in STEM canceled or forced to become boys-and-girls because dudes complained it was discriminatory (one of Univ of Michigan, for example). So Fergus, Tau, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s why :(

                I did a Society of Women Engineers summer camp in high school, and it’s one of the reasons I’m an engineer today.

                Reply
                1. Cambridge Comma

                  Yes, where I work ‚Bring your daughters to work day‘ is now ‚bring your sons and daughters to work day‘ because of vocal complaints by female staff members with sons. Fewer girls attend now.

                2. Myrin

                  @Cambridge, that now fewer girls are attending makes me really sad. :(
                  (And apart from that, I’m always especially aghast when crap like that stems from the mothers/other women. Like. You should know what it’s like, why are you perpetuating this shit instead of teaching your son about (in-)equality?)

                3. KayEss

                  Re: women wanting to bring their sons to work… I think there’s potentially a lot of inherent value in exposing boys to professional women at an early age and encouraging them to see women as respected authority and mentor figures. But everyone involved has to be on board with that goal, which is a rare degree of organization in this kind of event.

                4. Thankful for AAM

                  I have a son and in his individual life there were so many girls only opportunities for coding or whatever and few for all. AND my husband is in a field that still skews all male and I see the problems and work to support my husband addressing them. On the one hand I see we need to address the societal issues re gender and on the other, it could at times feel like a reduction of resources for my son. Both are true to an extent.

                  And guess what, my son is a sys admin and taught himself coding (hacked his own education and has no uni degree). I’m pretty sure the women who got all those coding classes as kids and have university degrees would not have been hired without the degree as he was. So we still have a long way to go.

                5. Temperance

                  @Cambridge Comma

                  It’s sadly now “Take Your Child to Work Day” everywhere. That’s really sad to me.

                6. Nita

                  About Bring Your Daughters to Work – why would fewer girls attend just because there are boys there? At my office, and at my parents’ jobs (so this is going back 20ish years) it’s been Bring Your Children to Work as long as I can remember. Definitely don’t recall being made to feel somehow unwelcome by the fact that my parents’ events were not only for girls, and in my office, it’s about 50-50 and no one’s kids stay home because they’re girls and it’s engineering.

                7. Frug

                  I don’t think children should be treated differently because of gender.

                  @Thankful for AAM, I know women who are self taught and have programming careers now.

                8. Fergus, Stealer of Pens and Microwaver of Fish

                  I don’t know that I’m all that disturbed by “Take Your Children to Work” – as adults, we know what kinds of issues still crop up re: gender, but kids probably don’t yet and I think there’s value in raising them such that everyone just does stuff, rather than girls do this and boys do that. I think we’re a lot more likely to have adults who think of each other as people rather than genders if we just treat it as a given that all kinds of kids can do all kinds of things.

                  Signed – lady with no kids and therefore no dog in the fight, so take with a hefty grain of salt

                9. Kj

                  @Nita- Girls often opt out or hide in the back in mixed gender contexts. This is why all-girls schools benefit girls’ education and increase their confidence, but all-boys schools do not benefit boys in the same ways. The research on this is really interesting and it is why I defend organizations like Girl Scouts that choose to be just for girls. Research is fairly clear that girls do best at learning certain things (mostly male-coded things) in spaces that are all-girls. I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is. I attended an all-girls HS and was Girl Scout and will say firmly that those experiences helped my confidence immensely and made me more likely to speak up for myself, as that was encouraged. My brother does not feel his time in boy scouts or at an all-boys school helped him. And research backs this perception up.

                10. Temperance

                  @Fergus:

                  Children start taking in societal crap regarding gender roles basically from birth. It’s better than it was when I was a kid, but there’s still a lot of shit out there.

              2. smoke tree

                I was invited to one of these Women in STEM meetings at a telecom company I interned for, and men were allowed to participate but they tended to dominate the discussion by arguing that they don’t have any gender biases when they hire, so it must just be a coincidence that all of the women in the 500+ person office could easily fit around a single boardroom table (and most of them worked in HR or technical writing).

                Reply
                1. Chameleon

                  I know that this thread is probably more or less over by now and this doesn’t add much to the discussion but OH MY GAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWDDDDDDD

          2. RUKiddingMe

            “You can’t ignore that historical context.”

            But “everything is “equal” now … so no fair giving women “special” treatment.”

            Reply
              1. RUKiddingMe

                Wait, that came out wrong. The sarcasm was directed at the type of comment the males make about how things are equal and women getting special treatment, not at the historical context.

                Reply
        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          I may be reading too much into your questions, but I feel like you have an underlying question. And it sounds like it might be more sophisticated than drawing a false equivalency between one activity (that has a long history of creating structural penalties for women’s professional advancement) and the other (which historically and contemporarily has not had a negative effect on men’s career advancement, although depending on the details, it could still be a problematic/not-great/bad practice) .

          If you’re willing, would you mind sussing out what that underlying concern entails?

          Reply
        3. Fergus, Stealer of Pens and Microwaver of Fish

          I don’t think they are the same kind of problem as a “bros golf weekend” but it is probably better to err on the side of inclusion, even if you’re part of a traditionally excluded group. From a strictly professional viewpoint, “girls night out” has the optics of being something silly and girly, while a golf weekend, even if framed as a purely social activity, isn’t. I think those sorts of outings are more likely to be a detriment professionally than something acceptably “manly.”

          (For the record, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with silly and girly, nor do I think all women’s outings fall into that category. It’s BS that things that women enjoy are seen as less-than, which is one reason not to exclude the dudes from martini night.)

          Reply
          1. Easily Amused

            I think it has a lot to do with referring to women as “girls” in the term “girl’s night out”.

            Reply
            1. Guacamole Bob

              +1

              I was trying to figure out why a “girls night out” bothered me but my org’s Women of OrgName happy hour doesn’t, and this is a big part of it. Anyone referring to an event for adult women in a professional context as “girls” is probably not doing it with thoughtfulness around supporting a traditionally underrepresented group, and it comes across as juvenile and cliquish.

              Reply
        4. Mystery Bookworm

          I can understand why you’re asking Frug. For what it’s worth, I work in an industry that is traditionally dominated by women; men are the minority. There’s a push to attract more men for the good of our service users.

          If I organised a ladies night and invited all the women but not the few men, it would absolutely be seen as a problem and reflect poorly on my judgement.

          Reply
          1. Emily K

            Yes, it’s the kindergarten rule someone mentioned above – less than half or all. It’s poor form to exclude a minority group in a way that it isn’t to organize a minority group.

            Reply
        5. someone else

          It depends on the industry. I work in a heavily male dominated industry and we have regular ‘girls nights out’ some of them subsidised by the company as the drop out rates for women are high and employers are trying to maintain and retain a more diverse workforce. We also have general events for everybody far more often. Some of the questions I have been asked on these nights:

          ‘My male report refused to do the work I assigned him and when I put my foot down, he sneered at me and asked if I was on my period and called me irrational – I froze and didn’t know what to say – how do I handle that?’ (I’m not on my period you imbecile, I’m suffering from passive testosterone poisoning – you’ve heard of passive smoking right? Same, same – and yes I know #notallmen)

          ‘The company assigned me a vehicle as I was going to be working on a remote site (ie 150kms from nearest small town) with no public transport then when I moved there, they took it away and now I have to beg rides from the people I am the boss of so I have no authority. What can I do?’ (I tracked down the manager who did that particular piece of nasty – he was well known for hiring women who ‘didn’t work out’ and let’s just say the vehicle was reinstated poste haste)

          And the worst ever – ‘I refused to sign off on a contract because it looked dodgy and the next time we went out to do water samples on the river, Mr X brought the contract and told me I better sign because people went missing on the water all the time. We were alone and I signed’ (I put my job on the line and we got a good outcome on that one)

          I know some of these are extreme, but none of these women felt confident raising them cos of the imbalance in the industry and the male to female ratio. On many of the projects I have worked on you’d be lucky to have 5 professional women in a hundred and spread across multiple projects so you don’t get to catch up on a regular basis. Unfortunately, some of these gatherings are still seen as ‘girls nights out’. Women can come to see this kind of crap as normal if they don’t have the opportunity to network with other women. I get not all industries are like this. I get there are industries where women are the majority (although they are historically paid very poorly and even in those industries, there is STILL a gender pay gap)

          When there is no pay gap (taking into account the ‘pink’ industries) then we’ll have no need for ‘girl’s nights out. Trust me, I’d give that up in a blink if things actually got equal, Sorry for the long rant. Consider nerve touched :)

          Reply
          1. Emi.

            This sounds like a good thing to have but calling it a “girls’ night out” instead of a “women’s mentoring event” or whatever sounds demeaning.

            Reply
            1. Washi

              Yeah, “girls’ night out” just implies a very different type of event than what is happening in your example (which does sound awesome!)

              Reply
              1. Specialk9

                Holy crap that event sounds so necessary (taking away a car to force a woman out? Threatening to MURDER a woman to get a contact?!?!)… but you’re not “girls”, you’re women, tough strong women. Don’t hand away your own strength at the outset, esp since it sounds like others are trying to pull it from you at every chance.

                Reply
            2. AJHall

              I imagine if I worked in a field where there was a non-zero chance of colleagues or suppliers issuing barely deniable death threats (see the one about the river and the contract) to compel me to act the way they wanted, I’d also want my vital-information-exchange-about-who-the-departmental-psycho sessions to sound as innocuous and unthreatening as possible.

              Reply
              1. Gazebo Slayer

                Yuuuup. Whisper networks are far from perfect but they’re a hell of a lot better than nothing.

                Reply
            3. GRA

              The term “girls” should be used for … actual girls. High school age or younger. I hate when I’m invited to a “Girls Night Out” … nope. I’m over the age of 18 – I’m a woman.

              Reply
              1. Specialk9

                I cut that off at 12 or 13. After that they’re young women, and then they’re just plain old women. I think a reasonable demarcation line between girls and young women is average menstruation onset. Because once you can have a baby yourself, you’re no longer a baby. And girl is a term for a baby.

                Reply
          2. Doug Judy

            I also work in a heavily male dominated field, and if you’re a younger, well educated professional woman, you’re essentially alone without these women’s networks. Our firm has many social events throughout the year that are open to all, but maybe 2 a year that are female only. The men still do small group golfing days or lunches. I’ve had to fight to get a seat at that table.

            Reply
          3. KaraLynn

            I agree with your points about pay, but I think it’s a far reach to say that women getting together to drink wine and spend time together is a way to counteract the pay gap. I mean really – we drink, act silly, and gossip. Any girl’s night out I’ve been to has been pretty far from a moral stance.

            Reply
      1. Tim Tam Girl

        Cambridge Comma’s comment above (12:43 a.m.) is also an excellent explanation of how it can look/feel to be excluded from a privileged group: even if the group isn’t intentionally (or even necessarily) excluding the others around them, it plays into ugly societal and institutional dynamics and looks and feels gross.

        Reply
    2. Jen S. 2.0

      As noted by others upthread, the issue is when the MAJORITY group bands together, and it goes double when it is intentionally without those who are traditionally and historically excluded.

      When the minority group bands together, it’s often to build bonds that are hard to germinate, create networks that otherwise don’t include them, disseminate information that they otherwise miss, have visibility that otherwise doesn’t exist, and find a way to gather what they may be unfairly missing in terms of information, access, influence, and power.

      The majority group **already has** those things, often just due to habit and history and numbers (…but not always). So when the majority group goes out of its way to band together, it’s not to try to GET access and influence and information and power they don’t have. It’s generally … to keep all of that stuff AND now intentionally and visibly exclude everyone else.

      Reply
      1. Sarah Davis

        I do not understand the desire to hang out with work friends outside of work regardless of gender. OP must really love this group to be contemplating spending additional time with these people. In my case my favourite time of the working week is stepping out the door Friday and forgetting everything to do with work, especially the people.

        Reply
        1. London Calling

          But for the name you could be me. What IS this need to turn colleagues into family and friends (and I don’t want to spend all my time with the latter, either?)

          Reply
          1. Marion Ravenwood

            Me neither. Don’t get me wrong, I like my colleagues and I do socialise with them outside work on occasion, but I don’t see any reason to (for example) hang out together at weekends or go to each other’s birthday parties.

            Reply
          2. bonkerballs

            How is it any different than turning any other person you meet into family and friends? What is this need to compartmentalize your life?

            Reply
            1. Leslie knope

              This is a pretty common view on here. It happens in every post about socializing with coworkers.

              Reply
              1. Frug

                I don’t think being this rigid is a good thing. There are many different types of workplaces. And many people have met their spouse at work, including Bill Gates

                Reply
        2. Les G

          But…surely if you’ve been reading this website for any length of time you understand that some people *do* choose to spend time with their coworkers outside of work, right?

          ‘Kay, so this advice is for them. Not for you.

          Reply
            1. CMart

              Well, as one perspective: as an adult with not much free time for hobbies or things that aren’t work or being with my kid, where else am I going to meet friends if not at work?

              Some of my coworkers are exactly the kinds of people I have been friends with in the past and would love to be able to cultivate a genuine relationship with them that isn’t just fun-but-collegial.

              And there’s always the added bonus of the ease of active friendship. When you work at the same place on the same schedule it’s really easy to go grab drinks and hang out at the bar across the street with your friends from work and get home in a semi-reasonable time, rather than trying to coordinate with friends in different towns who leave at different times.

              Reply
            2. Iris Eyes

              Because of school.

              While growing up we are conditioned to equate time spent in the proximity of someone with friendship. When talking to children instead of referring to their peers as classmates or teammates or something that lets the circumstance define the relationship we jump to calling them their friends. Is it any wonder that they then grow up to seek out friendships with coworkers?

              Proximity is a major factor in determining relationships.

              Reply
            3. smoke tree

              As others have said, I think it has something to do with the difficulty of making friends as an adult. Even if you have a bunch of hobbies, typically you have to spend quite a bit of time with someone before one of you is willing to make the leap and suggest hanging out separately. Since you spend so much time with coworkers, it kind of greases the wheels of social interaction.

              Reply
            4. TootsNYC

              because when you work with someone, you can really get to know them.

              You get to know their attitudes, their values, their sense of humor. You see it 8 hours a day, and you see it under stress, and not under stress.

              So you know if you truly like them or not.

              Then there’s the whole “bonding over achieving a common goal” thing. And the “bonding over shared experiences.”

              The only reason I’m friends w/ my college roommate is we were assigned together. And so we came to care about one another simply because we spent so much time together.

              Reply
              1. TechWorker

                Also depends where your company is – I work somewhere that’s mostly an (expensive) commuter town – full of families with kids and retired folk. Really not surprising that people end up being friends with colleagues – they’re probably the only people the same age they know within 50miles..

                Reply
        3. anonagain

          “I do not understand the desire to hang out with work friends outside of work regardless of gender.”

          I think some people genuinely enjoy those friendships, but I think it also points to the fact that these social events are professionally beneficial. They are the kind of organic networking opportunity that can be much more effective than putting on a suit and making a pitch to people you barely know.

          Reply
        4. mrs__peel

          I’m not especially social, either, but there are many fields where you *have* to do that kind of socializing and networking if you want to advance in your career.

          Not being invited = not being considered for plum assignments, promotions, management positions, etc.

          Reply
      2. CM

        I think it’s tricky and can be very nuanced when you have minority-affiliation groups. Especially ones based on gender — the “girls’ night out including spouses” example above made me think of my law school experience, when I had a baby and the vast majority of other law students with children were men with SAHM wives. There was a parents’ group where I would be lumped in with the wives and the events were things like shopping at a handbag boutique. But I’ve also been in women/POC-focused networking groups that were useful, and it doesn’t seem totally fair that men/white people are excluded from those groups even though there are valid reasons. I don’t have a good answer, I just think it’s more complicated than “majority-only groups are bad, minority-only groups are fine.”

        Reply
        1. Sue Wilson

          it doesn’t seem totally fair that men/white people are excluded from those groups
          I mean, society has structured it so that social inequality seems normal, and as if everyone merits their social position, fostering a sense that there are no significant disparities between social groups. Disrupting this is going to seem unfair by design, yes.

          Reply
    3. Nita

      Girls’ Night Out sounds very informal. Is it? I feel like there’s a difference between some of the women in the office deciding to go, and every single woman in the office being invited.

      Given the way women don’t hold the big cards in many workplaces, that probably has less potential to unfairly exclude people than the golf outing. But… I don’t think that’s necessarily the case these days. If my office was holding an event for all the women but no men, they’d be including much of the senior management team, and creating something that looks just as full of potential (exclusionary) networking opportunities as the golf thing.

      Reply
      1. Agenda

        At a law firm I used to work, there were just three lawyers​. The owner (a man), the senior lawyer (me, a woman) and a junior lawyer (a man). Once, after I carried out three months of very intense contractual negotiations between two large corporations, agreements were finally reached, and a date for the contract signing was set. The night before that date, my boss got drunk with the representatives of both corporations, and of course, couldn’t drive. So he called the junior lawyer to give him a ride (because “it would look bad if he called me, a woman, so late at night to pick him up at a bar”). Long story short, they signed my contract at three a.m. at a seedy bar, with my underling signing as negotiator just because penis. Needless to say I left that firm with all my clients. But it happens still and at every level. Sorry for the long winded rant.

        Reply
  13. Totally Minnie

    OP 2, I agree with Alison. You can absolutely get to a place where you’re hearing the organizational information without participating in mudslinging. The thing about gossip is that it forges a relationship based on shared opinions or shared experiences. But you don’t have to turn into the office’s town crier to get those relationships. If you don’t want to join in the conversation about how Betty’s husband is probably cheating on her, don’t. But do join in on conversations about what people are watching on TV, or how Archie’s in a band that’s getting pretty good. This gives your coworkers a chance to see you not just as the lead teapot painter, but as a more nuanced person who can be a good sounding board. People who like talking to you are more likely to keep talking to you, and when they hear something about the IT update or the search for the new CFO, you’re more likely to hear about it.

    Reply
    1. SoSo

      Agreed, Totally Minnie. You can’t get to the point of knowing the “insider” information until you lay the groundwork that you’re an open, honest person and good for people to talk to. As a serious introvert myself, it can be hard to do, but it makes my job easier when people are friendly and I know what’s going on. For the most part that means asking people how their weekends were, what their hobbies are, etc etc. Then, when something comes up, they’ll feel enough trust and familiarity in you to share that information.

      Additionally, it can also be beneficial to just keep your ears open. And I don’t mean eavesdrop- just pay attention to the conversations around you and in the office, and tune into what people are talking about. You can glean a lot of information by just being aware of what people are up to.

      Reply
      1. JustaTech

        Exactly. It’s amazing the work-related stuff that I’ve picked up at the coffee pot. Like the new plans for our re-designed office space.

        I will say that while discussing work-stuff isn’t gossip, sometimes my management has called it gossip when there is a lot of panicky talk about mergers or layoffs or other big scary negative things. That kind of talk can (emphasis can) become all-consuming and productivity killing, especially when no one actually knows what’s going on so it’s all crazy speculation. But day-to-day stuff? That’s not gossip, that’s news.

        Reply
      2. Kat in VA

        Even as a temp, I was able to get a far better sense of the org I worked for on cigarette breaks (yes, I know smoking is bad, yes, I’m going to quit again, I know, I know).

        People behave differently out of the office than they do inside of it. Going to lunch once in a while isn’t quite the same as coffee or smoke breaks – when you see the same people, day in and day out, you naturally develop a bond. Even I wasn’t immune to doing a bit of extra favors for my smoke break people (like redoing an entire Powerpoint that was a botched mess – something I wouldn’t normally do for any old director but he was my smoke buddy, so here we are).

        Informal relationships – even of the bite sized kind – most definitely influence work in the day-to-day and further down the road.

        Reply
        1. Michaela Westen

          If you have trouble quitting, e-cigs are 96% less harmful!
          (unless you put tobacco in them. Don’t put tobacco in them.)

          Reply
      3. Former Retail Manager

        YES! All so true. You and Minnie both make great points. And on the off chance that you do work in a place where the people who have information about the org also tend to gossip in a not-so-nice way, you can always excuse yourself when the topic begins to turn ugly. “Oop, I gotta grab something on the printer, gotta back to what I was working on, go grab lunch, etc.” Just excuse yourself in those situations which will allow you to only get the information you really want/need anyway and will also subtly communicate to your co-workers that you aren’t on board with speaking negatively of people. The only word of caution I’d throw in is to be aware of when someone is conveying negative information that is legitimate vs. just being mean. For example, passing along that a position that pays more in X department might seem great, but it will leave you working for Toxic Boss who has a reputation of being an inflexible micromanger who demeans their employees at every turn, really isn’t gossip in my opinion. It’s information that you need to make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to tough out working for Toxic Boss or not.

        Reply
      4. Oxford Comma

        All of this. It can be really toxic to get sucked into the gossip, but as is being explained here, it’s good to be informed. If a conversation veers toward personal or non-productive (Cersei is a terrible manager and is ruining this company!” gossip, walk away. Say you have something else to do. Whatever. But it’s probably good to have a sense of what’s happening on a business level.

        Reply
  14. Free Meerkats

    (or even that she doesn’t remember the details, depending on how much she’d been drinking).

    It was via text, so Amanda knows exactly what she said. I think AAM’s advice is good here; if it becomes necessary, embrace the weird.

    Reply
  15. Not A Manager

    OP #1 – I’m not going to pile on about the gender issue. In my opinion, whenever you’re in the workplace and you have a plan that will elicit “drama” in the office, you should seriously reconsider your plan. Right or wrong, drama llamas or not. Sometimes you’ll decide that the drama is necessary, or is worth whatever your goal is. But the drama is ALWAYS an issue, in itself, that needs to be considered. It’s not irrelevant and you can’t dismiss it.

    Reply
  16. Tau

    Suggestion for OP1:

    Right now, organise the beach event – maybe as an afternoon instead of a full weekend, to make it lower-stakes. However, invite everyone in your branch. You can still have fun and hang out, just do it with everyone who’s interested instead of all the guys who are interested. Who knows, maybe you’ll find that one of the women who comes is also a cool person who really likes golf!

    In general, I’d really try to get to know the women in your office. Like Alison said, in an office of 17 people which is about 50-50 split by gender, it’s pretty unlikely that all the guys are great people but all the women aren’t worth being friends with. The gender-exclusivity in work friendship is not a good look, it’s not a good thing, and I’d work on fixing it ASAP.

    Frankly, the main way I can see this happening in a halfway innocuous way if it’s a matter of the men and women having different roles in the team – so, say, the tech team hangs out and they’re all men, the tellers hang out and they’re all women – but even if that’s the case it’s still a problem (and one likely to have negative effects on the workflow at the branch, too). If you have the same sort of roles, even that reason falls flat.

    Reply
        1. Michaela Westen

          All the tellers at my bank are women. They turn over every few years and I know why.
          At one point I looked into working as a teller and it didn’t pay enough. It was late 90’s – early 2000’s and it paid low to mid 20’s.
          It’s not likely that male tellers are being paid more… why would a bank do that? So low teller pay must be the norm for both genders.

          Reply
      1. Tau

        Complete ignorance about banking as an industry, I’m afraid! Feel free to replace “tech” and “tellers” with other roles that make more sense.

        Reply
  17. Anon this time

    LW1, at the risk of going off-topic, I’m going to add something personal: you’re asking this question because something in you knows that this won’t look or feel right, no matter how innocent your intentions. Four years ago today (coincidentally enough), I did something similar: for a major life event, I wore a garment that is very culturally-specific – and not to a culture that I’m affiliated with. I knew in my heart that it was a questionable choice, but I loved the outfit and how it made me look and feel, and that overwhelmed my gut and my good sense.

    And now four years later, I cringe every time I look at the photos of one of the happiest and proudest days of my life. I am embarrassed and ashamed that I let my vanity get the better of me. I worry that people will see those photos and judge me – and it would be fair enough if they did. As much as I loved that outfit and as beautiful as I felt in it, I would give so much to be able to go back in time and wear something else. Anything else. It *sucks*, LW1. It really, really sucks.

    You are asking this question because something in you knows that this is not an ok thing to do. Maybe you think it *should* be ok, maybe you’re asking Alison for advice because you really just want to have a weekend away with your friends and you’re hoping she’ll give you ‘permission’. I get it, I really do. But as someone who made the dubious choice and now regrets it, I so hope that you don’t. Make a better choice than I made so you don’t do harm to your career; so you don’t inadvertently damage the work experience and environment of the women around; so you don’t end up looking back and regretting it.

    Reply
    1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather

      Thank you for sharing this story. It’s wonderful that you would do something different these days – a lot of people wouldn’t even care. But you do, and you’re using your experience to help educate others.

      Reply
    2. Kat in VA

      My inappropriate curiosity is getting the better of me, and you are under no obligation to reply but…

      I don’t wanna know what outfit you wore, I GOTTA KNOW.

      Again, no need to reply, but I’m amusing myself guessing. Was it a sari and choli top? A cheongsam? A kimono? A RCMP uniform?

      INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW

      (Obviously I’m teasing and you don’t have to tell me but…I’m so incredibly curious!)

      Reply
  18. Lumen

    OP#2 – I feel you. I’ve been at my current workplace a couple of years and sometimes it seems like I am so out of the loop, the last person to hear anything – whether social or work-related! It can be really disheartening.

    I try to remember that my perception may not be accurate, that in all likelihood NONE of this is personal, and that in some ways I know the tradeoff would be fostering relationships at work that I’m not too keen on. Maybe if I were better friends with Cathy I’d know more about what’s going on, but I don’t really like Cathy. Maybe if I ingratiated myself more to Anne I’d be more in the loop, but I don’t want to feel like I’m ‘using’ Anne that way.

    What I do instead is just ask people questions. “How’s your week going?” is a nice opener. If you know anything that the person or their department is doing with, use it: “How was that quarter-end for your team? Brutal for ours!” I’ve learned more about how things are going in the company by just giving individuals a chance to talk to me. It’s not necessarily ‘gossip’, especially in the negative connotation, but this may help you get the kind of information you’re really interested in.

    Rather than, y’know… how Jim’s divorce is going terribly and what stupid thing he said in his last meeting because Kate is still pissed and needs to vent to someone. That’s not gonna help you.

    Reply
    1. The Other Dawn

      I agree. I’ve been at my company for four years and I’m typically out of the loop. It’s mainly because the majority of people in my location have been here for many yeas and all worked together for most of those years. It’s natural that they talk a lot outside of meetings and things like that, which means they know way more than me. I’ve made a better effort this last year to talk to more people, such as when we see each other in the cafeteria, and ask how things are going, etc. I find that I’m slightly more ‘in the know’ now that I was previously, although not to the same level as the people that have been around for eons.

      Reply
  19. Ellie

    I am just so glad that OP #1 wrote in about this question. What a great opportunity for him to take this feedback and incite real change on his work culture via inclusion.

    Reply
    1. Needanewusername

      In the real world, you don’t have to be friends with everyone that’s around you. If it was a group of women, most people would be okay with it. Yet, since it’s a man asking, somehow it’s taboo and a double standard. It’s either okay or not and doesn’t hinge on the gender of the people involved. I’ve been in places where I had friends in the office and some I never socialized with, and it’s totally fine to have that.

      You can’t force a friendship just because someone makes up a “you don’t have enough female friends” quota.

      Reply
      1. The Ginger Ginger

        Yeah, but if you’re friends with ALL the guys in the office and none of the gals, so you only hang out with the guys outside the office, and EVERY guy in the office has that opportunity but none of the women do? You have to see that gives the men a lot of access to each other that is being denied to the women, even IF the reason is genuinely friendship and nothing more sinister. That’s really, really not okay. The intention here doesn’t actually matter because the net outcome is that the women are being denied access to what is essentially team and relationship building. They’re not being allowed to cultivate better relationships with their male coworkers outside the office. That’s why work can’t really be about making friends. Of course it happens, and it’s lovely when it does, but you can’t divorce those friendships from work and all the expectations of what’s appropriate and not appropriate in the setting until either you or the person/people you’re friends with no longer work for the same employer.

        Reply
      2. Genny

        No one is saying you have to be friends with everyone. Just about everyone in this thread are saying 1) the optics of this particular event aren’t good (over half the office is invited and the invitation is along gender lines, which means you have the hurt of being excluded along with the sexism of being left out based on gender) and 2) there is a long history of social outings that look an awful lot like this one being used to keep women and minorities out of centers of power.

        If you read some comment threads above this one, you’ll see an entire discussion on why women’s events can be okay (when they’re used to correct a deficiency like not having access to mentors) or not okay (when they foster stereotypes of women).

        Reply
      3. mrs__peel

        This is less about friendship, and more about using good professional judgment.

        In “the real world”, there’s a good chance that it will reflect very poorly on you if you appear to be creating a hostile environment for women at your workplace. Possibly with legal consequences for the company and/or job loss for you.

        It behooves anybody in the workplace to be conscious of how their actions could appear to others, and what effect they might have on co-workers (whether intentionally harmful or not).

        Reply
  20. neverjaunty

    It’s always interesting to me what gets defined with the label ‘gossip’ and whose sharing of information gets called ‘gossip’ instead of, say ‘shooting the shit’ or ‘hearing through the grapevine’.

    Reply
    1. Sam.

      Yeah, I’m glad Alison broke it down as cleanly as she did, because I often feel like I’m not sure what’s “gossip” and therefore frowned upon and what’s normal and expected information-sharing. I can totally understand OP erring on the side of caution there.

      Reply
    2. Tardigrade

      This is true, though I think the “through the grapevine” tends to be less gendered than the other two, at least in my experience.

      Reply
    3. Future Homesteader

      Yes! What gets labelled “gossip” is actually often useful information, and amounts to social capital. Sociologists/anthropologists have done a lot of fascinating work around this. While there is definitely such a thing as pernicious gossip, it can also have many upsides – it can help people establish relationships, keep themselves safe (think pre-MeToo), and open up opportunities that people might otherwise have not known about.

      Reply
      1. ragazza

        Communication scholars as well. “Gossip” becomes “information” if it is deemed acceptable by people in power.

        Reply
    4. JustaTech

      At my company “state of the business” talk was regularly labeled “gossip” by management when things were bad (layoffs, mergers, everyone quitting to go work for a new company). And there were days when morale was terrible and everyone could see the situation was bad that people might spend two hours complaining and speculating wildly. Which is totally unproductive and doesn’t actually help morale.

      But it was kind of funny when TheOtherCompany had some bad times and was the talk of the office (we generally like our former coworkers there), and management engaged in just as much gossip about them as all the rest of us.

      Reply
  21. Akcipitrokulo

    OP1 – in addition to points made above (I don’t think anyone mentioned this)….

    One of things that leapt out was that all the men are on the same career path (and by implication, the women aren’t).

    That points to a pretty deep-seated issue either in the way the company works, or the way the men in your team view their colleagues.

    Either way, that is a very good reason that the trip woild add to a toxic viewpoint in the office, and should be avoided.

    Reply
  22. Language Lover

    LW #2

    I’ve noticed recently that the people who gossip know much more about what is going on with the company than I do. They knew ahead of time about the state of the company, possible layoffs, and upcoming changes when I was
    blindsided.

    How did you find out that they knew? Is it because, once these things happened, they mentioned to you that they had heard it through the grapevine? If that’s the case, keep in mind that you’re getting filtered content based on what turned out to be true. You aren’t hearing about what never came to pass.

    That’s what you need to consider. Gossip brings both truths and falsehoods and you likely don’t know which one it is when you hear it. You might never find out. When I’ve had good gossip pipelines, I personally found hearing everything exhausting and it didn’t make me feel better prepared at all. But I’ve had employees who preferred to know even if it meant they ended up wasting a lot of worry.

    Only you can answer that question but do it with the knowledge that the accuracy percentage isn’t as high as it might seem based on the positive results being shared with you in a way that negative results likely aren’t.

    Reply
    1. EvilQueenRegina

      This, and the other possibility is that they didn’t know quite as much as they’re letting on afterwards, but don’t want to be seen as being out of the loop, so they might be saying “Oh yes, I knew there was a possibility of layoffs in Llama team” when they knew nothing of the kind but are just trying to save face.

      My ex was just like that, he was always saying “I always thought there was something off about So and so” – nine times out of ten, he hadn’t at all but just didn’t like admitting he could have been wrong about someone. It made me smile a little that he must have been itching to say that about me after I cut ties with that friendship group but he probably wouldn’t have pulled off that one.

      Reply
  23. Alley Cat 74

    Re OP1, I worked in a team of six (five men plus me [I’m female]) and I was forever grateful that they never invited me on their camping weekends! It meant that I didn’t have to come up with a fake excuse not to go. I never got excluded from any work related projects or anything else. I’m anti-social though so there are very few things that I actually want to be invited to!

    Reply
    1. No Tribble At All

      If there had been any other women on the team, would you have wanted to go camping with them? Was it cos it was all guys, or was it because it was camping?

      Reply
      1. Alley Cat 74

        Interesting question. I think it was a combination of it being all men plus camping. I travel with colleagues (both male and female) now for overseas conferences and we add a few extra days of vacation (in separate hotel rooms) and I really enjoy it. It may have been the team I had back then. It was very blokey.

        Reply
        1. Les G

          I’m grateful that the snake who bit my wife’s creepy ex never bit me. See where I’m going with this?

          Being grateful that you were excluded from a sexist environment doesn’t mean the sexist environment was A-OK to begin with.

          Reply
          1. Thlayli

            OP2, your letter doesn’t say whether you engage in any conversation at all with your coworkers? It almost seems like you think all conversation with your coworkers is gossip? Just in case: please be assured that talking to and having friendly interactions with your coworkers is a perfectly acceptable way to build relationships at work. You can feel free to have friendly chats with anyone so long as:
            1 you aren’t spending too much time chatting and not enough working
            2 you aren’t engaging in what Alison describes as “bad gossip” above like being mean about someone behind their back.

            Reply
    2. Engineer Girl

      You may appreciate it, but (theoretical) other women in your office may not have. Some women love camping (I do!) and want to be included.

      You can only speak for yourself.

      My experience is that you do miss out on projects if you don’t hang out with certain people.

      Reply
        1. Someone else

          That’s true but it reads like a counterexample, like “hey don’t worry, some women would want to be excluded here so maybe it’s not that bad”. I know you didn’t literally say that, but it seems implied by the way it’s presented.

          Reply
        2. neverjaunty

          Of course, but then that makes the purpose of the comment puzzling? You may not have intended it this way, but it came across telling the LW it wasn’t necessarily a big deal to exclude women if (or because) the women wouldn’t like the group activity anyway.

          At a former job, I was joking with a junior colleague that I’d know senior management liked me when they invited me to their fantasy football league. He gave me a strange look and said “They invited me on my first day.”

          Now, I have zero interest in playingDungeons and Dragons: Jock Edition, but the issue wasn’t “I didn’t want to do that anyway”. It was that a bunch of dudes invited only men in the office to participate in a social, networking activity.

          Reply
          1. Bones

            Also, as much as it sucks, men are more likely to give credence to a woman telling them “it’s no big deal, exclude the women!”

            Reply
            1. Mookie

              Yep. We’re all interchangeable subsets of a larger Hivemind, so when one of our representatives has an opinion or a taste for something, suddenly we’re all implicated or we’ve all collectively given a guy permission to continue doing what he’s doing. It’s a neat trick, if you’re on the other end.

              Reply
          2. Alley Cat 74

            I’m new to commenting on this site. I usually just read the letters. I didn’t know we weren’t supposed to share anecdotes. I think I’ll go back to just reading the letters. These comments are a bit much.

            Reply
        3. MCMonkeyBean

          Yeah, but your comment comes with an implication that because you liked being excluded it’s okay for the OP to exclude the women at his office.

          Reply
    3. Temperance

      I mean, I hate camping, but I would be really pissed to know that there were opportunities that I was missing out on.

      I once had a male coworker who was frankly not as good at the job as I was, but he decided to start asking our male clients to lunch to “get to know them better”. I knew that I, a woman barely out of college, couldn’t do the same thing, so I ratted him out to our boss (it was prohibited by our company). He defended his actions by saying that if he knew these men better, he’d get more sales.

      Reply
      1. Marketing professional

        “I knew that I, a woman barely out of college, couldn’t do the same thing”

        Why not?

        “He defended his actions by saying that if he knew these men better, he’d get more sales.”

        And he’s right. So as a woman, you should do the same thing.

        Reply
        1. Temperance

          Actually, he was wrong, because it was actions he was taking that were specifically forbidden by our company because they didn’t want to encourage any backdoor dealing. I know this because a.) it was in our handbook and offer letter and b.) when I told our bosses, they both immediately put a stop to it, citing the policy.

          Reply
        2. Marthooh

          Temperance said that this was prohibited by the company, so, no, she shouldn’t do that and her coworker shouldn’t have done that.

          And when a young woman asks a male client to socialize with her, the perception is often that she’s offering sex in exchange for his business.

          Reply
          1. Yvette

            I also got the impression that the coworker would have been doing it on his own dime, and that as “a woman barely out of college, couldn’t do the same thing” meant from a financial standpoint, as well as any perception of impropriety.

            Reply
          1. Yvette

            I also got the impression, that, had it been allowed, she still would not have been in a position to ‘compete’ in that manner.

            Reply
    4. MatKnifeNinja

      My work did the canoe/camp/lets get grubby and shoot off guns weekend. All the post docs, grad students and the professor are men. I got invited because *we invite everyone*. No spouses. This place had pit toilets and a water pump.

      Because of the invite, I had to be a good sport and go. 4 days of no shower. No hot coffee. Bug bites. Eating cold food.

      I only went once.

      Everyone in the lab was BFFs forever, so they hung out after work all the time too.

      Make an unoffical plan miserable enough, the people you want to exclude won’t show up. No electricty and talking sports 24/7 is my version of hell. But, I was invited.

      Reply
      1. Falling Diphthong

        Eh, people keep trying this with destination weddings, then getting mad that Great Aunt Edna didn’t understand her invitation was a polite fiction, while a bunch of people who were supposed to understand their invites were sincere have decided to not spend all their money and vacation time on someone else’s dream trip.

        Reply
      2. Bea

        Wtf is this no hot coffee crap??? Y’all didn’t bring a coffee percolator O.O Everyone fails…you heat things on the fire, it’s camping 101. My hillbilly uncles would be even more of a pack of jerks without hot dogs and coffee.

        Reply
      3. Lady Russell's Turban

        I thought it sounded fun, until the 24/7 sports talk. But even in a swanky hotel lounge, that would be my idea of hell.

        Reply
      4. Engineer Girl

        Thousands upon thousands of women love camping. This isn’t a gendered thing.

        It sounds like you had a bad time because you were inexperienced. If you had prior experience or had grown up near a rural area you would have known how to deal with these things. And all the things you mentioned are pretty minor. I’ll be blunt – pit toilets and a water pump are pretty luxurious for a camping trip.

        You had water, so you could have done sponge baths – if you knew how.
        You had a pit toilet (didn’t have to dig your own)
        Mosquitoes can be dealt with – if you know how
        No hot coffee? Starbucks instant is pretty great with views like that.
        Cold food – what’s with that? Did no one know how to cook over a backpacking stove? We used to have gourmet cook offs!

        In short, you had a bad experience due to a lack of knowledge. Had someone shown you how to do it the right way you may have had a good time.

        REI actually has classes on these things. It’s a great life skill to have in case of disasters etc. it’s like riding a bike or knowing how to swim.

        Reply
        1. Cat Herder

          Lol. I love camping! The joke on our family trips was some version of, we’ve been here a week? Time to change my underwear! And it’s possible to cook amazing food on a Coleman backpacking stove. Just bring plenty of wine in a bota.

          Reply
  24. Davina

    To me, these Girls’ Nights Out actually sound… not great. It brings a lot of unwanted stereotypes into the office about how different men and women are. Men like cigars and golf, women like shoes and wine! Except — not really?

    I was once at a group dinner on a business trip with my boss, other department heads, and the Big Boss. All my colleagues were men, and they’d all brought their wives. As a single woman, I was relegated to socializing with the wives, with whom I had nothing in common except the shape of our private bits. None of them worked in our field. Their conversation was about things like decorating their homes. Meanwhile my male colleagues were all forming lifelong bonds at the other end of the table.

    I’ve never forgotten it.

    Reply
    1. Mystery Bookworm

      FWIW, I kind of agree. I just don’t really see the need for colleagues to segregate team-building based on gender.

      The best casual weekends-away with colleagues were always with groups of 4 or less (in a an office much larger than that)! It’s those small groups that allow you to really get to know each other.

      When we got together in bigger groups – even unofficially – it was always gender-diverse and I think it would be odd if someone pushed back against that. Even if it didn’t have ripple effects in the office, it just feels kind of, well, middle school a little bit.

      Reply
    2. MatKnifeNinja

      My lab had a big bonding dinner. I got seated next to spouses who marginally spoke English. Another job, I was seated next to spouses, who weren’t in the business and spoke the whole time about Zumba, travel hockey and their kids’ schools.

      Aggravated was the understatement.

      Reply
    3. The other April Ludgate

      Oh I can relate to that, in a slightly different manner. When I first started at my second job out of college, another guy, let’s call him John, started at the same time. Him, my boss and I were all around the same age. And Johhn would always pop into boss’s office that I sat near, to talk about the latest hockey game and their work hockey league (and of course there isn’t a women’s hockey league, not that I’m athletically inclined in any way other than spin class, but I am sure plenty of gals at my work would like to join such a league if it existed). I couldn’t figure out how I could get the same level of rapport. And that was when it first dawned on me…”hockey talk”, I can’t beat that. That’s how they bonded, that’s how David would get away later on with being an a-hole and got preferential buddy-buddy treatment from the boss, even though I was more educated and had more experience. John moved on after a few short years and the boss definitely learned from that experience, because after John, I never saw that kind of ‘bonding’ with any other colleagues nor such ‘bro’ behavior.

      Reply
  25. Fergus, Stealer of Pens and Microwaver of Fish

    I really am not trying to pile on, but I feel compelled to address “Am I overthinking this because of the office culture we live in today”. I think the ONLY reason you’re thinking about this at all is because of the office culture we live in today – the culture that sees that women contribute to the team and deserve respect and inclusion as the professionals they are. The fact that you’re asking, even though your tone is a bit begrudging, is a good thing. I hope you’re able to understand why this sort of thing is problematic beyond a bunch of catty women wanting to stomp on your fun. You don’t sound like you have ill intent, but you do seem a bit naive to the decades of office culture that systematically shut women and people of color out.

    Reply
    1. Les G

      Oh, see, I took the reference to office culture as being code for #MeToo. Like, “we all just learned we’re not allowed to be sexist anymore, is that why I’m worried about being sexist?”

      Reply
      1. RUKiddingMe

        I read it as essentially a “we can’t even talk to women anymore lest we get ‘falsely accused‘ of sexual harassment” type comment. OP is justifying his sexist thinking in more than one place.

        Reply
      2. Fergus, Stealer of Pens and Microwaver of Fish

        @Les G – I kind of took it that way too, at first, but decided upon a more charitable reading of the situation. Having seen the OP’s clarification below, I may have given more benefit of the doubt than warranted.

        Reply
    2. NCKat

      +1000 The fact you’re asking about this, OP, speaks well for you. This is not a #MeToo issue (and I don’t get the sense that you see it that way) but I do think you know deep inside that what you’re proposing is wrong. Follow Allison’s excellent suggestions and you will reap the rewards of work teams and comraderies.

      Back when I was new to the workforce, I would go out for dinner with fellow female coworkers, which felt awkward and cliquish to me.

      Reply
    3. Yorick

      I took it as “office culture today is so PC and sensitive, we all have to cater to these dramatic females,” so I’m glad to hear another way to interpret that comment.

      Reply
        1. Anna Moose

          Do you remember the OP’s username so we can search for it? I didn’t see it when skimming the comments

          Reply
  26. FaintlyMacabre

    For #2, I think finding out important things via “gossip” is mostly just a sign of a dysfunctional workplace. In well run places, there usually isn’t a lot of leakage, and in bad places you find out things that your manager forgot to told you by way of another employee in a different department, who heard from a manager of yet another department (not a made up example).

    Reply
    1. EvilQueenRegina

      Ugh, old job memories – I had this one manager who was notorious for sharing information with whoever happened to be there on the day, but leaving it to the grapevine to share it with anyone else who was out at the time. Once she came back saying there was no budget for llamas for the next financial year meaning it was very likely that Wakeen would be laid off, and Wakeen happened to be out that week.

      On the Monday he came back, she was on a training session, so she got Tangerina at the training to email Lucinda at the office at 11.45am (!) to ask that no one said anything to Wakeen as she wanted to discuss it with him personally. Unfortunately, by that time he already knew – his friend Apollo, who had himself found out because someone mentioned it to him thinking he knew, had had a gutful of this and went and told Wakeen himself in front of everyone.

      That place was very dysfunctional. It became known as The Real Office.

      Reply
    2. JustaTech

      Or the sign of a deeply silo’d workplace (which I guess is a form of dysfunctional). I learned so much about the other groups in my building (who I interacted with some but not in a formal, ongoing basis) from being on the safety committee. When a group of people have to go around poking into every room in the building you learn a lot about the projects that other teams are working on that aren’t at the “present to everyone” stage yet.

      Reply
  27. Blossom

    #2 – I have a more cautious view… I prefer to wait till things are officially announced, because often, up till then, they aren’t definite. I’ve known someone quit their job of 15 years because gossiping colleagues had convinced him that the forthcoming restructure was a way to fire him – in fact, his manager was blindsided as she’d seen it as a way to promote him.
    In fact, every organisational change I’ve experienced has been soured by rampant negative speculation which has pretty much always turned out to be unfounded. I acknowledge I’ve probably been lucky to work for decent employers. I’m glad to use my own eyes and ears to make my own judgements, get it from the horse’s mouth where necessary and possible, and otherwise accept that I won’t be privy to every decision making process, that some decisions are really tough and have many factors, and that any job can end at any time.

    Reply
    1. A username for this site

      I’ve had the opposite experience. I worked somewhere that was going to be restructuring due to a massive construction project closing areas of the facility. They kept it under wraps for months and made a few “oh we’re shuffling the budget” title changes of people that were timed with gossip of the construction project. Then they loosely announced the project, “Oh we’re going to do this next year, details to follow!” Then they’d say, “OK we’re going to be doing (specific portion of project) and we can guarantee we’ll be open for two more months, then we’ll give you another update on where things are.”

      Well, they held back so much information from people that a bunch of people left and found new jobs within the organization. Others dragged through their jobs, bitter and resentful that they were about to be fired and no one told them. A third group was insulted about being left in the dark with empty promises of “Oh, we’ll work something out for you!” and left the organization altogether because they wanted control over the next steps in their career (ex: would they move to another ranch to wrangle llamas? Would they stay at their ranch but move to painting teapots in the giftshop? Would they be fired? No one knew!)

      It turned out that a) some departments would remain open during construction b) they had wanted to keep everyone on c) Llama Wranglers who wanted to continue wrangling llamas could transfer to another ranch d) Llama Wranglers who preferred to stay at that ranch could train to become Teapot Painters e) when the construction project was over, people would be able to transfer back to their former job

      Instead, everyone quit.

      Reply
  28. Pabz

    #1 I really don’t see what the problem is here. If all the women were to do the same thing, it’d probably be held up as some kind of empowering example of feminism. It’s a group of friends, who just happen to know each other through work. I see groups of men in my workplace do things together; I see groups of women do things together. No one cares.
    Frankly I’m sick of people who tell men off for having “toxic masculinity” and not show their emotions, and then also stamping out opportunities like this for men to have a safe space to develop that trust amongst each other to open up to each other. It’s 100% non-work-related, no one has the right to chuck a wobbly about it.

    Reply
    1. LDN Layabout

      It’s not 100% non-work-related if 100% of the reason they know each other is through work.

      If it was three guys who are part of a larger group of friends and that group went? No issue.

      Reply
      1. Kittymommy

        Yep. They are actually co-workers who became friends, not friends who happen to be co-workers. That’s an important distinction.

        Reply
    2. March Madness

      It feels bad to be excluded from work-related social gatherings. He supposes an outing for one half of the office (all men), but not the other half of the office (all women). As far as I’m concerned he can socialize with men all he wants in his freetime, but this is not independent from work and other rules apply here.

      Reply
      1. Decima Dewey

        If it’s supposed to be a golf outing and Laertes who hates golf gets invited, but Ophelia and Gertrude, who are ace golfers, aren’t, there’s something fishy afoot.

        Reply
    3. AJHall

      Men have traditionally had a lot of safe spaces to develop trust among each other. Historically, they have tended to be called things like “the boardroom” and “the C suite”. When I was a trainee at a large City of London lawfirm they had a partners’ dining room where partners in the firm could informally chat while being served a full, seated, silver service lunch every day they chose to drop in. I happened to win a national essay competition for trainees, and my sponsoring partner took me as his guest to partners’ lunch to recognise the achievement. I spent the first course looking around and going, “This is nice, but there’s something weird.” And then it hit me. The only women in the room were me and the waitresses.

      It’s good that #LW1 has asked the question, and a shame that it’s been framed in the way it has, not as a “Should I do this?” but as a “How can I do this and avoid drama?”

      And the answer is, he can’t. One of the first reactions to legislation outlawing overt discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of gender was to shift the place where “real” business got done to gender-segregated leisure spaces, of which golf clubs were very prominent examples. Fights to open up those spaces to women (and I’ve been on the fringes of one or two, though not golf) were then framed as women making a big fuss about nothing, because all men wanted to do at golf clubs and gentlemen’s clubs (the St James’s sort) and the pavilion at Lord’s and so forth was chill out together, and women insisted on “throwing a wobbly” about it and “creating drama”.

      That is, whatever LW#1’s intentions, he’s risking recreating a scenario which the women in the office know of old as having been historically used as a discriminatory tactic, and any men participating in it are likely to be considered ducks, as in “If it talks like a duck and it quacks like a duck…”

      Also, if this is an 100% non-work event, how many men from outside the company is LW#1 planning to invite?

      Reply
      1. LDN Layabout

        Ahahahaha, as for the pavilion at Lord’s, try going there as a woman when it’s busy (which in my case is T20 nights since I’m a Middlesex and not MCC member) and not get at least one ‘is your boyfriend/husband sitting there?’

        Reply
        1. AJHall

          I was a member of Middlesex for many years, during all of which the pavilion was barred to me. (I moved away from London so let my membership lapse, but it was galling paying membership fees for a benefit I was not allowed to enjoy.)

          And, to keep this on topic for LW#1, I think he needs to be aware just how much resentment this kind of shit builds up. It this guys weekend at the beach goes ahead, at least some of the women excluded may not overtly “cause drama” about it, but they will remember it forever, and it’ll get associated with the name of the company if they move on the new roles.

          Reply
          1. LDN Layabout

            And the reason the resentment builds up is also because it’s not just the one-event-that’s-not-even-at-work. It’s the leisure-event-that-you-enjoy-and-get-queried-about, it’s the event-they-assume-you’re-at-because-your-male-partner-likes-it, it’s the being-told-to-smile-because-you’re-a-woman. It’s all those things together that build a pattern that women experience throughout their lives.

            (Also ARRRGH on your experience. I hope you’ve had a chance to come back and be in the pavilion, I still get a bit giddy walking through the Long Room)

            Reply
            1. AJHall

              I’ve been in the pavilion at times when there has been no play on the pitch (guided tours and evening events) but never during a game, and I don’t expect to.

              You’re absolutely right about the cumulative effect on women in the workplace of things like LW#1’s proposal. It really is the drip, drip, drip effect of institutionalised and (in many cases) unconscious sexism: what LW#1 and his cohorts interpret as “drama” is the moment the pressure cooker valve blows. And they don’t see the twenty or thirty or forty years during which the pressure was built up.

              Reply
          2. RUKiddingMe

            The women will cause no drama whatsoever. Any “drama” will be caused by the OP and the other males who participate.

            Reply
      2. Pabz

        “Men have traditionally had a lot of safe spaces to develop trust among each other. Historically, they have tended to be called things like “the boardroom” and “the C suite.””

        Fair call. Except that’s not the case now. Why can’t men continue to have a space — somewhere — when women are afforded the same opportunity? Because of something that happened years before they entered the workforce?

        Reply
          1. March Madness

            Didn’t you know? Gender-based discrimination is over! Or if it exists, it’s men who are suffering now. #witchhunt

            /s

            Reply
        1. Kevin Liotta

          Not to mention men with “safe spaces” in the boardroom and C suite are still a small number of men in the company… But hey, what does the lowly guy working in the mail room (or should that be “male room”?) need time to hang out with other guys from work for?

          Reply
          1. AJHall

            Since LW#1 states, apropos of the men whom he plans to invite, “We’re all on the same career path” either this is a mail-room only outing, or that guy gets to miss out once again.

            Reply
        2. March Madness

          I wish I could live in that mystical fairytale land where you’ve made a habitat. You seem to be under the impression that men are besieged, when in reality women just want their fair share of the cake. Just console yourself with the fact that men are still wildly overrepresented in leadership positions and, as evidenced daily, sexism in not a thing of the past.

          Reply
          1. Julia

            What is that saying about equality feeling like oppression if you’re suddenly expected to share?

            But I guess we should all think of the poor men. Let’s have a male history month, a male achievement week, and a day where men can finally go wherever they want without risking running into dangerous women.

            Reply
        3. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

          Women are under 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs, 16.5% of Fortune 500 C-Suite executives, and around 14% of corporate board members.

          So, to put it simply, you are wrong. “The boardroom” and “the c-suite” are very much male-dominated.

          Reply
        4. Mookie

          Because of something that happened years before they entered the workforce?

          Still happening, Pabz. Closing your eyes and ears doesn’t make it stop happening.

          Reply
      3. TootsNYC

        actually, golf courses and members-only clubs predated those gender-broadening efforts.
        They existed so that rich people could keep the power in their hands, because the manager rising from “not money” couldn’t afford to join.

        And of course, they were useful as “men only” places as well.

        Reply
        1. AJHall

          Oh, I know they existed; it’s just that because they could for very much longer be gender-segregated it was highly convenient to shift business meetings there, to outsource the blame for excluding women onto the proprietors of the establishment. I’ve had a colleague pull that one on me with the Oxford and Cambridge Club, which used to have a line on the carpet across which women were not permitted to step, even as guests. He used to meet the client on matters where we were supposed to be working together for a working lunch there.

          Reply
        2. Mookie

          But it’s no coincidence rich folk and property owners were all men, when whether de iure or de facto women were barred from possessing the necessary requirements to join in the first place.

          Reply
    4. Julia

      I’d understand where you’re coming from if this was a seminar like “Recondition yourself to face your emotions – how men can learn to talk about their feelings” (I wish I could come up with a less weird example), but it’s not. They’re going golfing – do you seriously believe they’ll have an all-male mutual therapy session there? And do you also believe that any woman there would be a hindrance to opening up about emotions? Because like 99% of the men I know go talk to women when it comes to emotions.

      Reply
      1. Snickerdoodle

        This isn’t about “mutual therapy”; this is about men forging relationships outside of work that strengthen their relationships AT work.

        Reply
        1. Julia

          I know it is. Someone complained “what are men supposed to do when we now have to talk about our feeeeeelings”, as if they were planning to do an all male therapy session instead of golf.

          Reply
    5. inlovewithwords

      Something to think about, in terms of it being ‘okay’ for there to be women’s events but not men’s: women [and any non-cis-dudes really] are a traditionally marginalized group in the workforce, known to earn less to the dollar over a lifetime, fighting to get recognition, and having all these gender expectations where a lot of them are ‘perform role for men’s benefit.’ Having a space where they don’t have to do that and can talk openly and honestly with far fewer (though never none!) of those gender roles imposed on them can, for some, be really safe and empowering. Also, guys on average have way more conditioning and ability to put themselves forward, compared to women absolutely being more conditioned overall to be unobtrusive. Having a place they can network with each other without having to deliberately outshine or talk over a dude–especially a dude who more likely than not will talk over them, possibly even mansplain at them–is equally empowering and a way to start laying groundwork for networking.

      Basically: yeah. Yeah it is a double-standard. Turns out not everything can be treated equal, though, because contextually there are very different power dynamics, and turns out vulnerable groups (be they race, gender, sexuality, what have you) often need to band together and create their own spaces to be safe in in order to help build confidence and networks. By contrast, those with power meeting just with themselves is an exclusionary tactic. Basically: since the professional world and society doesn’t treat gender equally, guess what, neither can things like these.

      Reply
      1. Pabz

        And for that reason, because they’re not doing anything fireable, I say go ahead and do what you want on your own time. If people read into something that doesn’t exist, that’s not LW’s fault.

        Reply
        1. Julia

          That’s like saying, “since XY isn’t illegal, go ahead and do it even though it’s a shitty thing to do”.

          Reply
        2. Thlayli

          Well you have a point that OP can’t be fired for organising a men’s only weekend away. But OP wasn’t writing here to ask “will I get fired if I do this?” OP was writing to ask what Alison thought of the idea. Alison thinks it’s a bad idea and explained why she thinks that. Question asked and answered. OP can do with that info what he likes. There’s no law saying he has to abide by Alison’s advice.

          Reply
        3. Trout 'Waver

          I think this would absolutely be fireable, especially in the context of a larger pattern of behavior. And especially if the organizer had been advised on the consequences for the team as a whole for organizing such an event.

          To put it another way, if I told a team member not to do something because it would create a difficult “us vs them” culture at work, and that team member did that something anyway, I would absolutely consider firing that person.

          Reply
        4. Observer

          Actually, they quite probably are. Even if it’s not fireable it’s terrible judgement and would be a career limiting move in any well functioning company.

          Because ignoring reality is ALWAYS a bad idea. And the claim that there is noting there is not true.

          Reply
        5. Cambridge Comma

          It can contribute to creating a hostile environment, which would be a problem for the company and therefore why not fireable?

          Reply
        6. mrs__peel

          Hosting men-only events could certainly be a fireable offense, if a company is (prudently) worried about possible lawsuits for gender-based discrimination.

          Reply
      2. foolofgrace

        “Turns out not everything can be treated equal,”

        There’s equal, and there’s equitable. Men and women might not be treated equally, and maybe they shouldn’t be given the historical lack of opportunity for women, but being treated equitably allows for women to make up for lost ground.

        Reply
      3. Jo

        It’s really not a double standard, though. For something to be a double standard, the circumstances and context surrounding both scenarios have to be exactly the same. All other things being equal, two parties are being treated differently/one is given extra consideration over the other.

        That’s never the case when it comes to a marginalized group vs. a privileged group. So it’s not a double standard, it’s leveling the playing field.

        There’s a great comic somewhere that showcases this analogy about circles trying to fit through a triangular hole in the wall. If you google it you can probably find it easy. It’s super interesting and on-point.

        Reply
      4. Archaeopteryx

        If there’s a 7-foot fence blocking the view, and you give a 1-foot stepstool to both a 6 foot tall man and a 5 foot tall woman, they are being treated “the same” but they are not being treated equally. Maybe a clunky analogy, but the point is, treating women fairly in a historically oppressive environment look different than being fair to non-marginalized men.

        Reply
        1. RUKiddingMe

          Seriously, males have a whole lot of making things right yet to do.

          *Also white people, imperialistic nations (Britain, France, Spain…USA…I’m looking at you), etc. Related but though different topics for another discussion.

          Reply
    6. Koala dreams

      We do have the inverted girls night out here in Sweden: girls night out is a dinner for women collegues to meet and discuss strategies and the purpose is to combat the old boys club sexism in the workplace. The boys night out is a dinner for men friends to meet and discuss emotions and private life, not work. The purpose is to combat the loneliness among men. That being said, it’s not recommended to only invite your collegues to boys night out, since the purpose is to improve your personal life and not your work life.

      Anyway, since this seems to be a more activity-focused night out, it would probably neither count as a typical girls night out nor a boys night out. I just wanted to share the concept.

      Reply
      1. Genny

        This is a fascinating concept, and I wish more of this type of think (where everyone gets what they need) existed instead of trying to make everything 100% the same. Thanks for sharing.

        Reply
    7. Myrin

      You say that you “really don’t see what the problem is here”, so I have a question which I promise is not meant snarkily but genuine curiosity: Have you read only the question but neither Alison’s answer nor any of the comments?
      Because otherwise, I’m not quite understanding where your not seeing the problem is coming from – there are several very eloquent, insightful, and lengthy explanations already up there!

      Reply
      1. RUKiddingMe

        “…I’m not quite understanding where your not seeing the problem is coming from…”

        Considering his comments calling woman “dames,” saying “feminism” like it’s a dirty word, implying that patriarchy isn’t a thing, and how things are oh so unfair for males, I’m gonna say it’s coming from misogyny.

        Reply
    8. TheNotoriousMCG

      Pabz, do you watch the Netflix show, GLOW? The second season just came out and in it, all of the (female) performers had to sign a terrible contract with the network. The lead performer had been on TV before and knew it was terrible so she redrafted it with her lawyer-husband and presented it to the head of the network and got herself a producer title. So now she was meant to be one third of the major decision-making team and she was going to have her voice be heard!!!!

      Except the other two guys then went out for drinks and made major decisions without her. But they didn’t *exclude* her, they just went out for drinks because they’re friends and she has a baby to get home to so they didn’t invite her and it just came up.

      So she tries to play by the rules and she invites them over to her house to have a dinner meeting. She confirms it with them and both say to her face ‘Oh yes, we’ll be there.’ And then to each other in the parking lot, ‘You’re not going, right?’

      Women have been left out of professional relationship-building for so long and those situations are so pervasive that that is why people cannot accept ‘Well it’s only these eight other people in the office that I feel close enough to to hang with and they all happen to be dudes’ or ‘Well women aren’t interested in (sports, golf, camping, the beach??? I MFin love the beach.)’

      If OP1 was thinking about inviting one coworker whom he was particularly close to in an out of work setting, then that isn’t an issue. It’s the fact that he is inviting *all* of the guys and *none* of the women that makes this particularly exclusionary. He should keep this to his out of work friends.

      Reply
      1. Gyratory Circus

        Excellent example – I was really impressed at the second season, and liked it even better than the first one!

        Reply
  29. Thlayli

    OP2, your letter doesn’t say whether you engage in any conversation at all with your coworkers? It almost seems like you think all conversation with your coworkers is gossip? Just in case: please be assured that talking to and having friendly interactions with your coworkers is a perfectly acceptable way to build relationships at work. You can feel free to have friendly chats with anyone so long as:
    1 you aren’t spending too much time chatting and not enough working
    2 you aren’t engaging in what Alison describes as “bad gossip” above like being mean about someone behind their back.

    Reply
    1. Oxford Comma

      I was wondering this too. I’ve worked with a few people who think any non-work talk is gossip. Like if I asked “hey how was your weekend?” they thought I was doing the equivalent of asking them how many intimate partners they’ve had. And after I got that reaction two or three times, I just stopped trying to be sociable and I certainly wouldn’t have approached them about organizational changes that I’d heard might be coming at us.

      Thlayli’s (fellow Watership Down lover?) advice is spot on.

      Reply
    2. Former Retail Manager

      Precisely. The tone of the letter also struck me as the OP having the impression that talk that isn’t directly related to their work is “gossip.” I consider “gossip” to be mostly negative and unproductive. Sharing information that is work related, even if not specifically related to your current job, is fine so long as it is based on confirmed facts and/or reliable sources.

      Reply
  30. March Madness

    “The culture we live in today…”

    “We’re all on the same career path…”

    ” I’m anticipating the women causing some drama…”

    So many dog whistles.

    Reply
    1. Ladyphoenix

      Then you add on that the reason the women are not gonna be invited is that they are you g and single and the men are Christian and married…

      I think it has moved past fron “Dog Whistle” to the alarm subs make when the sub goes down:AOoooooooooooga,

      Reply
  31. Clarice Fitzpatrick

    It’s 100% non-work-related

    By the virtue of the workplace context and setting though, it isn’t. If you become friends with a coworker, even if it’s a deep, meaningful friendship outside of work, you’re still coworkers and your friendship will be affected by the context of the workplace, until you aren’t coworkers anymore. That doesn’t mean no intimacy or connection should be found at work, but you have to think about these things when it comes to social interactions at work or developed in the context of work.

    No one’s asking LW #1 to not cultivate friendships with other men. No one’s asking him to shut down his feelings. No one’s even saying that he shouldn’t have any spaces to bond with other men if he wants. However, when taking in the context of workplace equity and history of sexism (see: HannahS’s comment), LW #1 is in dangerous territory and if he doesn’t want to inadvertently hurt people and stir up drama himself, then he needs to think over the costs/benefits of such an outing as he sees it.

    Reply
    1. Pabz not Pubz

      Every single post on the topic is “but men shouldn’t do it because sexism.” In the Current Year of Equality For All, women therefore should also not allowed to have out-of-work hangouts with other women. THis is the issue I have with the whole thing.

      Reply
      1. Oryx

        But equality isn’t enough. Have you seen the illustration of the three people of varying heights standing behind a fence? Tall person can already see over it, average height cannot, short person cannot.

        To make things equal, they are all given the same crate to stand on. Tall person, who didn’t need a boost, now as an even better view. Average person can see now, so great. But short person still can’t see because the crate isn’t high enough.

        But what’s the problem? We have you all the same thing! Isn’t that what you want? Equality?

        Men and groups of privilege don’t need additional professional resources like gendered groups: they already have a view above the fence. But marginalized groups do need additional resources, like networking groups, because we can’t see. And some groups need even more resources. Saying Groups X and Y get this but Group Z doesn’t because Group Z already has a view isn’t taking anything away from Group Z. It’s merely elevating X and Y to the same level

        Reply
          1. Oryx

            It really is and does a wonderful job of illustrating Equality (sameness) v. Equity (fairness). Other illustrations take it a step further, showing things like accommodations and such. Equality itself isn’t always enough.

            Reply
        1. Scott

          What you’re suggesting though is to take something away from men (or tall people in your analogy), and give it to short people.

          Back to your analogy, we must chop the legs off the tall people (take away the right to meet together), and they can’t see over the fence anymore (or do any male bonding, or any bonding, since they’re not invited to female only hangouts), and give a crate to the women to stand on (who can now bond as women).

          I like your analogy. It really clarifies how I think a lot of men see this situation.

          Reply
          1. Cambridge Comma

            The tall people have a stepladder, too. The suggestion is that they could give up the stepladder, rather than having their legs chopped off.

            Reply
            1. Scott

              There’s no stepladder in the analogy. taking something away (male spaces to bond), means taking something away, however you want to invision that in this analogy, whether that’s chopping the legs off, or forcing him to sit.

              Reply
              1. Tardigrade

                No, exclusionary spaces for men in the professional environment are being taken away or transformed to more inclusive spaces. And if you don’t agree that is a good thing, then we have nothing further to discuss here.

                Reply
              2. Myrin

                Oh my goodness. OP shouldn’t be relying on his coworkers for his fix of “male bonding”, anyway; surely he has more men in his life than the eight he works with.

                Reply
              3. Logan

                Scott,
                I agree that male bonding spaces are necessary. I have heard about barber shops providing a healthy place for mental health services, and there are efforts to create similar situations.

                The key, in my opinion and hopefully I articulate it well, is that those male bonding spaces shouldn’t be focused on the workplace. There are definitely places where men don’t have equity to women – I include some aspects of mental health and the effects of toxic masculinity within this – and society should build ladders and step-stools to help men with these. It isn’t about taking away all resources for men, although I agree that societally we are only starting to sort out what resources would be useful for men (and everyone else – we’ve done very badly so far with visible minorities), but rather trying to sort out where gaps exist and how best to address those.

                Reply
              4. Student

                Honestly, are you not able to find a male-bonding space? Seriously? I’m practically tripping over them.

                What is “male-bonding” supposed to accomplish that’s so noteworthy, anyway? Why, fundamentally, do you need an exclusive male-bonding space, instead of spaces to enjoy the things you like with like-minded people of both (any) genders?

                I don’t personally seek out exclusive female-bonding-spaces. I’m sure they exist, but I’ve never felt a need for such a thing. I go do the things I like with people I like. It’s never occurred to me to do it with only one gender. I’ve never found “men” inherently unpleasant or difficult to be around, though I’ve found specific people- men and women – that I don’t want to be around, for specific reasons.

                I think the implicit connotation is that your need for a man-only space implies that women are somehow inherently inferior or unpleasant to socialize with by comparison. That’s the bit that tends to rub us wrong. I really can’t understand the entire concept without some underpinning assumption like it.

                Reply
              5. RUKiddingMe

                This is straight bullshit. (Sorry Alison). Nothing’s being taken away. You are all pissed off because stuff is being given to women and you don’t like the fact that it is.

                It’s like you’ve all had a whole cookie…forever while women have had half of one. Now women are being given the other half and you’re whining that it’s unfair because women now have a whole cookie…or more accurately you are saying they have two cookies.

                Reply
                1. Jo

                  RUKiddingMe, I cannot second hard enough everything you’re saying today. High five.

                  Even worse, it’s not even “oh, women have two cookies now!” It’s, “I’ve always had a whole cookie and women have had half. Now they’re being given another half. Shouldn’t *I* get another half a cookie?!”

                  No.

                  You really shouldn’t.

                2. RUKiddingMe

                  Hi Jo. Had to nest under my own comment…

                  Thanks for the high fives. The older I get (read: older than dirt at this point) the less patience I have for this kind of deliberately obtuse BS being spouted. It’s the same arguments/justifications I’ve been hearing since I was a kid in the 70s.

                  One thing striking me as I am reading through the comments directed at OP is that there are several telling him how this would be bad for his career/reputation. While true, it’s not the issue. It shouldn’t be at any rate. The issue is: stop being a misogynist. Stop behaving in a sexist way.

                3. teclatrans

                  I love this analogy. I used to trick my kid into thinking she was getting more by giving her 2 quarters of a cookie while I got one and a half. She is now old enough to know better.

          2. Oryx

            No, that’s the point: the tall people are already tall enough to see over the fence. When we focus on equality and give everyone a step stool, the tall people get even more of an advantage than they already had. When we focus on equity — making it fair for everyone — the people who *need* an advantage are given one. The tall people don’t need an advantage, nothing is taken from them.

            Reply
          3. Myrin

            Huh? No one is taking away anything from the tall people. They’re literally always able to look over the fence, there’s just additional help for the other people to look over the fence, too.

            Reply
          4. Luna

            No one is saying men can never have male bonding time. Go and bond with your male non-work friends and family.

            Reply
            1. Scott

              females should follow the same rule then, and not create exclusionary spaces for women only in the workplace.

              Reply
      2. Temperance

        Do you seriously think that this is “the Current Year of Equality for All”? I know that #metoo has been very threatening to some men, because they now have to think before they harass a woman, but FFS, in an equal world, we wouldn’t have #metoo or the OBC.

        Reply
        1. RUKiddingMe

          We only get one year too I guess? In the whole of history we’re allowed only one year of equality. Like “women’s history month” apparently.

          Reply
      3. Observer

        In alternate universe, that might be true. In the current universe it’s hard to believe that this statement is being made in good faith.

        I suggest that you read some of the stories on this thread and on this site in general. Then go over to the EEOC site and look at their numbers of sex discrimination and harassment cases as well as their estimates of how many cases go unreported.

        Reply
      4. Cambridge Comma

        While women-only hangouts are different (because of privilege) most commenters on this thread have said they do not believe that either gender should organize segregated meet-ups.

        Reply
      5. neverjaunty

        You also ranted about men being asked not to be stoic, so no, it doesn’t really come across as pure equality being the issue here.

        Reply
      6. MCMonkeyBean

        When something is a problem specifically because of gender dynamics, you can’t just flip the genders and say “but then this is exactly the same.” The whole point is that it’s NOT exactly the same.

        Reply
    2. MatKnifeNinja

      Curious….

      Say, OP #1 is truly friends with his coworkers, and invites only those 8 workers to his kid’s wedding, graduation party, bar mitzvah…family celebration, would that be an issue? It’s not golf. It’s not work related. Spouses are included. The spouse may or may not show up.

      Do you never include a true work friend into your non work life? Some people may have a couple true friends at work. This guy may have 8.

      This has happens at my work, were women are invited to another coworker’s wedding, and a good chunk is not (other women and men).

      Coworker friends are off limits for outside invites until you leave that place of work?

      Reply
      1. Liz T

        Who fucking knows? We don’t know these people. We’re responding to the question at hand with the information we’re given. I’m sure if we ran through a thousand hypotheticals you could cherry-pick one or two to wave around and prove It’s Not Sexism There Is No Sexism but whether it’s a bar mitzvah or a strip club I’m highly suspicious of a man who only wants to socialize with men and cares more about women causing hypothetical “drama” than about his role in perpetuating inequality in the workplace.

        Reply
      2. Trout 'Waver

        Stop being obtuse. The odds of a person with 9 male and 8 female coworkers being friends with all the men but none of the women is 1 in 131,072 by binomial probability, assuming each person has a 50/50 chance of liking another person. The odds for all 10 men in this situation to be friends with each other but none of the women is 1 in ~1.497 x 10^51. That’s roughly equivalent to winning the Powerball lottery 6 times in a row and then putting it all double-or-nothing on black.

        Or it could be sexism.

        Reply
        1. Mophie

          Is there really a 50/50 probability of each person becoming friends? In my experience, men and much more likely to become friends with one another and women are much more likely to be friends with one another. I don’t mean the workplace either. Just look at places where folks hang out.
          I am a guy who has more female friends than male ones and I am self conscious about it and numerous folks bring it up.

          Reply
          1. Trout 'Waver

            Well, this particular case, it does appear to be 50/50 because OP is friends with 9 and not friends with 8. I could be more precise statistically, but point that the odds are so huge would still stand.

            Reply
      3. Natalie

        Weddings, bar mitzvahs, a cookout with friends are not attended by 100% work friends, they’re personal events that you also invite family and other friends to. Unless the LW invited 10 other friends that he didn’t mention, this camping trip is a work outing.

        Reply
      4. Cambridge Comma

        Sometimes you do things at work because of the optics. If your genuine and hearfelt friendships coincidentally give the impression that you discriminate against your colleagues and contribute to a hostile work environment, yes, you have to bury your overwhelming feelings of affection for your friends who just happen to all be from the same privleged group until you no longer work together. Alternatively you can include people from the other group too, who you (by pure coincidence of course) just don’t like as much — you still get to socialise with your friends, but you don’t create a legal liability for your employer.

        Reply
      5. Yorick

        But there’s a problem if you are true friends with all the 8 men at work and none of the 8 women.

        If he wanted to invite 2-3 of his male friends from work to the beach/wedding/whatever, this wouldn’t be the same question.

        Reply
      6. Not So NewReader

        Weddings and funerals have also been used in the GOB network.

        This goes back to the kindergarten rule if you invite half then you have to invite them all.

        You could:
        1) Invite less people.
        2) Invite them all.
        3) Invite no one.

        We invited one coworker from my husband’s place to our wedding. The other five people who worked there did not mind not being invited. They could see it was a small wedding. And Husband and Bob were known to be good friends. No problem.

        Reply
  32. Clarice Fitzpatrick

    One thing I’d also tell LW #1 is by setting up the conditions of this activity as a de facto secret from the women because you fear drama, you’re ironically setting yourself up for drama.

    The guys (or at least some of them) will feel pressured and maybe uncomfortable about treating it as an unsaid boys club outing. This could strain their relationships with the other men and women there, depending on their chosen behavior. Even if they all are down for it, they may tell “white lies” or lie by omission in friendly small talk with the women (because I assume at least some of y’all communicate with the women in your workplace). However, some may let it slip but then have to “politely” say it’s a guys’ night out. Or maybe a woman overhears conversation between some men about it. Or they spot some written evidence of the weekend. Or maybe the weekend happens and the lies, whether of white or omission, have to continue because now you’ve dug yourself into a hole of keeping this between only the men and still the same risks are there, but bigger because now it happened and you actively kept it hidden.

    Reply
  33. Kiwi

    OP1, do you think of your female workmates as “the women”? If so, that’s not great. It’d be much better to think of Bob and Ed who surf, Fergus, Anna and Dave who all love golf, Cathryn who’s into sea kayaking, and so on. Thinking about people as a bunch of individuals. Otherwise you risk de-humanizing them in your mind, even totally unintentionally.

    Reply
  34. Amy

    I really, really hate how OP #1 dismisses women’s concerns about an all-male weekend as “drama”. That right there is sexist crap.

    Reply
  35. RUKiddingMe

    #1: ““guys weekend,” but since all the guys in the office are being invited, I’m anticipating the women in the office hearing about it and causing some drama.”
    —Sexism.

    “because of the office culture we live in today…”
    —Sexism.

    “No work is going on during the trip, so no “deals” are being made.”
    —Justification of sexism.

    “We are simply hanging out.”
    —Justification of sexism.

    “The simple fact is that us guys are all pretty friendly towards one another and enjoy each other’s company.”
    —Justification of sexism.

    Reply
  36. Detective Amy Santiago

    OP #3 – You are navigating this situation very well. I can understand why Amanda would be sad about the shift in your friendship and it seems likely that her waxing nostalgic was simply a remnant of her drinking. She was probably embarrassed by her actions and you are doing a kindness by not bringing it up.

    Reply
  37. Dear liza dear liza

    OP #4, do not ever assume universities have COLAs. If you are looking at public universities with unions, it’s more likely, but not guaranteed. And for those of us in right-to-work states, ha ha ha! I’ll disagree with AAM slightly and say it’s ok to ask about this at the on-campus portion of the interview. A decent library director/dean will want to know if you have any dealbreakers, and it sounds like this is one for you. Good luck on your search!

    Reply
    1. (Different) Rebecca, PhD

      I got confused for a second because COLA is also an acronym for College of Liberal Arts, and most universities DO have them.

      Reply
    2. Hermione'sAtTheLibrary

      Yes to this. I read OP#4’s comment and wondered if they worked in my library, since we’re in the exact same situation. OP#4, I too wish you luck in finding a place that pays better — but you may find that the situation at your library is more of the rule and less the exception.

      Reply
    3. hobbittoes

      (OP #4 here) Thanks! Since this is my first professional librarian job, I was wondering if I’ve been working for an unusually struggling institution or if it’s really widespread. It’s frustrating (but helpful) to know it’s common. Maybe when/if I get an on-campus interview, I’ll ask the library director the question Alison suggested.

      Reply
      1. Logan

        Or maybe account for it in your salary negotiation?
        “You sound like a great place to work, and I aim to be with you for a long time. If you aren’t able to provide cost-of-living increases, then could we please agree to X more pay initially?”
        (that’s probably not the best way to say it, but if it’s likely to be 5 years until your next raise, and the cost-of-living is estimated to be 2% annually, then maybe ask for an extra 5% pay at the start as an offset – I chose 5%, as over those 5 years it would be 2,4,6,8% total, for an over-simplified average of 5%). Or maybe you don’t mention your rationale, but be willing to ask for more at the start?

        Reply
        1. hobbittoes

          I thought about that too – if they say, “Well, salary adjustments don’t happen every year, and are dependent on the projected enrollments,” or something like that, I’d need/want to negotiate for a higher salary. I often say about my current salary that if I’d known it wouldn’t get adjusted, I’d have negotiated for a much higher starting salary. Especially since my starting salary was…fine…for an unmarried person but is pretty meager for someone with a spouse and child (even a spouse who also works). Something like, “With that in mind, I’ll need to ask for $X instead of $Y” or…something?

          Reply
          1. Logan

            I tend to defer to Allison’s great suggestions on salary negotiations for wording, yet I think your suggestion is a very good attitude!

            I think that Oxford Comma’s suggestion (as much as possible at the start) is perfect, and – if it were me, who really dislikes having to negotiate salary an advocte for myself unless I’m pushed – I would use the cost-of-living issue as rationale in motivating me.

            Reply
    4. hobbittoes

      As a follow-up, what’s the best way to account for what looks like a pretty modest increase in salary over 5 years but is actually (for where I work) a strong indication that I’m a valuable employee? I know it’s poor practice to ask people their starting and ending pay, but it’s definitely been on some applications I’ve submitted.

      Reply
      1. AMPG

        If it’s part of a conversation, you should use the term “merit increase,” so it’s clear that it was a reward for work quality. If it’s just an application with no space for an explanation, I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s unlikely that it will be held against you.

        Also, I work in the non-profit sector, which is also known for stagnant pay, and I ask about COLAs as part of the benefits discussion, and I make it clear that I consider wages that keep pace with inflation to be an important part of the benefits package.

        Reply
        1. A username for this site

          Yes, this. I recently ran into a nonprofit organization that only gave raises if the entire organization, all 20 local branches within 100 mile radius of the regional office, hit their budget targets that year. People would go 3+ years without an increase in pay due to this policy.

          Nope, not for me.

          Reply
      2. Hermione'sAtTheLibrary

        Yeah, if it’s just on the application, I wouldn’t worry about it. I can’t remember seeing that come up on applications so it’s probably not that common. And again, I think this is a really common situation in academic libraries, at least at public institutions, so the people reading your application would know that and would interpret the salary thing through that lens.

        Reply
      3. Oxford Comma

        These postings show up multiple places and occasionally you can find a posting where the salary isn’t required.

        Also, sometimes this is a HR thing that everyone else on the search committee ignores.

        And lastly, you probably already know that our profession is not terribly well paid. In many cases, certain universities are notorious for how low paid their librarians are. I wouldn’t stress over that. A search committee is going to be paying way more attention to your references when it comes to determining how valuable an employee you are.

        Reply
    5. Wendy Darling

      By the time I left graduate school no one in my department had gotten a cost of living adjustment in NINE YEARS. My rent increased by 75% in that time period, but no one got a raise.

      Reply
      1. hobbittoes

        Ugh that’s awful! It makes me want to negotiate for the amount of money I expect my family will need in like 5-10 years, not what we need now.

        Reply
        1. Oxford Comma

          As a fellow academic librarian, I am going to pass along some advice that was given to me and that I ignored because I was just so grateful to have a job that paid me a living wage and provided me with health insurance. This is the advice:

          “Get as much as you possibly can when you start.”

          Also, if they don’t have flexibility in the salary, you can sometimes negotiate other things: more vacation, funding for conferences, moving expenses, etc.

          Reply
  38. Detective Amy Santiago

    OP #2 – the word ‘gossip’ has so many negative connotations but it doesn’t have to be malicious.

    Reply
  39. Rebecca

    #1 – perspective from a female team member when this happened at my office, except it was organized by upper management.

    In 2002, I worked in the office of a garment manufacturing company, very old boys club, and one of the VP’s was a member of a hunting club. He organized a 3 day hunting and fishing getaway at the club for the men in the office, from the President on down to desk jockeys. It was very clear that none of the women in the office would be invited or welcomed. I was tasked with using my word processing skills to make award certificates to be handed out for various activities, like most fish caught, skeet shooting skills, that type of thing (I was given a list).

    Aside – I have hunted and fished, and am familiar with hiking, outdoor activities…this would have been so much fun for me!!

    Anyway, the women in the office endured listening to the men discussing the upcoming getaway for weeks ahead of time. Then, we carried the work load while they weren’t there, and no, they didn’t have to use vacation time, and got to hear the stories and banter after they returned. It was nauseating. The culture was such that we knew not to complain, and who would we complain to? HR? You mean the HR men who attended the event?

    By October of that year, I found a new job and have never been happier.

    Bottom line. Do not do this.

    Reply
      1. Equestrian Attorney

        Yeah, the guys at my old law firm did a fishing weekend every year. No partners, but all male associates in my department, with partner approval. One of the girls asked about coming and was told on no uncertain terms that “it would be no fun because the point is to get drunk and it’s no fun when girls are there”. Meanwhile, most of us hadn’t taken a vacation in two years, and had to pick up their slack while they were gone, assume they would be too hungover to work upon their return, and endure all the inside jokes and partners gleefully asking about shenanigans and reminiscing back to their own fishing trips, without ever acknowledging how problematic this was. And then the guys would become partners way before any of the girls because they had “people skills”. Thank goodness I left.

        Reply
        1. Lady Russell's Turban

          Women were excluded, unless your firm employed female children. Women.

          Using the term “girls” instead of “women” makes seeing women in the workplace as “other” and “lesser than” much easier. It is a habit so many of us need to break–and I do not exclude myself from that.

          Reply
          1. RUKiddingMe

            Agreed. I’m probably at 90+% not doing it…with considerable effort and conscious presence of mind about my word choice, but damn it’s been hard. It’s taken years and I still find myself slipping from time to time. Fortunately the slips are now more often than not in my head before I speak, but still…

            Reply
    1. Lance

      The fact that you had to make the awards certificates — you, as part of the group that was specifically not invited — has to be the most incredibly insulting thing in this whole mess. Thank goodness you got out of there, and shame on the VP that organized this for giving it zero rational thought.

      Reply
  40. CaseyAtLarge

    My department, which is about 50/50 male/female, frequently has Girl’s Night Outs (painting parties, happy hours, etc.). It’s not officially sanctioned by the department but my manager is one of the two women organizing it so it *feels* like a departmental event.

    Men aren’t invited but they’re aware that we do this on a regular basis. To their credit, they never seem to complain. Most of the women in our group participate (70-80%). I’ve been to almost every one but now I’m questioning whether or not it should even be held.

    Reply
    1. Treats for Shelby

      It’s interesting to see how many people will bend over backwards to justify a double standard that benefits them while denouncing the ones that work against them. Bravo to you for not being a hypocrite and at least questioning your actions.

      Reply
    2. Lala

      It seems like those sorts of things would be easy to open up to the men, and really weird that they’re being excluded. It seems like the easy fix there is to just invite everyone? I know plenty of guys that like those “BYOB and paint” things. A manager definitely shouldn’t be routinely excluding half her department from events she’s organizing.

      Reply
    3. AnotherJill

      There is almost never a good reason to segregate by gender (with the possible exception of something like a breastfeeding group, but even then support of family members could be a reason for inclusion).

      There are plenty of women who do not enjoy stereotypical “girls”activities and plenty of men who do. There are plenty of men who do not enjoy stereotypical “boys”activities and plenty of women who do.

      It’s way past time for people to stop using gender as an exclusionary device.

      Reply
    4. Genny

      I see a few problems with this.

      1) It’s a work event segregated by gender for no apparent, justifiable reason.

      2) It’s being organized by a manager, which makes it seem like the company is approving this.

      3) It’s the same group of people every time (which is more likely to happen when you segregate by gender), so those people are getting the opportunity to schmooze at a work event while everyone else is excluded. A regular happy hour at an expensive cocktail place would similarly be problematic as it would be more likely to consistently exclude certain people, even though financial status isn’t a protected class like sex.

      4) Not clear to me if individual participants are paying, but if they aren’t and that money is coming from company funds, then it becomes even more problematic.

      Reply
  41. Robert

    I once worked for a sales team and the breakdown was 16 to 4, women to men. So during National meetings, spa days and tours planned “for the girls” always excluded us. We would just go off and do anything we wanted and charge it as a group to the company. Although there was a minor feeling of exclusion on our part there were a few in the other group who didn’t care for the “forced” group activity.

    Reply
    1. Delta Delta

      I don’t think this is ok. Even though that’s a huge ratio of women to men, it seems thoughtless if all the activities were geared toward what the company thought the group of women would want without giving a thought to the group as a whole. Also, who says a man wouldn’t enjoy a spa day?

      Reply
        1. AnotherJill

          Or a painting day or whatever else thing someone would think I would like simply because I possess ovaries.

          Reply
          1. Starbuck

            I find it so bizarre that painting is now considered a feminine thing. When did that happen? If you look back in art history… actually, you don’t have to look back at all- even still today, the most famous and lucrative painters are male.

            Reply
            1. Delta Delta

              Maybe like a “sip and paint?” I’ve never done one but I know lots of women who like them. I’m trying to think if I personally know any men who have told me they’ve done this. Not sure.

              Reply
    2. Frankie

      Yuck. I’d love a spa day but not as an “all women must attend” and “no men allowed,” particularly as part of a work event.

      Reply
    3. RUKiddingMe

      This isn’t ok, however incidents like this are tantamount to being the “exceptions that prove the rule.”

      Reply
  42. Roscoe

    #1 is interesting to me. Its like I get that the optics are bad. But I really feel he should be able to do what he wants outside of work, especially if no one is a manager. My last job (very progressive, very liberal, even men and women split), they literally had a “Women’s night out”. They talked about it and planned it all at work. It wasn’t like a “networking” event. It was literally most of the women just going out after work for drinks and to party on the town. And I know people will probably say how that is “different” somehow, but I don’t see it. It seems that its a social thing, outside of work, and it wasn’t a problem. But it is for this guy?

    Also, I don’t like the implication that he should “ask himself why” he is friends with all the guys. There are PLENTY of studies out there that say how people gravitate toward people like themselves, even in fairly diverse enviornments. Women tend to congregated. Bigger people tend to congregate. LGBT people tend to congregate. People of color tend to congregate. Why is it a problem when men tend to congregate.

    So I guess my advice to OP is, do what you want, but just know that it may get some blowback. I’d probably suggest not inviting ALL of the guys. You say there are 9 guys, maybe invite the 3 or 4 you are closest with. That shouldn’t be a problem. But inviting over half the office and not everyone isn’t good optics, no matter how that line was drawn

    Reply
    1. Roscoe

      Just to clarify one thing. I think its perfectly fine and sometimes needed for underrepresented groups to do professional events where it is only them. When it is PURELY social though, that is where I have a hard time seeing where its ok for one group to do it, if they comprise roughly half, but not the other half.

      I wonder, if the women did what OP is planning, and then the guys said “ok, well since the women are doing their thing saturday, lets all go golfing this weekend” would that be ok?

      Reply
      1. Anononon

        One of the top comments has a great paragraph about why these get togethers are never just purely social.

        Reply