FACT: Nice Girls Finish Last In The Workplace

It seems to me a woman has two choices at the workplace nowadays. And very narrow ones mind you. Either she’s eager and enthusiastic, at the risk of being perhaps somewhat of a pushover. Or she can choose to have her defences up at all times, turn her attitude meter on high and set herself up as unapproachable. I don’t like to generalize- although I often do. And I’m very well aware of the prejudices that come along with categorizing people, although it often helps me put things into perspective.

Roula and Heba both work at the same interior design firm. They started out at roughly the same time and hold the exact same position-hierarchly speaking. Roula has always been eager to please while Heba’s known around the office for harbouring some attitude. Since their boss would rather avoid than confront, last minute requests usually land on Roula’s desk, that means more late hours for Roula while Heba gets to bounce early each day. Now in a just world, Roula would get the nod from management while Heba would be perceived as the underperformer. In a just world.

Unfortunately for Roula, she was always expected to do more, so when she wouldn’t deliver something mind-blowing the boss would let her have it. On the other hand, when Heba would demonstrate more enthusiasm and present something above mediocre, her work would be applauded. At the end of the year both Roula and Heba got equal pay raises. Although this sounds like an isolated incident- it actually isn’t. Many women resort to being “difficult” in order to survive at work. What do you think, do nice girls finish last?

Disclaimer: Although similar incidents can occur with men at the workplace, that’s an entire different ball game that I will get into at a later time, the fact of the matter is, men have it easier in the workplace, especially in Lebanon. Big statement- but I can back it up.

14 responses to “FACT: Nice Girls Finish Last In The Workplace

  1. This actually happened in my work place. Believe me, was I the supervisor or “the girl with attitude” she would not have been promoted to team leader. Oh wait! I was…. oh well… I guess b*tchy girls do get away with it…

  2. Been there, done that, quit my job :/

  3. You just summarized my entire work life in this post. I just moved to Lebanon and I was surprised to see how bitchy some girls are at work. I thought that attitude could get someone fired but it actually works just fine!

  4. I was referred to as the “bitch” at my old workplace. And I say it with pride. But no one could argue my attitude simply because I was the one arriving at the office first and leaving last. Plus, I have a borderline OCD perfectionist zero-tolerance for laziness and lack of productivity which engender and drive my bitchiness. And even those I would bitch about knew it. So they could not really blame me, could they? ;)

  5. Roula should stand up for herself and learn how to say no sometimes, it’s a bit her fault if she is always put in these situations
    and Heba should be fired

  6. I don’t think you need to come off as a”bitch” in order to prove to yourself/or others that you’re a “hardworker/perfectionist/and have zero tolerance for laziness”…I see bitchy behavior as a defense mechanism that many girls have when they feel slightly uncomfortable with their surroundings or when they feel intimidated. At the same time , even if you’re not naturally a bitchy person, other people’s actions and behavior provoke you sometimes.
    I just moved to Lebanon, and last summer I interned at a well known ad agency… the amounnnnnnt of “bitchiness” and negative vibes that were in the air was overwhelming and almost pathetic . I got alot of attitude from the2 girls I shared an office with…wanna know how I dealt with it?
    I played dumb…and was super nice to them. (not naiive just nice) until I tore down that bitchy wall… :)

  7. @StyleCafeBeirut , since you quoted me :)
    Hi :)
    I don’t think we mean the same thing by “bitchiness” :)
    I did say I was “referred to” as “the bitch”. Unfortunately it is a label. It is the label people (and mostly men) give to women in the workplace when they stand for what they believe in and refuse to give in. It’s an unfortunate label but I did not mind it if it meant getting the work done.
    What I meant was that sometimes (or maybe often) I’ve had to be tough and not let go or worry about pleasing others if I wanted the work done properly. When you’re managing people, you have a responsibility to inspire, teach and motivate your team, but you also need to make sure deliverables and deadlines are met. Balancing between the two can be difficult and sometimes, you need to be tough. Unfortunately, especially if you are a woman and dealing with men (whether part of your team or as your supervisors).
    But I also think it is part of my personality. Zero tolerance is not easy to live with :) Whether at work or at home :) But I have to admit, I personally have made some progress in that area with the years, as I’ve learnt to channel that energy differently and grew up (and older) to be become more diplomatic in my way of dealing with conflicts or obstacles.

  8. Ivy, is your real name Roula by any chance?

  9. @Joseph I don’t think Ivy will answer that

    Some women are capable of imposing their will much better than others, this is where the difference lies.

  10. @Mamma Mia it must be pretty tough managing people in the workplace, especially in Lebanon and especially men.. I admire women like you actually, and aspire to become one myself :) You remind me alot of the the pr director I interned with.
    Everyone talked smack behind her back, they always bitched about everything she said, or told them to do. They kept complaining about how she worked too hard (“eno doesn’t she have a life!??” they would ask)….I’d go down to the advertising department and they’d all try their best to get dirt on her through me! and would go crazy when I’d answer:”Actually, I like her alot and I love her passion for her work…”
    Somehow I found myself idolizing her, wanting to please her…and I found her to be SO nice! and couldn’t stand the whiny, lazy girls in the office hehe i just wanted to tell them to stop complaining!!!!!!!!
    So now I kind of see where you stand :) and I know what you mean by being regarded as a “bitch.” :)

  11. Thanks for the kind words @StyleCafeBeirut !
    I’m sure you’l achieve all you hope for and more :)
    Cheers ;)

  12. I think bitchy women are just insecure, they don’t really have much to offer to the working field, that’s why they act all tough.. But Roula shouldn’t be too nice, one should be loyal and friendly, but too nice is naive and it gets you nowhere

  13. Which one are you? The nice one or…?

    let’s see how you’ll back up that last statement… =P

  14. I like it whenever people come together and share opinions. Great website, stick with it!

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