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Summer is the season of reading

September 4, 2010
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Well it’s finally summer at the Hause von Tech. Besides a packed community college course I have a few weeks off from the usual grind of academic responsibilities. Thanks to a recommendation from a blog friend I purchased a used copy of Games Mother Never Taught You by Betty Lehan Harragan.

It’s a little dated, the original coming out in 1977. So some of it is a little old; like there being a ratio of two men for every woman in the workplace. But other than that you’d think it’s still the same world as more than three decades ago. I’m just getting into it, but here are some of the highlights I found interesting. From Chapter 2:
Harragan goes on to tell you that the working world has inherited the military structure. That even if you are a female who has been exposed to this structure, you were very rarely a part of the structure. That the kind of behaviors taught to men to become soldiers is universal to men while women are taught to be passive spectators to this.

Nothing clarifies the mysteries of male-female job relationships quite as much as the initial realization that you are in the army now, and have been for all your working life.

Harragan uses this description of military rank to teach you something very important about the corporate world. There is a hierarchy, and every manager, supervisor, boss, etc has their place within it. The chain of command is central to how everything operates. Going above your boss’s head is against the rules. And the rules in a military structure hierarchy are essential. Harragan tells you (without telling you per say) not to waste your time pleasing your boss’s boss, or some other high ranking official, when it’s your boss who has life or death control over your job. She also talks about how roles like secretarial/administrative roles don’t even have a place in the hierarchy. And how that’s always worked against women whose position that hierarchy is unclear.

Anyways, it’s a very interesting book so far and I’m sure I’ll be posting again with more tidbits.


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