I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this weekend. If you didn't see it the link is here.
During the editing process I was suddenly gripped with fear that readers would find my 'Adult Queen Bee' character overblown and unrealistic.
The imaginary critics in my head said things like, 'Unflattering and unrealistic portrait of women.' Or, 'Grown women don't act this way.' Just as my doubts were reaching a crescendo along came the WSJ article linked above.
The article focuses on women in the work place who've risen to positions of power. Instead of using their position to serve as mentors and lend a hand to younger women, they actively try to block other women's career advancement.
While reading, suddenly I was transported back to my first year of practice at a (purposely unnamed) Wall Street law firm. One day I emerged from a stall in the women's bathroom to find a female partner waiting with arms crossed.
As I walked past the row of empty stalls to wash my hands she said, "That's my stall. In the future you should probably use a different one."
Of course, if she'd known me better, she would have understood she'd just issued an invitation for me to use 'her' stall each and every time nature called. We were in a pissing match. Literally!
With the perspective of hindsight, I find her behavior sad and incomprehensible. As someone with a bounty of female friends, who has also enjoyed many wonderful mentorships, both male and female, I know the person who loses most is the one who draws a line in the sand (or in front of the bathroom stall, as the case may be).
On one hand, it's hard to understand why this phenomenen persists pasts the halls of high school. On the other hand, I probably shouldn't complain too much since it makes for such fun and realistic (whew) character creation.
Have you ever encountered a Queen Bee in your workplace or otherwise? How did you handle her behavior?