So let me tell you about this dynamic that’s gone unnoticed (by me) until the past several years.
It’s an interpersonal workplace dynamic which escaped my notice for 2 reasons from what I can surmise
1) It wasn’t until that past few years that I began working in a large corporate environment housing a large number of employees who are split down the middle by gender distribution.
2) I now posses an overall awareness of the holistic cultural backdrop against which I’m about to speak.
Firstly, my most noteworthy observation to commence this discussion is the sheer number of men in mid- to upper-level management positions who are married. It would appear that all ambitious, corporate climbing men must display, as an element of their meta-resume, their participation in a state of matrimonial commitment. This creates a sub-social level of maledom in the corporate environs that embraces and shares a communal affinity (or is it resignation?) for the Marriage Society. A wedding ring is a seemingly required accessory very much de rigueur amongst the legions of smartly dressed, business school refugees. Obviously while not openly documented or required due to overriding legal requirements, one realizes that a failure to ensconce oneself in wedding bliss can only lead to a low grade sort of ostracism within the corporate white collar matrix.
Now it follows logically that these men, the entirety of them, whether they are attentive or adulterous or absent or devoted, have one thing in common…a wife. A woman who may or may not sit at home waiting for them each evening. A wife, the complementary 50% of the married equation; which insinuates that these men, after being married for an appreciable amount of time, have adapted and learned the fine art of negotiation and fine-tuned the strategy of give and take. These men have learned to work around and through female demands because let’s face it, female demands many times are confounding and involve an entire specialized logic which baffles the typical, unattached man. Maneuvering through a wife’s cognitive peculiarities is a niche skill set which men only acquire after switching off their inherent masculine logic circuits in order to exist peacefully within the marriage experiment.
The husbands, thus armed with the extra-dimensional ability to steer through the intellectual maze presented by the female mind, head off to work where they, rather than dealing exclusively with males, are now interacting with females who are their peers and beyond. In addition to the preponderance of married men in the corporate workplace, I’m also struck not by the numerous presence of women in management positions, but by the fact that the female mindset they bring to the job has superseded the existing traditional male mindset. The traditional male structure of the workplace environment, rather than standing strong and firm and rebuffing the encroaching female outlook, has withered and bowed before its Corporate Wives.
Men, in the presence of men, act masculine; men, trained as husbands, trained to subvert their masculinity as part of the marriage deal, have brought this demureness to the workplace and allowed their female colleagues to steer much of the work culture of the 21st century. The straight and single manager/VP/chief-whateverthefuckheis is non-plussed by the female matrix and thus more likely to conduct business with a rare tinge of masculinity.
Masculinity is in short supply throughout society so it’s difficult to see why this shouldn’t also be the case in the modern corporation. I will admit that my frame of reference is small…I have had no recent exposure to varied work environments so I cannot honestly say whether or not the observations I’ve noted about my own workplace are consistent with that of the common workplace seen in all of American and global society. I suspect so in light of stories I’ve heard. Japan and Korea, historically the embodiment of patriarchal work environments appear to be capitulating to the feminised paradigm as well. I feel safe proposing that my own slice of gender dystopia is not rare.
Just think of the ubiquitous “sensitivity training” work shops required of employees throughout the work force. Think of the heightened and paranoid sense of awareness men must maneuver through in the office environment. Think of employee handbooks which read like Work Etiquette for Dummies. Think of all the touchy-feely borderline New Age bullshit HR departments espouse. Think of the tarnish stains that smoking and drinking during work hours can leave upon a man’s righteous 21st Century character.
Marriage presents an understandably insulated dynamic which is marvelous as long as it’s left in the private married environment, but as the female half of the marriage dynamic has entered the former masculine realms of the workplace, the cloistered marriage paradigm which was heretofore unseen by the public, has now been illuminated and herded out into a world formerly inhabited by men. The male perspective, never having faced competition or opposition, has caved. It’s like introducing a new virus to a society that has not built natural immunity to the opportunistic invader.