FUNNY WOMEN #142: How to Be a Female Boss

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Dress the part.

Becoming a manager doesn’t mean you have to abandon your womanly appearance, but if you want to be seen as an authority, then balance out the feminine pieces in your wardrobe with more professional styles from Men’s Wearhouse. If you choose to wear a frilly blouse, mix it with handsome pair of wool slacks. Offset a dress with a rugby helmet and cleats. With something clingy or form-fitting, stuff your crotch with a masculine bulge so that your colleagues know you mean business.

Never cry.

Showing emotion is a sign of weakness because it’s seen as a feminine trait, which doesn’t belong in the workplace. Crying in particular tends to make others feel all weird, and as a female higher-up you should avoid doing whatever makes others feel all weird. In fact, as a female, any leakage of water from your body could be misconstrued as tears, so it’s best to not sweat, sneeze, urinate, do a spit-take, or allow the water vapor in your breath to be visible in cold weather. Never let water dribble from a beverage onto you, and perhaps just eschew beverages altogether. Wet T-shirt contests are okay though, to show your fun and frisky side.

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Figure out your management persona.

Gone are the days of women being forced to take on the role of bitchy, callous ice queens to assert authority. In fact, studies have shown that employees respond to a variety of female caricatures. Today you have a bunch of fun options! You could be The Good Cop or The Bad Cop. You could act like a mother figure, a father figure, or like the main character in George Michael’s song “Father Figure,” which is strangely about sex. You could simultaneously play the part of the team grandfather and a grandfather clock. Or work on making small changes to your personality until you slowly begin to resemble classic authority figures: an oil painting of an old, old king, Scott Baio from Charles in Charge, or pretty much any mummy. Eventually, you could take on a more abstract management role like wind or the concept of time. The main thing to remember when choosing your management persona is to abandon the feminine personality that comes naturally in favor of an improved business­like identity that your employees will perceive as strong enough to lead them through a conference call.

Juggle family and work.

Whether you want to or not, when you become a female social media coordinator, CEO (Chief Enthusiasm! Officer), or even “woman wearing business suit” in a stock photo you should have kids and learn how to juggle them. An important part of being a female manager is letting the world know that you can have it all. Juggling is also a way to impress and intimidate your underlings at parties or receptions.

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Don’t talk about overly female things.

Fashion, romantic comedies, celebrity gossip, yogurt, or any other “matriarchal” topics should be nixed in the officesphere if you want to be taken seriously by your corporate dependents. And though it may seem perfectly normal to you, don’t open every single status meeting with an update of your menstrual cycle, and stop with the graphic renderings of your uterus on all the whiteboards. If you get stuck and don’t know what to do, then just scream “touchdown.” People will respect you for being a cool woman-person with passion for team athletics.

Be a man about it.

When none of these ideas work for you, try being a male manager instead.

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Katie Brinkworth is a writer living in San Francisco and working in advertising. She's previously been published in Daily Shouts, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, College Humor, and Thought Catalog. Follow her on Twitter @ktbrinkworth if you enjoy reading one random tweet a year that's probably about bees or horses. More from this author →