Dear Amy: I'm a woman working as a registered nurse.
I enjoy nursing and working with my patients. I work mostly with other women — some of whom are support staff.
Some of these women are immature (to say the least). Their ages range from 30 to late 40s. I am older.
I generally focus on my job and have been successful at ignoring their rude and sometimes judgmental comments.
The other day I heard them commenting about my appearance; they referred to me as "the lunch lady."
I was extremely hurt and humiliated. I haven't mentioned this to anyone at work. I am now feeling resentful. How can I just let go of this and not act bitterly toward them?
I just started back in therapy. Normally, I really don't care about the unwelcome comments. Nor do I care what my co-workers think of me on a personal level. But this comment hurt me deeply.
I am already sensitive about my age.
Amy says: First, a word about "lunch ladies." Using this phrase as a mocking insult demeans other working women, who are (also) deserving of respect.
I hope you address this issue with your therapist, your supervisor and these "mean girls," who definitely need a course correction.
You interpret their remark as discriminatory, age-related bullying (I do, too).
So, on behalf of hardworking, "seasoned" professional women everywhere, I hope you will find appropriate ways to respond, both in the moment and also on up the professional chain.
They should be called out.
You say that YOU are "upset and embarrassed," where a more useful emotional response might be: "I am mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore."
A response you might rehearse that will telegraph your own ire, but reflect your own professionalism is: "Ladies, no. I suggest you get back to providing care for our patients." And then document the episode and report it to a supervisor.
They might deride this as a very "lunch lady" way to behave, to which you should think to yourself: "Yes! And you've been served."
Chores aren't a favor
Dear Amy: Whenever my husband unloads the dishwasher, he puts about half of the things away in cabinets or drawers, but the other half gets piled on the counter, right next to the dirty pots and plates. It's so frustrating!
I'm not sure how to bring this up. I feel like maybe I should be grateful he contributes (my father NEVER did), but I find it frustrating and confusing when the clean stuff and the dirty stuff are piled together.
Our countertops are never clear, even after everything has been washed, unless I sort through the remainders myself.
If I mention it, is that petty nagging? I just feel like if a job is worth doing, it should be done completely.
Amy says: Your husband is NOT doing you a personal favor by putting a few dishes away. Functioning adults are supposed to do their share of household chores.
If you only ever mowed half the lawn (for instance), would your husband worry about expressing his frustration, for fear of being a "petty nag?"
No, he would say, "Honey, you're not done. When you leave it like this, I just have to come along and finish it."
Your own father trained you to feel grateful for every scrap of household effort (mine, too), but when you clean up after your husband cleans up, you are infantilizing him in his own house. Treat him like a grown-up and talk about it.
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