I took a quiz the other day that told me how bitchy I was. I think the quiz itself was flawed, since half of the questions asked for what you ‘bitch’ about and then the other half asked you about your personality. I thought the whole definition of ‘bitchy’ was personality-based, and then, my all-time favourite Australian expression of ‘whinging’ (complaining), was more along the lines of bitching about something.
Anyway, I digress. I took a quiz the other day that told me I was 60% bitchy – they called my type of person a Balanced Bitch.
I am OK with this. As someone whom people rarely find bitchy (at least no one tells me to my face) I like to think I’m assertive but also self-aware, making sure I don’t go out of my way to make other people’s lives a living hell but not get walked all over like a dishcloth. (Although, I must say, the amount of bitchiness that goes on in my head when, let’s say, a car almost runs me over, is something Regina George would approve of.)
So when someone (more junior than me) backed out of an obligation last minute and left me hanging, I replied in what I considered to be the bitchiest way possible: “Thanks for letting me know, It’s usually up to the person who’s on that week to find a replacement, but this week I can cover as it’s a bit late…” I hit send with a twinge of regret in my stomach – was I too forceful? Go ahead and chuckle. I thought so.
I’ve learned that rubbing salt in the wound has no place anywhere, really. What’s done is done and the goal is to just move on and do what you have to do to get the real job done. Still, I confided in another friend that this had happened and she instantly told me to reprimand her. Demand that it’s too late to back out and that commitments are commitments. I agreed, but had already sent my 60% bitchy reply. Was I too soft?
Now, I could go into the usual tandem about how women in the workplace are seen as bitchy and not ‘assertive’ and this is all part of our poor perception and the glass ceiling is ever-present… and all that jazz. But I think it’s more than that. It’s a personality thing. Some people are just more assertive than others. And, if it hadn’t been for that bitchy test that gave me some confidence, I probably wouldn’t have even replied like that at all.
I felt like I should have taken my other co-worker’s advice and come down harder on the bailer, but that’s not me. I didn’t fully let her get away with it but I also moved on (or will move on after finishing this blog post).
If we’re going to stand up for ourselves, or for what we are doing, we have to do it, whether it’s at work or in line to get coffee. If something rubs you the wrong way, act on it the way you feel comfortable doing.
And remember what kind of bitchy you are.