[SO WHAT ELSE ... ?]A false sisterhood in the workplace

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[SO WHAT ELSE ... ?]A false sisterhood in the workplace

Working with women is never the same as working with men -- speaking from a woman's point of view. In Korea, women in the work force behave like sisters when they need to know each other better.

Sisters are not exactly what I have in mind when I try to get my work done, after my experience of growing up with sisters only, but sisterhood happens. Among Korean working women, there's no such thing as "Yes, ma'am!" -- with professional, sincere respect -- as "Yes, sir!" is used for men. Upon greeting, you're expected to take a female-oriented identity -- "Big Sister" or "Little Sister" -- not a professional one. If you fail to form that psychological sisterhood early, you just become "That Girl."

Your female colleague may call you by an all-too-friendly nickname or "eonni" (sister), but in reality she treats you as if she sees right through you, putting herself above you.

Some wanna-be cool women decide to behave like men, so they begin calling female colleagues "Big Brother" or "Little Brother." The problem: it's only lip service to disguise the problem.

Any comments? E-mail me at inescho@joongang.co.kr
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