The Schoolyard

So, in my field there are several large organizations that will … with much hard work, and even more money … provide you with training and certifications. Big, fancy certifications. Certifications that provide you with acronyms that you can attach to your name on business cards and email signatures. Fun, right?

In discussing my goals with my boss, we got to disecting a recent promotion announcement … figuring out what about the woman who’d been promoted (totally deservedly, lady ROCKS) GOT her that promotion. The announcement kept coming back to classes she’d taken in her time with this company. So, we looked into the classes. 3 required for a certificate, 6 for the full-on certification. 

The goal is to get my full certification by the end of 2013. And my certificate by the end of 2012. Last Wednesday was my first class: Budgeting and Accounting. Oooh, fun. *

I was the 4th to arrive to my class, and sat down to open the book.** Across the table from me were two women … one much older than the other, but clearly trying to appear younger. Ok, there are plently of women like that, right? Each was dressed in a black blazer and many necklaces, and had perfectly manicured nails.

As I sat down, they looked up. I was in a blouse and cardigan combo … no blazer to be found. The younger of the two looked me up and down, and huffed … loudly enough that the entire room could hear her. Then she turned to her friend, and they both started laughing.

Well alright then. Asshats.

Class filled up (about 15-20 men to 6 women … not uncommon in this industry), and we began. It was immediatly clear that while I may be one of the youngest in the room, I was also one of the most knowledgable. I thought nothing more of it than to heave a sigh of relief (I was terrified I was going to know NOTHING) and continue answering questions. I’d made a point to sit directly across the table from the instructor, so I could make eye contact … and as a result, she addressed a lot of quesitons to me. Fancy.

About halfway through, though, I started noticing the same two women, this time glaring at me. When I finally answered which company I work for, the glares got more intense. I attempted to ignore them, and went on doing what I had been doing. But now it was awkward.

WHAT IS IT about women that makes us so catty? Why was it that my clothing/workplace/age/knowledge should be subject to open ridicule? Why should I be made to feel ashamed of my acomplishments? And for that matter, why should the one thing I remember (besides her behavior) about the older woman be that she was trying to look much younger?

It feels like we’re back in high school, and the cliques are at war.

I don’t get it, and I don’t like it. If this continues, it’s shaping up to be a very uncomfortable class.

Do you have experiences like this?


*Please note the scarcasm. I mean, my undying enthusiam.

** Book is a bit of a misnomer. It was a fancy 3-ring binder with the pages shrinkwrapped, hole-punched, and ready to go. That stupid shrinkwrap took AGES to get off. Ugh.

2 Comments to “The Schoolyard”

  1. Oh lady, that totally sucks. I really don’t understand what makes some people so wretched. Insecurity I guess? Were the rest of the people in the class, and the instructor less horrid at least?

  2. What jerkwads! I’m so sorry. I always try to be welcoming and inclusive. I’m sorry people were mean.

    And GO you with the furthering of your career! I’m excited that my internship is allowing me the chance to take a ton of classes and trainings for free.

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