We are some opinionated bitches. I am just going to put that out there. Some mornings I walk into the office and there’s a heated debate about the ending of last night’s episode of “Girls” or something President Obama said before I’ve even turned my laptop on. We’re constantly talking, debating, and arguing with each other during the work day; our nights and weekends are filled with emails flying back and forth. Gentlewomen of softer stock might find it a little overwhelming.
But still, each woman on staff has worked here for years. Amelia is the founding editor and has been here since the beginning. I came along about eight months later. Then came Ami, Julie, Winona, and one-and-a-half-years-ago, Rachel. We all spend so much time together inside our New York City offices and know each other’s back stories so well that several of us have confessed we feel like we’re all sisters. And yes, that includes Winona, who lives and works remotely from Portland, Oregon. It’s gotten to the point where each of us can see a news story online or a dress in a shop and automatically know which one of us would love it.
There is so much hype in the media about how women are catty mean girl bitches and office places full of women are full of drama. I won’t lie that there isn’t truth to the stereotype of a group of women having more complex and intense emotions than a co-ed workplace — yet I see it as a function of us women being so emotionally raw with each other. The simple fact is we work well together because we choose to work well together. So, in the spirit our 5th year anniversary and Bitches Ain’t Crazy Ladiez Be Gettin’ Along, here are our tips for how we make our sisterhood work.
1. We’re all united around the same goal, regardless of our differences. We all want to smart, honest, funny content that women (and men!) love to read. When I asked my Frisky coworkers why they think we work together so well, down to a person everyone said it’s because we all have the same end goal. “The world is a crazy, misogynist fucked-up place, and so we work together to make it better,” wrote Julie. “We are united around the same goal, even if the way we get there may be different.”
2. We’re also united in hatred for the same people. This one is self-explanatory.
3. We collaborate on ideas while still retaining our individuality. The great John DeVore once said to me, regarding The Frisky, “You guys are like a band. You sound good together.” I don’t think John was trying to say none of us could be solo artists. He was just saying that our differences are to be cherished, because we all bring something different to the table. Julie’s obsessed with Morrissey, Rachel is on top of all things Karl Lagerfeld, while I will never not post about pandas. “We share our ideas and work to make them better, knowing that essentially we all have the same end point,” Julie wrote. Successfully working on a group blog is not about becoming more like each other. It’s about retaining our individuality, the special thing we bring to the table.
4. We let things go. I can only speak for myself here, but I would say it was hugely liberating to learn how to not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I used to get pissed and stay pissed. Then I asked myself whether I really wanted to tarnish a relationship that I’d had for a year or three over one relatively minor thing. I still have a long memory, which I think is just a function of being a sensitive person, but it makes for a much-happier workplace environment to look at big picture happiness instead of little picture annoyances. “Giving people the benefit of the doubt is something I think it paramount in all relationships, from romantic ones to familial to friendship to those in the workplace,” wrote Amelia.
5. We take joy in each other’s success, both professional and personal. When something good happens to one of us — a published article in a magazine, a new boyfriend — the rest of us our genuinely happy for each other. That is particularly true in the workplace and how effusive we are in supporting each other’s work. ”I love how everyone is always rooting for each other. The Frisky is not a competitive place to work, but we all still push ourselves really hard and celebrate each other’s successes,” wrote Winona. “When a post goes viral I’m genuinely excited about it, no matter who wrote it, because I know it’s good for the site.”
6. We let people have their off-days. Or off-weeks. Sometimes people have bad days. There’s family drama, yeast infections, and bills that need to be paid. Part of working on a successful team is giving people a wide berth when they need it and understanding that next week it might be you. A lot of more serious shit has gone down in these past couple of years, too. A couple of us lost parents and grandparents. A couple of us had crazy-ass breakups. It’s good to know we’ve got a net underneath us.
7. We own headphones. Not even joking about this one. How did people ever get any work done before you could plug things in your ears? Half the time I’m not even listening to any music, it’s just the tuned-out feeling that I enjoy.
The only thing that could make working at The Frisky better would be if Winona [And Lucca! -- Amelia] were here every day, so we didn’t have to Photoshop her pretty face into our group Photos. (And I know Amelia is going to edit in “and Lucca!”, because I know how she thinks. [Whoa. -- Amelia])
Do you work in an all-female environment? What’s your experience been like?
Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.