Nurses Eat their Young and Fem Devs do too

I recently learned that there is a saying that pertains to the nursing field which is “Nurses eat their young”. I felt a little silly for never having heard this before, I have nurse friends and nurse family, and Google told me this is a common thing. Young nurses experience hazing or bullying from the older, more experienced nurses working with them. They feel that they had it rough coming up through the ranks and that every new nurse should go through the same.

This topic came up because I was discussing with someone an article I had written about crying in a bathroom and how it’s gotten a lot of interesting feedback. A common shared story with women was that they didn’t only get abused by the men in their workplace. Women were creating hostile work environments with the best of them.

What perpetuates this? I have so many questions.

Do we, as women, do this because we are so tired and defensive on a daily basis that we are trained to fight back at every turn no matter who it is? After an aggravating day filled with condescension and disrespect, I can get a little testy and defensive.

Are there such limited amount of seats for women around the boardroom table, that we have to backstab and claw our way up to get it? Once at the table, we have to bat down the women around us to make sure we are the one sitting at the throne?

Is it something as simple and uncontrollable as our biology and the nature of who we are? I know many women who prefer the company of men compared to women because women can be “catty”, “jealous”, or “territorial”.

Is it personality and the type of woman who makes it to the senior level might be the type of woman who is aggressive, no-nonsense, and willing to abuse others around them? I know certain women who won’t put up with any crap, not from men or women. Maybe this type of person would be aggressive towards everyone and not just females in the workplace.

Also, what does that transition look like? They must have started out as younger, excited developers ready to take on the world. When and why did they decide they wanted to dish it out and not take it? And why are those mutually exclusive? I’m not young, and I’m not old. I still feel excited in the field that I’m working in and can’t imagine a day where I would turn into a fem dev wanting to eat their young.

Finally, is it just the amount of EGO in tech, men or women? Many, if not ALL of the clients I have met with talk about their tech people and how they feel that they were talked down to. That they felt stupid for asking questions because when they did, the programmer used intimidating buzzwords. I really hate hearing situations like this because tech is so necessary to run most businesses. I take pride in my work and would never want to be seen as someone who is taking advantage of a client, or making them feel dumb or uncomfortable.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Why do women put down other women in the workplace?

Women Talking Tech is a Facebook group where women can discuss their websites, digital strategy, social media, programming projects, basically anything tech. No intimidation, no buzzwords, no condescension, just some good, collaborative, help and conversation.

*Note Women Talking Tech is a closed group and once you request access you will be added ASAP.