Penelope Trunk’s latest piece on BNET advises men on what they have to do to be able to compete with women in the workplace. This is based on the today’s reality that females do so much better than males in school these days that some universities have lowered their admission standards for boys, that there are more unemployed men than there are women, and that young single women in their 20s earn more than young men in the same roles.

Penelope gives so much unusual advice (see “How to get promoted” posted 4 April, 2011) that I felt that her latest effort could not pass without comment.

Her solutions for men who want to succeed in her increasingly female dominated business world are as follows:

1. Work for a woman.

Penelope contends that men working for women do better than those that work for men. She also believes that “…Women are more likely to leave a job they are great at to take a break, so you are more likely to have a boss you like AND get the boss’s job if it’s a woman.”

I had always believed that it was only prejudiced men that pushed the theory that women are less dependable than men, as you never know when their hormones will dictate their need to have time off work.

To be even more effective, I would add to her advice that it also helps if the woman you work for is your mother, wife or other close female relative. If this is not an available option you should try hard to find an attractive female boss who is recently married and who is worried about her biological clock ticking away.

2. Put candy in your office.

Penelope describes women as being “ …more chatty, more compassionate and more likely to be team-oriented”, and as “… you can’t turn into a woman …”, you can do the next closest thing which is to look like you exhibit this same behaviour, as putting candy in your office says “I’m friendly. Sit down and talk with me.”

Dum dum pops; via Wikimedia Commons;

However it does suggest that for men who are very ambitious, a sex change operation should not be discounted without some serious consideration of its positive impact on a career, as well as on dental hygiene.

I feel that as well as candy, men wanting to get ahead should also adorn their office with Anne Geddes calendars of photogenic toddlers in pot plants, photos of cute baby animals, and a large collection of cuddly and fluffy toys. This will work particularly well if you are working for a hairdressing company or Karl Lagerfeld.

3. Don’t look at porn at work.

Penelope advises that “… Men who look at porn at work are more likely to subconsciously objectify women at work for the rest of the day …”. Thank goodness that the effects of pornography are only transitory, and will not affect the way that porn-watching men view women once they leave the workplace.

According to Ms. Trunk, it appears that the only reason that you should not look at pornography in the office is that it will make you think of women as sex objects for the rest of the day. To her it seems to be irrelevant that you are watching pornography while you are meant to be actually doing the job that you are being paid for, nor the fact that you are obviously an addicted sleaze-bag, nor the fact that if you are caught using your company PC and company time to surf porn sites means that you will get fired.

4. Don’t hit on the young girl at the office.

Sexy secretary drawing by Dimorsitanos (own work); via Wikimedia Commons

According to Penelope “She gets hit on every day … she thinks you should fix your home life instead of avoiding it with her. So force yourself to keep your secret lusts secret. You look stupid when you confess to a girl half your age …”.

So this means that, in theory, it should be OK for us men to hit on women in the office who are closer to us in age, rather than those significantly younger than we are. We should leave the younger women to be hit on by the younger men, as they will not look foolish in doing so. Being a sexual predator is therefore acceptable in the work place as long as you limit it to your own age group.

5. Hire gay women.

Penelope believes (although she does say that she has no proof) that “… the men I’ve worked with who can work with gay women are a thousand times more competent than men who cannot relate to gay women”.

I have always thought that great managers surrounded themselves with competent, capable, skilled, enthusiastic and passionate people irrespective of their sex, colour, religion or sexual orientation. Now it appears that according to Penelope Trunk, this is incorrect as to be “… a thousand times more competent …” all I need to do is to surround myself with lesbian subordinates.
I have therefore decided that I will start a courier company in Sydney using the local chapter of “Dykes on Bikes”. As this will immediately increase my competence a thousand-fold, it has to be a success. Any of my readers interested in investing in this sure-fire venture please send your bank account details to my Nigerian partner

Dykes on Bikes taken by User:Pretzelpaws; via Wikimedia Commons

I have now realised that Penelope Trunk only writes articles like this to make sure that men waste their time doing things that are totally irrelevant (and destructive) to their career advancement, thereby ensuring that her vision of a female dominated business world becomes a reality. I have therefore decided to give the fluffy toys in my office back to my grand-daughters, despite the fact that I did become attached to the pink rabbit.

By JadziaLover at nl.wikipedia; via Wikimedia Commons



  1. Adriana says:

    I did feel a little sadism in your return to Penelope’s articles. Do you usually return to authors that you dislike, or you had a special “preference” for Penelope in 2011?

    I asked this to learn. I’m always avoiding authors that I once disliked.
    Thank you. Adriana

    • leshayman says:

      Adriana, only when I believe their advice is so bad that it leads people in the wrong directions when it comes to management issues. I see Penelope as handing out the sort of pop-advice that also comes from management pamphlets like “Who moved my cheese”, which is management for people who want to learn it all in a weekend and then go out and take responsibility for other people’s work lives.
      Becoming a good manager takes time and effort, and is a lifelong journey, not a destination, and it sure doesn’t come from the sort of simplistic drivel that comes from self-proclaimed management “gurus” like Penelope. Les

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