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Kitty Party Culture In Some Indian Startups Needs To Stop

We often get so lost in blaming men at workplace that we don't realise women we work with could make it difficult for other women to grow.

We often get so lost in blaming men in the workplace that we don’t realise that women we work with could make it difficult for other women to grow.

It is absolute amazing to even myself, that I am penning down my experience with a mobile app testing startup in Bangalore. For ethical purposes, I will not reveal the name of the company. Though I would not have received the same courtesy from them. But being true to my own values, let me tell the story without a corporate name.

After months of search for a job during the pandemic, I landed an opportunity via a trusted friend. After all my research, I decided to go ahead with the process of recruitment in this start up.  Ultimately I landed the job despite taking an immense hit in my CTC, but I was satisfied that I had the opportunity to work remotely. So that made up in someway for the financial deficit.

As it goes in any new role, you take time to adjust to the company, culture, team, profile and in general everything that comes with it. Of course, same goes for the employer as well. But the intensity of adjustment is always more dire for the new recruit.

Women superiors can make or break careers

In my five years of experience in the workforce,  I have dabbled with various marketing roles. Across different types of companies, with national presence, MNCs , freelancing agencies and now a startup. Each experience was one of a kind and truly each role had its own challenges and rewards.

But unfortunately the experience I had with this startup is what teenage chick flicks are made of. I actually felt like I was a character in the movie Mean Girls. That of the protagonist, who has all the talent and good intent in the world, yet is dampened by a group of ungrateful and insensitive girls.

The real reason I want to share my story is because we often get so lost in blaming men in the workplace- but we don’t realise that our life can actually be made immensely miserable by the women we work with. Honestly, I want to draw the curtains and show the real face of the so called supportive female superior who actually holds the reins to make or break your position in the company.

Empathy of women led team- truth or myth?

For the period of three months with this startup, I spent time in learning and giving my best. In return, I was given no support, context, resources or communication. Further I was made the target of assumptions and accusations.

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A woman led team is often considered to have a lot of empathy and sensitivity. But in my short stint there, all I got was series of situations where I was ghosted by each and every person involved in a project, mails left seen, messages left seen, and calls unanswered. There was a time when I questioned if I am even working here or just sending out communications to a no man’s land.

Companies across the world are being supportive and humane towards employees suffering from Covid and going through hardships. But my worst experience was here occurred while I was lying on a hospital bed and my confirmation was on hold. Instead they sent me a dry unreasonable email and didn’t even have any decency to give me a reason or review. I had to chase my superior for 15 days in my health condition, what a shame! But in return they constantly chased me for deadlines while I was in recovery. So much for the warmth from an all women’s team.

Leaving behind the realm of professionalism

Best is the kitty party culture in this start up. They will go into incognito mode for their convenience, screw up your work by ghosting you, gaslight you into thinking that you are the issue and you need better conditioning or did they mean upbringing, then that is truly crass. And yet they will keep tabs on status updates, viewing everything and seeing everything and yet not replying or talking like a professional.

Ultimately, due to the harrowing conditions I was working in and along with my health I took a call to resign. Especially because a friend pointed out that my exact profile is being scouted for at LinkedIn. The kitty party ladies were already looking for new prey/pet in my place! I believe because I was not in a position to leave my saline and IV in the hospital and open my laptop…who knows!

So what choice did the women of this start up leave me with?

I feel we go through experiences that bring out the best or the worst in us.

I am so grateful that I held my head high and didn’t budge or behave the way I was being treated. I gathered my respect and impeccable professionalism and opened the exit door myself.

Never should we let anyone let us down, be it a man or a woman.

In the tough professional world, it is always hard for a woman to survive. I hope in start ups like these, women lead the way by welcoming others rather than being a cause for further distress in their lives.

I hope these kitty party ladies can sleep at night peacefully with their actions. I wish them good sense so that they develop some ounce of humanity.

Image courtesy : Hannah Busing on Unsplash

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