May 30, 2007, 8:02 PM UTC

A reader from Michigan writes:

I work in a University department that is 95% women (as I am as well). Most of the management are Boomers or slightly older. Many are quite accomplished: Ph.D level etc – but if you get a man in the room, over half of them become simpering idiots.

The male employees, though of similar backgrounds, education, work-load etc – always get praised for the smallest tasks and receive 90% of the promotions/pay raises. They are listened to with greater respect and their ideas are treated more seriously – regardless of if the idea is completely ridiculous. The men, for the most part are good coworkers and nice people – but do not work any harder, or in any way excel beyond what women in the department accomplish.

I can’t understand why the Boomer managers, as women, are so resistant to supporting the younger female staff. They act like doting mothers to the men in the department, but are micro-managing, never-satisfied, demanding, competitive harpies to the younger women. If this was the way they had it early in their careers, you’d think they would be more understanding.

We desperately need more female mentors, but attempting to approach one of these types of women for guidance is like bending your neck to the executioner. I’ve worked at a myriad of places, and most follow this pattern. It will be a happy day when the mass-Boomer retirements happen and hopefully the new brood will be more open-minded: not poisoned by early childhoods immersed in the dregs of the 50s.

What do you think? Is this boss crazy?