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Mediocre White Bros - help

zzzzzzzzzzz

I'm a young female designer and am finding myself miserable in an office dominated by mediocre white bros who subject me to every imaginable insult to my intelligence and professional capabilities on the daily. When I look into my options for finding a job elsewhere, I find to my dismay that every other office in the area is also run by..... mediocre white bros. What to do?

 
May 3, 15 11:17 pm
toasteroven

start your own office run by mediocre white ladies?

 

this profession is tough for non-white males - you might need to shift markets.  some cities/regions are better than others.  btw - and don't think working for a woman-run office is going to be any better either - you'll be happier in an office that has a more supportive culture - regardless of who it's run by.  you're lucky that you're still young and have a chance to move around a little - especially since things aren't too terrible right now.

May 3, 15 11:46 pm  · 
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Olaf Design Ninja_

but do they play hacky sack?

May 4, 15 6:18 am  · 
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archinet

...try another office, I firmly believe that if you are not in an environment that is using you to your full potential then you should leave asap. Move around until you find the right place. 

In my experience I noticed the more mediocre the work coming out of the office- there are more mediocre white dudes running it....

May 4, 15 6:52 am  · 
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OK, first things first. Scenario A: if you're being subject to gender discrimination or sexual inappropriateness at work, that is unacceptable and you need to find a new job. Document every single instance and get legal representation.

I'm going to take a slightly different tack, though, and present a Scenario B. Think of it as a defense of nice guys.  There are plenty of firms fun by white men, yes, but they are not all bros aka close-minded chauvinist jerks. There might be very boring-appearing firms that are actually supportive and great places to work, because the firm does *not* place a high premium on style, but on substance.  They might not dress all in black and proceed to critique your outfit every day because instead they are focusing energy on making sure they make their clients happy and keep their employees learning and happy, too.

That said, the best firm for work-life balance that I ever experienced had one-third female partners and one-half female associates. 

May 4, 15 8:56 am  · 
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( o Y o )

White guys can't be bros unless they are related. Expecting Garth Brooks to be Tupac Shakur is always going to lead to disappointment. You should try to get a job with Kanye.

May 4, 15 9:05 am  · 
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l3wis

move to a more diverse city

May 4, 15 11:16 am  · 
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Carrera

OP, is this you?

May 4, 15 11:58 am  · 
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x-jla

just pick the biggest one and hit them in the face with a lunch tray.   They wont mess with you any more. I saw it in a prison movie.

May 4, 15 12:02 pm  · 
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shellarchitect

just curious, how much experience do you have and what are they doing/saying?

May 4, 15 12:14 pm  · 
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Carrera

OP, embrace what you have, a job, for now, hold that single flower and smell it every day….start looking for those who water their flowers and reject beds of weeds. This world is a big place, bigger than you think, don’t think “white bros”, because the world really isn’t just black & white, it’s a big garden filled with all form of plants, some beautiful, others evasive & poisonous….just keep walking….but be prepared….for it to take a lifetime, to find YOUR garden.

Good luck from a “White Bro

May 4, 15 12:51 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor

Good its White Bros, they are much more stupid and easy to knock down than Middle Aged White Fogeys.

May 4, 15 1:22 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor

Carrera, are you, in essense just telling the OP to STFU and accept her fate? 

May 4, 15 1:45 pm  · 
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SneakyPete

Jesus H. Christ, the amount of deflection in this thread is disgusting. The OP isn't talking about you, and if you feel butthurt, deal with that feeling for yourself. Attacking the OP in defense of a situation that you have very little factual knowledge about is pathetic. How about helping instead of being assholes?

May 4, 15 2:00 pm  · 
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JLC-1

Maybe if we knew a couple of facts, like what is an insult to the OP intelligence or what are her professional capabilities that are being insulted; also, what makes them bros, and ultimately why are they mediocre?. As for being helpful, and not deflective, I would just apply to those offices that are not run by MWB's. (every other in the area, so 50% are not run by MWB) I think it's a good number, but I would look into the mediocrity ranking, maybe the options are closer to 10% or even 1%.

May 4, 15 2:16 pm  · 
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Sorrowful Giuseppe

What for?

May 4, 15 2:26 pm  · 
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Carrera

Doctor - NO – I said “for now”, today, to accept the one good part and build upon it. You know, it doesn’t help anything to blame somebody else for your lot….people need to get away from the idea of “if I could only change you, then I could be happy”….it just doesn’t work that way….the OP has just hit the trail and needs to keep walking, that’s all.

May 4, 15 2:52 pm  · 
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curtkram

sneakypete has a ?


 

May 4, 15 3:06 pm  · 
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Alternative

Maybe stop blaming others for your shortcomings, for starters!

May 4, 15 3:11 pm  · 
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archanonymous

Short term - learn what you can from then while trying to stay positive.

 

Long term - plan the complete overthrow of this corrupt straight, white, protestant male dominated system and the summary execution of all involved and complicit in it.

May 4, 15 7:42 pm  · 
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snooker-doodle-dandy

"Fun By White Men"....Donna I think you just nailed the next best Band Name!

I used to work with an oriental woman who had the name Carol.....when people called the office they expected to be talking to a Man....figured she was just a female administrative employee.  I heard her set them straight on more than one once. 

Women belong in Architecture...and keep in mind they have been here for awhile.  So if your treated poorly I would say look at moving on.  Just be sure to let the Partners know in the exit interview why you are moving on.  It might be the only way to change the Culture.  If Partners see talent walking...they will sooner or later wake up.  They need  the talent, someone they can grow because someday they are going to want and out....and the best out is have the next generation take over in an office.

May 4, 15 7:55 pm  · 
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Olaf Design Ninja_

general observation though.....by 'white bros' i assume fraternity like? what 'white bros' tend to do is insult each other constantly. being a white bro but not a frat member ever (i invent frats, i do not join them) i can tell you if i insult you i actually like you. this is how it works in 'white bro' world. remember that NFL bull shit that got the media's panties in a bind, well that was common 'bro' behavior (note how i took white out). you do not have to be white only to be a bro.............instead of hugs, you punch each other. instead of congratulations, you say "you still suck"................this is where all this non-sense gets funny.............. so a bunch of non-bros want to get into the bro circle. so they do, and then all of a sudden every routine insult is personal. didn't you want equal opportunity and equal rights? well here go this is bro behavior, comes wih bro world. should bros change? we do not, but we often get tamed........who knows OP, if you swing back you may find your future husband that behaves like he ia 12 years old or Peter Griffin.

May 4, 15 9:03 pm  · 
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Would the response have been different if someone posted about a firm run by mediocre black guys ... ?

May 4, 15 9:13 pm  · 
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Olaf Design Ninja_

mediocre white chicks? ...........another punk band name.

May 4, 15 9:23 pm  · 
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Olaf Design Ninja_

listen girl - the first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club...........sheez, you let some girl in and the whole thing goes down in flames via twitter and facebook.

May 4, 15 9:34 pm  · 
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davvid

Look at these ridiculous responses to a legitimate observation. We all know what she means. Architecture-culture in the US (perhaps its different elsewhere) is overflowing with bros, and they are almost always white.

It is changing slowly but I think we need more women, ethnic/racial minorities, sexual minorities, religious minorities, as well as more people from low-income/working-class backgrounds to start their own firms in the US and practice architecture in ways that challenge the established modes of operation. It is happening here and there already but it needs to move faster. 

PIN-UP Magazine is a godsend!

May 5, 15 1:49 am  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

The white bros culture is the worst. Time to start dropping Andrea Dworkin, she's so damn punk, on their desks.

"Only when manhood is dead - and it will perish when ravaged femininity no longer sustains it - only then will we know what it is to be free."

"Men know everything - all of them - all the time - no matter how stupid or inexperienced or arrogant or ignorant they are."

"Male supremacy is fused into the language, so that every sentence both heralds and affirms it."

Oh, and pin these quotes up in your cubicle.

May 5, 15 6:32 am  · 
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Olaf Design Ninja_

beta, for these reasons the secret societies must be maintained!

May 5, 15 8:09 am  · 
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Anob

@Miles Jaffe

I'm a mediocre black guy and the response would mostly likely be different because everyone would treat the post more seriously which they should or no one would probably commented because there aren't as many black male architects in one place as there are white male architects.

Watch this Louis C.K. standup. Start at 1:20:00. very funny

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6va7JGFQ9k

@zzzzzzzzz

The only thing I can say is obtain as much knowledge and leave. I started at a firm where 90% were women and I was treated badly. I almost quit because it. So its not only guys that treat women badly but it can also be revered. The video kinda explains that in a funny way

May 6, 15 6:33 pm  · 
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x-jla

mediocre white bros. are capable of extraordinary things if they are drunk.  I saw a mediocre white bro. belly flop into a puddle with the encouragent of his bros.  

May 6, 15 10:31 pm  · 
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x-jla

certainly not a mediocre stunt...

May 6, 15 10:32 pm  · 
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boy in a well

non-mediocre white boys

May 7, 15 12:06 am  · 
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no_form
OP should send resume to T.I. He don't want no mediocre.
May 7, 15 9:50 am  · 
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BR.TN

where are all you guys finding these "white bros" in architecture?

the term "white bro" is inaccurate to define these people you're talking about...

PSA: "white bro" is synonymous to "frat bro", FYI, and a frat bros don't even go to design school in the first place...

white bros don't really exist in the architectural world because they are told by their parents that architects dont make a good living. this is counterintuitive to the cornerstone belief of white bros that "money buys happiness" - nearly all of them go into sales or finance (and have a miserable time doing it). secondly, white bros think visual art is immasculine, so therefore they think they are less of a man for going into a creative field like architecture, which is why they dont.

Personally, the closest thing to a "white bro" that I find in this industry is the overtly-expressive hipster and/or passive-aggressive hipster with an effeminate lisp, who feel entitled about their dismal display of creativity after holding a design degree, and assume they're more intellectual than their peers because they don't go out to bars on the weekends. then they repost shit on Buzzfeed to their facebooks...they live sad lives.

...

none of this solves your problem, but its annoying to see people describing arrogant, ignorant, and stubborn white males as "white bros" when "white bros" are really just immature frat bros who think its cool to have as many one-night stands as they can in order to brag about it to their friends, while definitely calling the girl a "slam-piece".

to solve your problem, just listen to some of the others in this thread

May 7, 15 11:41 am  · 
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rationalist

BR.TN, I think I was similarly confused by the term. I don't think I'd describe anyone I've ever worked with in architecture as a "bro," white or otherwise. As you say, it's just not a type of personality that's attracted to this industry. 

zzzzzzzzz, I'd strongly encourage you to more clearly identify the specific problems you're having. Though I'd be curious what they are, this is primarily an exercise for you. By defining the problems, you can more clearly define solutions. Possibly you're letting race or sex cloud your estimation of talents and personality, and you'll be able to see there is in fact a place that would be better for you. Or, if you are truly stuck in this white bro world, getting clear about your problems with that is the first step towards trying to solve some of them from within. However, if you're just bitter about their entitlement (which believe me, I get it!) and don't have any functional problems, then it's on you to find a more productive viewpoint to adopt on this issue, because the bitterness will only hold you back. 

May 7, 15 12:21 pm  · 
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x-jla

Dont judge a book

May 7, 15 12:46 pm  · 
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davvid

I've worked with plenty of "bros". They come in several varieties. 

Its not always easy to describe subtle aspects of culture. We can probably get more and more specific about it, but lets not pretend that the phenomenon doesn't exist just because its hard to describe. 

I remember a friend who complained about his job at a small architecture firm in Upstate NY partly because it was filled with 20-30 something white males who shared a very crass / chauvinistic sense of humor. 

May 7, 15 12:53 pm  · 
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flatroof

This being Archinect, many here probably come from a handful of top schools or run in circles where the bro clique is non-existent. Party schools like Auburn, UF, and ASU have architecture schools too and I am sure there are plenty of arch majors broin' down at these and many other schools. Architecture is still seen by most as a practical major regardless of its artsy fartsy inclinations or crappy job prospects, so the bros are there, just at state school.

May 7, 15 1:05 pm  · 
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BR.TN

flatroof, I'm as close to a bro as they get in architecture. I come from a long lineage of country club memberships, genetic athleticism, and sperry topsiders. I went to a BIG 10 school for architecture. I can tell you that those architecture students at these southern party schools lament their "party-school" reputation, just like they did at my school in the BIG 10. I will admit there has to be at least one douchey frat bro in the country studying architecture, and I will admit there is at least one white bro architect licensed in the AIA (and maybe one of them is managing the OP's career here...), just for the sake of being a devil's advocate with this. I can't speak for the entirety of their student body but I can assure you that I'm making a very educated guess with this and I would think most of the younger users here agree.

Whatever, this is all semantics anyways...

May 7, 15 1:13 pm  · 
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rationalist

I guess I was not trying to make a semantic argument—I'm trying to say that if the OP stops generalizing and figures out what her specific problems are, she'll have a better time solving them. 

Another thought about her future at her (or any other) firm: my line has tended to be, if all these problems that rub me the wrong way on a day to day basis were somehow fixed, would I be doing the work that I want to do here? If the answer to that is "no," then cut and run. There's no point in trying to fix it or get a leg up or whatever, this is fundamentally not a good situation for you. However, if the answer is "yes," then stick it out and try to solve the specific problems you have.

May 7, 15 1:46 pm  · 
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davvid

BR.TN, No offense but one of the traits that I often associate with "bro"-types is their lack of awareness. If you are "as close to a bro as they get", that could be why you are having trouble recognizing the behavior in others. In my bro-ier moments, I will hear myself relying too much on assumptions and reveling a little too much in my own point of view. Thats why its important to have people like zzzzzzzzzzz in an office. 

May 7, 15 2:16 pm  · 
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BR.TN

davvid, no offense taken but rather: thank you for the enlightenment

May 7, 15 2:25 pm  · 
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katscan

I wish this thread was taken more seriously. I recently noticed that all the white males at my firm with 6-8 yrs of experience are "job captains".  All the white females 6-8 years of experience are "designers" (almost everyone is white).  

May 7, 15 3:33 pm  · 
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no_form
To the original OP the answer is simple. Start looking for a new job. But as a culture, architecture has always been an old boys club. It's not fair or right. This is a social justice question. In my opinion, choose your battles carefully. It sounds like the best course of action is to gain experience and quickly move on. If your safety is at risk you should go directly to the owner of the company. If you are being harassed in any way you should also report that. I did myself and I'm not a woman.
May 7, 15 7:14 pm  · 
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tintt

Just poppin' in to say that pretty much the whole world is run by mediocre white bros. However, there are precious little pockets that aren't, look for one or make one. 

(The OP hasn't come back to comment, answer questions, maybe this thread is just to troll? Or did the bros do her in?)

May 7, 15 7:19 pm  · 
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zzzzzzzzzzz

here I am, no not trolling just busy drafting e-mails for my bro leaders and stuff. wow, popular thread. let's see, donna, no it's definitely scenario A i always appreciate a good nice guy and the non-stylish clothing is a plus. the issues are just the usual aggressive disrespect. junior staff is frequently interrupted throughout the day and demanded to explain ourselves and hand over progress on assignments that we were usually never even given, or aware of at all, in the first place - the junior men usually yell back and then this weird mutual bro respect thing happens. they look each other in the eyes and smile slightly, then pat each other on the back while the senior staff sort of halfway apologizes for yelling, pretty soon that daring junior staff guy is given more projects and responsibilities and also ends up hanging out at the bars with senior staff. they are praised for being "snarky" and "badasses." on the other hand, when women try to respond we are interrupted immediately with other shouted questions or my favorite "i don't care!!" and then left standing there as the senior staff member storms out of the office. i made the mistake of trying to answer back in an assertive way a few times early on and now i am rarely spoken to and my projects are basically busywork, and no not even CAD drafting which i would gladly do. for some reason one of the other women has been designated the phone answerer and she probably spends half her time now just doing that all day. another left with no notice. any woman is a "girl" in conversations, eg "yeah that girl worked at x for awhile, now she's at y, but she has some competence issues." people of color are either "unprofessional", "condescending," or a joke and almost everyone is white. one of the main partners seems to justify all of this by posing as one of those quirky genius architect guys who says the phrase "design matters" a lot in lectures - hence the mediocre thing. i could go on.... none of this stuff is probably news though or even remarkable given the context of this field.

also thanks for the bro belly-flopping in a puddle story, definitely included that in one of my daily re-drafts of my fantasy letter of resignation.

May 8, 15 12:56 am  · 
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Olaf Design Ninja_

Office Space (1999) the movie?..............................the following will probably offend a lot of people, at least clueless PC types, but poster what if your responses are "wrong" vs the white bros? women do care about very different things and as i often tell my wife - all the wrong things. i am not suprised a male senior may say "i don't care", because in male mind what you may be asserting does not matter...............does it matter if Navy Seals cooridnate the correct finger nail polish?.................the firm may be successful for all the reasons you do not like so i think a change is best, but it sounds like the options are limited in your region?

May 8, 15 7:40 am  · 
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curtkram

women do care about very different things and as i often tell my wife - all the wrong things.

you mean stuff like their careers?  zzzz's little sister could come up with a better response (that's my white bro ribbing).  anyway, a person who refers to another person with the title "girl" should be referred to conversationally from that point on as 'bitch.'  for example, supervisor says "put on some coffee girl," it would be acceptable in 'bro culture' for said "girl" to respond with "paint my toenails bitch"

May 8, 15 9:14 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

Z^10, where is this office of yours located?

My office's senior associate pool is composed of 2 women and 4 men. The rest of the staff breakdown is almost 50/50 but perhaps that is because we run a large int-des department.

May 8, 15 9:39 am  · 
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midlander

Is there anyone at all in the office you can talk to privately and discuss your concerns?

What you're describing while no doubt real and uncomfortable doesn't sound so much like discrimination as much as simply a camaraderie which you are not a part of. I'm not sure I'd want to work there either and I'm a (potentially mediocre) white male - but this kind of sounds more like a mismatch of office culture to me.

It would be best if you could get some perspective on it from someone there who knows you and could help you figure out how to acheive your career goals without struggling to fit into a culture you don't like.

In the long run it sounds like you'll want to find somewhere with a more professionally distant culture where you don't need to pretend to be friends to work well with coworkers. I can promise there are many firms less fratty than what you've described, and most of the good firms make a serious effort to cultivate an open culture that's comfortable and inviting for new employees.

May 8, 15 9:51 am  · 
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