Why so defensive?

If your company hired someone for their expertise – say, a software engineer with eighteen to twenty years of experience in their profession – would you be defensive if they knew more about their job than you do, given the fact that you might be a software engineer with say, five years of experience, or a data analyst with two years of post-university work experience, or someone in a different business area, such as a network technician with no programming background?

What’s so threatening about someone knowing their job? I don’t get it.

I’m not threatened when a network technician knows more than I do about the latest server hardware, or routers, or server operating systems.

I’m not threatened when a hydraulic engineer knows more than I do about designing dams and water purification systems.

Heck, I’m not threatened when the guys working at Sears know more than I do about tires or the barista at Starbucks knows more than I do about making coffee drinks. I like it when people are good at their jobs and I don’t have to worry about them providing me with a high-quality result.

Why are people so threatened when I know a lot about my job? Isn’t that what I’m hired for?

I try not to chalk it up to sexism or agism precipitously, but I can’t help but notice that it seems to be a bigger problem with the younger men than with the women my age – or men nearing retirement age, for that matter.

Is a woman with grey hair having gained expertise in her field over decades of hard work really that scary? I try so hard to NOT be a know-it-all or bossy or arrogant, but no matter how hard I try, there are always two or three in any work-group that are so defensive, so competitive, so eager for me to fail that they go out of their way to withhold information, exclude me from meetings, refuse to work collaboratively and in general act like nasty jerks for no reason.

I get so tired of it. So very, very exhausted with the whole charade. It’s as if junior high will never, ever end…a living nightmare that goes on forever…different people, different project, same endless crap.

The one thing that I actually like about not being able to go to work is that I get away from the office pettiness. I have no clue why people are like that. They should be glad that they are not having to pick up the slack because you are not doing your job.