Working with women: 6 things I've learned


Last year after recovering from the deep shock to my system that starting work at Mamamia induced (it’s an office full of huggers, there was always going to be an adjustment period) I wrote a post about the things I’ve learned working for a women’s website.


1. Women can sustain multiple conversations at once.

I work in a room with three women around me who have been known, on occasion, to maintain conversations over Twitter, phone and in person. Simultaneously. It’s like working at the stock exchange just before close. Not only can they do this but they can also remember what was being said, with a degree of smugness that is admittedly earned. In the rare moments when I am distracted by cleverly captioned dinosaur pictures on the Internet I can never remember the slice of conversation I missed. Indeed, sometimes I wake up several hours later on the side of the road wondering what happened.

2. They can also talk about anything. Anything.

That’s actually the whole point of Mamamia, the fact that we can talk about anything and everything without ever being too serious or too flippant. But even I was surprised after I first started, having put the finishing touches on my Libya cheat sheet to find we were also posting about the Great Wall of Vagina. On the same day. Apart from staring at a litany of vagina post-its on our planning wall, this is remarkably OK.

3. The MM crew have memories like elephants.

Seriously. “Oh Rick, do you remember 18 Wednesdays ago and you said you’d write this piece? No? It was about 10.37am in the morning and you were wearing a pink tie at a 35 degree lean. It clashed with everything you were wearing. Yeah, that one!” Don’t be fooled by the apparent lack of consciousness when you’re talking to them. That’s just because they are busy carving out neural pathways so they can remember every tiny detail about what you just said so it can be used against you in the future. They really should have read me my Miranda Rights when I started here. I have the right to remain silent, but anything I say can and will be used…

4. (Most) women have no personal boundaries.

They say sharing is caring. Which is all well and good if you have a sultana bun and your co-worker is hungry, but not so good if they’re discussing somebody’s sex life with all the forensic class of a romance-less anthropologist. This is the kind of information they share with each other and so, rightly or wrongly, they demand it of me. “Do you have a boyfriend Rick? Why do you not have a boyfriend Rick? When was the last time you had a boyfriend? Why is the sky blue? Why are you never allowed to go back to that zoo again?”

I’d prefer to just talk about Syria, to be frank.

Phew. None of that has changed!

But I’ve learned some other things too.

5. I have almost (almost) learned to love tangents. An editorial meeting here can start out planning the day and end up with Mia on Google showing us a weird image search she’d stumbled on to the night before. Our editorial meetings can end up resembling Drunk YouTube night at a college party, but I’ve learned to accept that.

6. The people that bring you Mamamia are the best. They are bonkers. They are quirky. They are stupidly aware of what makes a good conversation. They work hard. Hard. And I have learned a decade’s worth of knowledge from them in little more than a year.

So the thing is, I’m leaving. Barricade your hearts, fortify your emotions. This is going to be as hard for me as that time I had to let the magpie go back into the wild even though I’d named him and there was a stiff breeze.

I’ve decided to go back to my roots and have taken a new job … which I’m unable to announce publicly yet! Safe to say I’m beyond excited and particularly looking forward to the break I will get between now and July.

I’m going to take the longest holiday I’ve had since I started full-time work at the age of 17 (three weeks!) and do what approximately 1.25 billion other people in the world are doing: write some more of a book.

I will miss these colourful halls, but a new adventure awaits.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

In the extremely unlikely event that you wish to keep in touch with Rick, you can follow him on Twitter here or find him on Instagram (rickofawesome) where he posts pictures of silly and insignificant things.

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