649 words • 2~4 min read

Are you suffering from FOBLAB?

Warning: The following blog post contains some language that is NSWF. 

You are sat at a table of professionals within your field and they are discussing a topic you are very experienced with.  The group keeps mentioning common beginner errors that you could easily correct, but you don’t.  You sit quietly and sip your coffee.

You are leading a team during a monumental task and one team member is not fulfilling their requirements.  You remind that person to complete their duties, but when they consistently do not, you finish their work after hours.  At the end of the task, your team receives accolades and awards, but you are reprimanded for being ‘too soft’ on the one team member.  You do not volunteer to lead any more projects.

You are leading a team during a monumental task and one team member is not fulfilling their requirements.  You remind that person to complete their duties, but when they consistently do not, you replace that team member with someone who does complete the work.  At the end of the task, your team receives accolades and awards, but you are reprimanded for being ‘too hard’ on the one team member.  You do not volunteer to lead any more projects.

Do these stories sound like you?  You may be suffering from FOBLAB, Fear Of Being Labelled A B*tch.

FOBLAB is a widespread condition that affects all genders, but research shows it disproportionally impacts women in careers dominated by men.  Chronic FOBLAB results in being overlooked by colleagues for promotions or collaborations, persistent unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and eventual career change.  Symptoms of FOBLAB are commonly mistaken with W.D.Ted (What Do They Even Do) syndrome.

There is hope.  FOBLAB can be cured, but only if treated by colleagues and – especially – superiors at the onset.  If you see someone suffering from FOBLAB, follow these steps:

  1. Do not refer to them as a b*tch or other common versions i.e. ‘ballbus*er’, ‘abras*ve’, etc.
  2. Do not let other people refer to them as a b*tch
  3. Expect them to act with authority, especially when they are actually the authority
  4. Expect them to give valuable advice on topics they are experienced with
  5. Expect them to act as team leaders, especially when leading a team
  6. Expect them to succeed

If you are currently suffering from FOBLAB, find mentors that encourage you to Behave Like A Boss.  Most BLABers are on twitter.