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Driving home with my box of personal items, I called my parents and sisters to share my indignation. It was the first time I had ever been fired, and I couldn't help but take it personally. Why was I having such difficulty keeping a job?

I began to see a pattern with each position I took. Men are easy to work with -- they're straightforward, and if they're going to attack, you will see it coming. Women are a different story: they have a competitive, catty streak. If you are a woman working with other women, it's not unreasonable to wear armor on your back. But I rarely encounter problems with women my age; all my office enemies have been middle-aged women.

I have never worked in an office without encountering a bitchy old battle-axe who had worked there for over ten years. Perhaps if you have been stuck in a dead-end job for too long and are bitter that your small, miserable life is passing you by, you will resent the effervescence of a young, happy woman. You'll hate the fresh, changing energy she brings to the table, and you'll do your best to squash it. I would advise any jubilant young woman to keep her happiness close to her chest in order to avoid becoming the target of such cronies, but the truth is, for every job I've been driven out of, I have stepped into a better, more prosperous one.

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