When everything else falls away, you can bet, Karen will be there. In a way, we can all learn from Karen. Her tenacious attitude for her clearly inconsequential goals is steadfast and I think we should applaud her for it. We can all take a lesson in dedication.
By Melissa McGavock
Society pokes a lot of fun at Karen, we’ve dismissed her by calling her a controlling and diabolical woman. But, who is Karen? Let’s give her the stage she so desperately wants. Let’s talk about Karen and why we maybe need her more than we think.
Urban Dictionary describes “Karen” as a “middle aged woman, typically blonde, makes solutions to others’ problems an inconvenience to her although she isn’t even remotely affected.” This is a term that has quickly become synonymous with a righteously unruly woman in our culture mostly with the use of funny memes passed around on social media. There is an additional school of thought whose opinion pieces “chronicle the women (Karens) who weaponise their whiteness.” For the purpose of this article, we are not going to explore the racist tone of this millennial term. Honestly, that’s another article entirely and I digress.
Karens are everywhere and we all know of at least one. It may be a stranger’s actions that you briefly witness, or it could be a person in your own household, and the term no doubt describes a person you’ve worked with in the past or customer you’ve helped. In this article, we talk about the worst and best of Karen tendencies.
In my experience, working with Karens can be daunting. In the office, she’s annoyingly punctual. She seems to “show up” everywhere without actually doing anything, but never feels the heat from management because she’s there on time and at every meeting.
Karen furiously attacks mind numbing tasks like note taking during a meeting about the annual potluck.
That time you were 7 min late from your lunch break? She remembers. She has it in her “productivity management” spreadsheet that she updates daily.
Karen abuses the email communication system. Your boss is blindcopied on everything she writes, especially if she opens the email with, “Between you and me,”.
Karen interrupts at the worst time during major presentations obviously threatened by the attention you are getting. Typically, she interjects with ideas that are completely random and off-point throwing the entire meeting off course (which is exactly what she meant to do). The worst part? Your boss loves her ideas and congratulates her.
The one time you need Karen, like when you’re desperately trying to find client information you misplaced, or some such, she has magically lost it. “She can’t fix the internet, she’s sorry this has inconvenienced you so much.” She’ll follow up by assuring your boss that even in her very busy day, she has found a new software for filing information since the team has had so much trouble with organizing themselves. (The software is never purchased or implemented, but that’s not the point. She looks like a proactive hero and you look like a dud.)
Ugh. Karen. Can you hear my eyeroll from here? It’s annoying that she seems to always show up at the worst time with the worst intentions.
However. There is something to be said about showing up. “Show up” is something I talk about with my daughters constantly. Do what you say you’re going to do. I truly believe more opportunities, more respect, and a greater life experience will come your way if you just show up. Friends, co-workers, teachers, and your family should feel like they can depend on you. And many times, even with the greatest intentions, showing up isn’t easy.
Karen shows up. Maybe she’s annoying and seemingly has selfish intentions, but she’s always there. When everything else falls away, you can bet, Karen will be there. In a way, we can all learn from Karen. Her tenacious attitude for her clearly inconsequential goals is steadfast and I think we should applaud her for it. We can take a lesson in dedication.
So here’s to Karen. Way to show up, we could all do better with that.
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