I have a top 10 list of the Worst Work Women in the World. Linda Tripp hovers right at the top of that list. You remember Linda, don’t you? She befriended a young White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. Monica had the unfortunate experience of becoming a household name after the illicit details of her sexual relationship with then-President Bill Clinton became the stuff of dinner conversations and water cooler gossip all over the world. Linda was 24 years her senior and I’m sure Monica trusted her as a mentor and a guide through what had to be one of the most complex professional quandaries a working woman can go through: a mutual physical attraction with your boss, the President.
Monica should have been able to rely on Tripp. Women should help each other, especially the youngest of us, as we try to make our way through life and work. At 22 years old, Monica was impressionable and 49-year-old Clinton was a charismatic powerful formidable challenge for any young woman.
Linda should have helped her.
But she didn’t.
Instead, she manipulated her. She leveraged her. She earned her trust and then sold her down the river. She urged Monica to keep the infamous semen-stained dress and then recorded their conversations as Monica agonized over her adulterous error in judgment. Monica thought she was talking to a confidant, a mentor. In actuality, she was talking to an enemy in every possible sense of the word.
What should you learn from Linda?
As Madeleine Albright, Former US Secretary of State has famously said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”. Pack light, Linda. Pack light.