Dora and the troll under the bridge in the workplace

Dora and that troll under the bridge


Dora the Explorer is a cartoon that centers around a Hispanic American girl named Dora, who is constantly on a quest accompanied by her talking purple backpack and anthropomorphic monkey named Boots. Dora the explorer is an empowering toddler cartoon meant to increase bilingualism (bits of Spanish are thrown in throughout each episode), foster girl power and self-efficacy (she explores the world) and heighten problem-solving skills (she has a backpack filled with tools that she must figure out when to use).   All around it is a great cartoon for a two year old or so. It even won a Peabody Award in 2003 for making learning a pleasurable experience. Yah for that! I used to watch the cartoon with my son and now it is a long forgotten memory for him. I still remember it with a grand twitch partly due to that annoying theme song that exclaims “we did it.” The other reason I twitch greatly at that cartoon is because of the troll under the bridge.

Dora in all her happiness and accomplishments, must often encounter a “Grumpy Old Troll” dwelling beneath a bridge that Dora must cross, who challenges her with a riddle before permitting her to pass on through. I twitch at such a scene because I wonder how many people, women specifically, in the work field have such a troll waiting for them under a bridge?

I have encountered many trolls in my work field. These trolls are individuals that are often times shaped like trolls who just either stand in your way or are just generally unhelpful or even mean. In Old Norse mythology congregate in isolated rocks, mountains, or caves, and are rarely helpful to human beings. Admit it, you have encountered a few trolls in your day.

I have found that they are like little gnats filtering about pretending to be your friend and at the first chance they get, they become your way of life, being and overall work product.

Imagine you used to know this somebody who was supposedly your biggest fan or so he told you every day.   Such effusiveness is obviously not to be readily believed. Imagine that he claimed that he wanted you to get far and wanted nothing but the best for you. Of course, he did. For when you did do well, he looked great. Your greatness was another adornment for him to sport, just like his fancy suit lapels. He could implicitly and at times explicitly take credit for your awesomeness. Sadly, instead of truly being happy for your great achievements, he was more like a troll waiting for you to try to cross some grand life/career bridge. He was just waiting under the bridge to derail you and when he couldn’t he lashed out building you up as an enemy in his mind.

I suppose it’s a great thing that Dora the Explorer always outwits the troll under the bridge. If only life were that easy. Some trolls just manage to pop up everywhere with no rhyme or reason. And it is not as simple as answering a silly challenge and moving on. These trolls having staying power and they manage to cultivate a network of trolls and troll-admirers who fall under their evil spell. This truly happens. I kid you not. In such instances we could all use feces-throwing monkeys. I think that will be the lesson that I take from Dora the Explorer.

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