“I want to say a little something that’s long overdue. The disrespect to women has got be through. To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends I want to offer my love and respect to the end.” ~Beastie Boys, Sure Shot
I’ve been in the workforce for quite some time. For the most part, my experiences have been positive. At one point in my career I found myself working in a bit of a boys club. At first I didn’t think anything of it. Half my friends are dudes. I have brothers. I’m not intimidated or uncomfortable in any shape or form being the only girl in a room. Do I like it? No. Can I handle it? Yes. Nothing compares to being picked on by your older brothers. I have thick skin.
Back to work stuff. I find most people do treat you fairly, focus on your performance and are open to your ideas. However, I have experienced some unfortunate things because I was female from a male colleague. One experience went like this…
- He gave feedback on my work that included smiley faces and (as much as I wanted to pretend otherwise) flirty messaging. I thought…smiley faces? Is he grading my work like a school teacher? Is this the modern version of Way To Go stickers? Is this supposed to make me feel good about myself because it’s doing the opposite…
- He talked to me in a way he didn’t talk to his male counterparts. The communication wasn’t professional so much as…you look nice today…I like your hair.
- He questioned all of the data and information I provided for projects. He only ran with my ideas when another male counterpart backed me up. Then he would say, “Oh. That’s probably annoying that I am always questioning you.” I confirmed it was annoying. He would apologize. Then he would immediately question my data for the next project. He would follow up with, “Oh man. I can’t believe it. There I go again!” (I couldn’t believe this dude either.)
- One time I held him accountable for his portion of a project, and he responded by calling me mean (followed by a smiley face)…you know…like he does all of his male counterparts…
- When I ignored the name calling and held firm in my position, he tried a new approach of feigning respect. He respected me SO much that he hoped I started to get tough on everyone. IN FACT, you know what? You guys should make it a new goal to have someone call him and say, “You know what? She’s kind of a bitch.” Then he would know you really rattled some cages and put the hammer down on someone. (I was as confused as you are about this conversation. Why do I want people calling me a bitch? Rattle cages? Dude. I just need you to get your shit in on time!)
- It became clear this dude wanted to sleep with me. (It took me a minute, but I caught on.) What year is it?
Did these things happen over the course of my time at that job? No. This was just a snapshot of four days with this person. Should I have reported him? Probably. I didn’t. Being older and wiser, this won’t happen again.
There’s a saying by Martin Luther King Jr. that I love. It goes: Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. I fully believe this to be true. There’s also a saying that goes: Without stupid people, we would have nothing to laugh at. I think that’s how that one goes. I don’t know who said that one. I laughed a lot at that job.
My initial reaction to being treated unfairly because of my gender is anger. It’s immediately followed up by being happy I’m not that ignorant. This experience wasn’t the first and, sad to say, won’t be the last. He will get his one day. Karma is a bitch. (I don’t know who said that one either.) Speaking of bitches, who was really being “kind of a bitch”, here?
Tip: Fellas. Unless you’re a teenager, do not use emojis when flirting with women. You look ridiculous.