As I sit here, enjoying the birds singing and the sun shining on my patio, I wonder if people wonder how and why I chose to leave a “good job.”
It became fairly clear to me early on that climbing the ladder would be difficult for me; far more difficult than the men who were hired straight out of college or promoted to management after their internships. But, I thought of the challenge! I wanted to change both male and female perspectives of women in my workplace early on. Almost nobody saw my resume or my education but the woman who hired me (who became a mentor.) As a result, I was treated just like every woman who worked for this company. I wanted to experience the authentic experience.
There were times (many times), that I fell in line and tried to meet expectations. Only women answered the phone–even if the men were all just watching a football game while working. There were many cookouts and social functions, where only the women cooked. It was fine. I was doing as expected of my gender. Nobody batted an eye and thought of the sexism. If you wanted to be a team player, you needed to know your position on the team.
So….the why. When I learned after 3 promotions that I wasn’t being paid the same as the guys (I was the only female to hold my position), I let it get to me. I let it get to me so much to the point where I was ready to walk. Instead, I confronted my boss, filed a grievance with HR and got a raise. Which was great! But it didn’t change the way women were treated.
It was about 6 months after my successful confrontation that I realized I was not welcome at my workplace, but they could not fire me because I’d made a discrimination complaint.
So, rather than fire me, they just became more stealthy in trying to get me to quit. Someday, I’ll write about all those things that they did. Because of my initial complaint, I knew (because there was no apology, just more money), that they felt I was being over-sensitive, paranoid, hysterical (which we’re often told in the male-dominated workplace,) so I knew future complaints were out of the question, but I hung in there.
I hung in there and saved all that extra money they tried to buy me off with. I continued to kick ass at my job and do the best I could, all the while knowing they wanted me gone. Once I felt I had enough saved, I waited for my breaking point–the point where I’d be belittled or bewildered by my management to just say “no more.” I had no idea when that day would come, but when it did, I was ready.
I’m living on savings. I’m not on welfare or food stamps, but even if I were, isn’t 13 years of paying taxes for this place and putting up with the intense bullshit enough to entitle me a few months getting back my taxes?
But no, I’m too proud and always have been. My integrity is not for sale. I will not sell myself for a paycheck, but I do thank them very much for attempting to buy it. They bought me the power to leave. And afforded me the opportunity to take more time off now than I could after I had my son.
That’s all for now.