This one time? At my old job, I just went ahead and reported my sexist boss to HR. While talking to HR, I explained some of the things my boss had said and done.For reference, this was after about 9 years with this company and about 1 with this particular boss.
Granted, I’d been slammed and pushed down for years at that point, but I kept going! I had something to prove.
It didn’t quite all come together until I started equating race to gender–some may say crazy, but that’s how I talked to myself. If I were a non-white man and this were happening to me, would they do something? So, I began thinking that way.
I was a lowly female that worked my ass off to be where I was, and yes, I’d generally told my bosses what I’d felt and seen. Some promoted me. Many respected me and yeah, I was promoted. So I thought, woohoo! They want to change.
What happened when they made a man (who was incredibly smart, but knew nothing of me and thought women belonged at home?) my boss?
Here’s what happened.
I went along and continued to do what was best for my company. He brought me to meeting after meeting with my contacts.
Then, when he had all the contacts and all the power, he hired someone to help me. I asked for the help! I was doing 168 contacts a month! I was working on vacations and working at night to “prove myself.”
Did my boss say, “damn, she’s good?”
Did my boss say, “she’s a huge asset?”
He used me until he didn’t need me and then began forcing me out. Quitting a job I loved wasn’t easy. Having to fight years and years to be treated like a full human being was more than I could handle. I did fight.
I found out the guys I worked with (I was the only woman to ever hold my position, FYI), but I found out they didn’t work nearly as hard and still made more money. I put up with it. I was a chick that had been taught I must work harder, know more, and simply be grateful for the opportunity.
My boss laughed at my travel and sent the guy he hired “to help me” everywhere my presence had been requested. I asked for a smart phone and was quizzed as to why I’d ever need one and the guy he hired “to help me” got the last smart phone of the last guy that quit because he couldn’t handle my job. I asked for one just to keep up with emails. He laughed.
There I was! Trying to do what I’d always done to protect the company. There I was, with a manager that couldn’t see I had any value. I bitched. I bitched and moaned and called a lawyer, the EEOC and the labor department. I wanted to keep my job. While I was told I could sue. Over 8 years, I had enough for a federal suit, I said “no.” There were too many good people there and only one that made me be the secretary for the rest of his staff. I thought I took the high road.
Here’s what happened. I met with HR, and without bringing handwritten documentation, I just told them what it had been like as a woman working in this male-centric job I just stumbled into. They listened, took notes, escalated to CFO and CEO. I knew it was over. I began looking for new jobs and collecting references. I knew even though I’d done the right thing and gone through the right channels, I’d be an even bigger target for my boss now.
I was. He was found in the wrong. I was given back pay and bonuses, a raise, smart phone and travel privileges. He was sentenced to communication classes and a new boss.
I thought I’d won. I did a good thing. Not only did I make it better for me, but I made it better fit those after me. I was proud. I went from ready to walk out to ready to take on the sexism. It was a wonderful place to be. And relations with my boss got better! For about 6 months. He was on the hot seat, and he hated it, but did and said what was necessary to keep his job.
I tried like hell to believe him; to take him at his word. I tried to believe the company wanted me to stay because I made them lots of money, but more so, hopefully because I had the integrity to do things right–to not sue them, to work it out.
After those 6 months, my boss got trickier. Rather than blatantly sabotage me, he’d ignore me. Rather than give me written proof of his disdain for me, he took away half my work load.
Rather than confront me (and quite possibly get his ass handed to him by a woman), he pushed me out. He made sure I had nothing to do and nothing to report. So, it fell on me.
I got it. The writing was on the wall and when the last straw came, rather than asking me to stay at the job I’d been at for 13 years, he simply, enthusiastically asked, “so you’re resigning?”
After about an hour of “I don’t want to, but why shouldn’t I” to the happy, “so, you’re resigning?” I did.
While maybe this is a sad story to you, please understand that I had an exit interview. It lasted an hour and a half. Most last 20 minutes.
But that company (and that boss), are now hell bent on proving they support equality.
I’ll delete this soon,but it’ll be on my blog, http://www.stuffnobodysays.com
Hopefully, it will be edited then too. 🙂