Tag Archives: Workplace

Janey

When I left a job recently to move onto something new, I had to recruit my replacement. I recruited a very competent and experienced young man to take my place (he was the best candidate). I was later told by someone in middle management that the CEO did not like my replacement because “he wasn’t as pretty as me” Whether or not the CEO actually said that (and I honestly doubt he did) what a monumentally stupid thing to say. Insulting for all concerned

Helena

I have a part time job as a temp while I’m at university, and the first time I met the CEO was at the Christmas Lunch. He said ‘Hello, who are you?’ I told him my name and said ‘I’m a temp for marketing,’ to which he replied ‘oh no no, I think you’ll be an intern. It sounds sexier.’ It hadn’t even occurred to him that that’s not part of my job description, and that it would make me very uncomfortable; he didn’t see anything wrong with it at all. Fortunately I was quickly reassured by others to dismiss this idea, but his general lack of awareness or consideration about what is appropriate and how he is perceiving and treating his employees (not even his equals which is bad enough but the inferiors he has authority over!) highlights an underlying, and far too easily dismissible, sexism which I am finding increasingly difficult to call out and get people to acknowledge or change. Constantly being called ‘sweetie’ or ‘love’ by random strangers; made to move through doors by men with good intentions who nevertheless can’t see it’s far more convenient to just carry on holding it for them; being beeped walking down a street and wondering if something’s gone wrong with my clothing- at times school uniform- to find, no, it’s just being casually sexualised; all experiences which we know are absolutely not uncommon at all.

Ana

It happened at my first job two years ago. It was my second day and I didn’t hear my alarm. I rushed to get ready, washed my face, combed my hair, got dressed and jumped into my car. When I parked my car at work, I was 5 minutes early, so I only had time to put on some foundation and lipstick quickly (I normally use blush, eye shadow and mascara). At the end of the day, my boss (let’s call him FE) asked me if he could give me some advice. FE then told me “You are a pretty woman, you should wear make up,” his face with a hypocrite smile. As he said this, I felt embarrassed. Yes, it was true that the day before I had arrived to work with more make up on my face… yet I had some on. I had foundation, my face looked clean, neat. I didn’t know how to react at the moment and I ended up apologizing, I told him I normally used make up, but that I was late that day and hadn’t had the time, and that it wouldn’t happen again. As I walked to my car I felt disgusted and mad. I felt stupid for apologizing for not wearing make up. One month later, I was waiting in the conference room for a meeting. I had been absent the past two days because my father passed out and I had called work to notify them, and FE had answered. I was sitting alone when he entered the room. My mind was drifting away thinking about the recent events. He paced the room and then he approached me and said “You don’t talk so much, don’t you? I got infuriated by his question but I acted like it didn’t affect me and said no. Was he trying to break me down? Was he serious? Was he acting like he did not know about my dad? He was the one who answered the phone, I had told HIM that my father had died. Yet this was the first time I saw him since that and he had asked me if I don’t talk too much. Two weeks after that he interrupted my class to discuss some paperwork outside the classroom. When I closed the door behind me and turned around to face him he stared at my stomach and then said “Are you pregnant?” Surprised from the awkward and out-of-place interrogation I said no and then he said “Oh, is just that you look a little nervous.” He then asked me about some papers and I returned quickly to my classroom, my students could tell I was mad. I wasn’t fat nor skinny, yet I kept worrying why he had asked that. I was mad at him for asking such a personal question. I told all my family and friends about this and some of them said it was sexual harrasment. At that time, I didn’t want to report him with the director, because I was scared FE would make me miserable at work (he was my coordinator) and that the director wouldn’t take it seriously or would tell me I was overreacting. One month later I quit because of different reasons, and not so much time after that I regretted not reporting him to human resources or writing a letter to the corporate office in Mexico City explaining my situation. And I still regret it, but there’s little I can do, because he quit his job there and migrated to the US with his family.

Cheryl

Confused and a little shocked in a new job in a city I had just moved to when on the Friday, all of the men left for lunch at 1pm. Noteworthy that one of these men had started in the office only a few days before me and was a local. Later told that I was not allowed to take lunch at 1pm on a Friday because of the standing Boys Pub Club! Ridiculed when I protested at the inherent sexism in having an event only the guys could go to on a weekly basis. I bet you can agree this was a simply wonderful welcome to a new job in a city where I didn’t know anyone. Is it much of a surprise that I lasted less than 6 months there?

Angie

Male boss called me “bitchy” (to my face, in front of other people, and tried to play it off as a joke) in response to feedback I gave him regarding sexist remarks made about other coworkers at a prior meeting. When I tried to explain to him why it was sexist he claimed that he has also called a male coworker bitchy.

Becka

I used to work at a local diner. There was one customer who came in early- 6am. So it was me and only two other workers there at that time. At first he was pleasant and I didn’t feel uncomfortable but he slowly started getting more demanding and asking really personal questions. Where I lived, when I got off work, my number (which he got). Then he called me over to his table and asked me to look at pictures of his hat and tell him which was my favorite. When he turned the phone to me it was mostly pictures of boobs. After that I completely ignored him but I was so worried he would come to my house and hurt me that I had a panic attack later that day. He’s the reason I quit that job.

Harriet

I was at work trying to get some arrangements sorted for a male student in a wheelchair at his Graduation. When asking one of the porters where would be best to leave his wheelchair, the porter grabbed me by the hand and attempted to lead me over to where he was explaining. I pulled my hand away immediately and said that I was completely aware of where he was explaining.

Tarry

So many things have happened lately. In no particular order: I returned to my university city to attend a wedding of a good friend lately. I am in a very serious relationship with a man I adore, but he did not accompany to this wedding. I often spoke about my boyfriend during the wedding and reception. Still, I had a creep who KNEW about him constantly hanging around me, wanting to taking photos with just me, wanting to dance with just me etc. I mean, as soon as I was away from him, catching up with other people, he would appear and try to monopolize my time. I didn’t get a moment of peace, but I remained polite. However, my politeness ended when he tried to con me into taking him into my hotel room! If this guy had actually stopped and tried to get to know me for 10 minutes, he would have learned that I went to university and lived for 7 years in this city in which he was born and lived his entire 26 or so years. And if he had known that, he would have known how stupid and transparent his lie of “To be honest, I’ll be sleeping on the street unless I can stay in your hotel room with you” sounded to me before he had even said it. The city in question is TINY. wherever he lived would not have been more than a 10-15 taxi drive away but it was probably much closer than that. When he used that line, my face dropped. I stared at him hard for a few seconds, as if studying him, and I gave him a very blunt “no” and walked away. I found out later that no long before he tried this with me, he asked a long time friend of his to be his girlfriend. It’s really had an affect on her, he apparently thinks he’s messing with her head. Creep with a capital “C”. Yesterday, I was at work and a man about 15 years my senior came in. We spoke mostly in English but I tried French when he asked if I spoke it. I’m no great shakes at French; I speak enough of it to get by, depending on the conversation, and it’s by no means perfect. Non the less, creep number 2 proceeded to tell me how sexy he found me to be. I immediately felt threatened and sick. He went on to pry as to whether I was married or not. Recently, I’ve taken to wearing an engagement style ring for these exact situations (yes stuff like this happens THAT often) so immediately said “No, engaged!”, hoping this would make him stop. It didn’t make him stop. He asked me my boyfriends name, proceeded to tell me that my boyfriends name “makes him sound like a Muslim? Is he?? Is he mixed race?”. I said “No… he’s not”. It got awkward and he soon left but I realised a little time after that the man himself was probably Muslim and mixed-race and he was trying to gauge if I’m “into that”. Lastly, off the top of my head, there is the creep who thinks we’re BFFs, He was in at my work a few months ago and I was nice to him because a) I’m a nice person anyway and b) it’s my job. NOW, whenever he’s in the city, he literally comes in to chat (as if I’m not busy, y’know, working) and gaze adoringly at me. Seriously, he will kind of hang off my desk and just stare at me while he’s i love with me and call me things like “babe” and tell me things like “if you ever get bored of your boyfriend, I’ll take you to Ibiza, I love to travel! Maybe we can get married there!”. He actually took off one of his tacky rings and made me try it on to see if it would fit and I could keep it as an engagement ring! And I CANNOT tell him to stop etc. because he’s a regular and I’ll be the one to pay for it if I do! He makes my skin crawl. I have to smile and laugh along while he tells me how I should leave the love of my life for him (he’s so BASIC in addition to being a creep) and I have to make conversation because if I don’t, he won’t say anything; he’s content to just stare at me adoringly in silence. I dread the next time he comes in on a slow day because, without other customers who require my attention, he will literally stay and put me through this for hours.

Chica

I’m sick of being told that men don’t get jobs or accepted to classes because less qualified women got their spots due to some diversity program. I’m sick of hearing how every one of my (very few) female co-workers in tech only have their jobs because they are attractive. Do they think this about me too? How do they all seem to know they are better than every woman (typically whom they’ve never met) that gets chosen? Why were other men placed if that was the case? Just because you were rejected doesn’t make it someone else’s fault. I’m rejected all the time for things and I don’t go around saying it’s because I’m a woman. Every time a man says this, I feel as though they are referring to me. It leads me to respect them less as a peer and a coworker.