Tag Archives: Workplace

Annie

When I worked as a waitress in a local pub the chef used to call me ‘his baby’ and squeeze my bum as I walked out of the kitchen. He also used to pick me up over his shoulder and smack my bum in front of the KP who never said anything. When I asked him to stop he told me that he was only joking and that I should calm down and learn to take a joke. When I told my manager, he laughed and agreed with him.

Teddie

I was out with my dad who was showing an auctioneer round the cows. My dad was explaining how I often sell the cows with him in the ring and the auctioneer said “well an attractive young lady is bound to get a few more bids”. I immediately felt embarrassed, not him, me. What the fuck.

Tonya

As a young woman and teen, I had 3 different men, who were much older than me, grab me by the shoulders and kiss me right on the mouth. Men who I’d shown absolutely no interest in dating or even flirting with. two were coworkers, one was a family member. I’ve had boyfriends force sex on me, but since we were dating, they made me feel like I owed it to them. I didn’t fight back, just sort of let it happen because it was easier to just sort of check out than to fight it. Of course I’ve had the usual catcalling, stalking, and unwanted conversations and inappropriate (even disgusting) messages. But above all that, I think what bothers me the most, is the way men talk to me like I’m an idiot. The majority of my female coworkers and bosses have been very supportive and talk to me like an adult, listen to what I have to say and genuinely consider my input. But the men at my workplace now treat me like a dingbat. One specifically loves to interrupt me, shoot down my ideas, and just generally reject any sort of intellectual input I have, even though I have almost 15 years of experience in my field now.

Deadre

I am really distraught by a comment a very educated man made to another: “Don’t you think that Western women depreciate quicker than Asian women?”

Charlotte

I posted earlier (my first post) about my job as a P.A to a financial director in the 1980s and, as I have time on my hands, due to this lockdown, I thought I would post again and say a bit about my life for younger readers on this site so perhaps they can learn from me as I’m now 56. I guess I settled for a relationship where the man was in control: there was a twelve-year age difference, he earned a really good salary, and he was an Alpha Male, very confident and self-assured so it was inevitable he would make decisions. What got me thinking about his was that last December my husband and I went to a reunion dinner for retired staff for the company where he used to work, which was a multinational finance company with a Head Office in London, (such things seem a long, long time ago now!). It was a lunchtime affair and it was a lovely meal and a really nice occasion – there must have been thirty people there, and I got to catch up with loads of old friends who I’ve not seen for ages. Anyway, I was sitting next to a lady who had worked with my husband for quite a long while. She took an interest in what I was wearing and said “it’s all designer, isn’t it?” I agreed that it was so she asked me how much my outfit had cost so I told her I was wearing my favourite Christian Louboutin shoes which cost about £500; a brand new Saint Laurent silk lame blouse which cost £1,500 and a Gucci black leather skirt which cost about £2,000. The lady then took my hand under table, squeezed it and said, “Your husband lets you spend whatever you like on your appearance because he knows you have to do as your told.” I couldn’t really argue with her because I knew in my heart she was right. The thing was I came from an average, working class, quite conventional family i.e. my dad was in charge which wasn’t uncommon in the Sixties and Seventies – he got served first at the dinner table and my sister and I had to help mum and wash up etc – also, we were told to be “ladylike”. I was the youngest of three, with a brother two years older and my sister was five years older – she passed her eleven plus and went to a grammar school and got a First Class Honours degree at University followed by a good career whereas I left school at 16 and went to secretarial college – we were always being compared and called “beauty and the brains” which, even to this day, has created a rivalry between me and my sister. I was often praised, by both my mum and dad, for my dress sense and being feminine whereas she was “told off” for always wearing jeans/trouser and no make-up – which happened even when she was at Uni, if we went to a family event. I remember when I was 15, we went to a family wedding (me and my brother, mum and dad – sis was at Uni) and I choose an outfit for myself for the first time (with a little help from mum!) – a nice summer dress, a hat and high heeled shoes and I got tons of praise, I felt so sophisticated and adult. At secondary school the English teacher hated me and would often make loads of jokes at my expense (to get a laugh from the class), one day I answered him back and made him look small and so, at the end of the lesson, he took me to the Headmistress (deputy) – it was a co-ed school with a Headmaster in charge, of course – and she slippered me over her desk. Another time I was with a group of boys who set a fire alarm off – the Headmaster caned the boys and the Headmistress caned me: I got two extra strokes of the cane because she said she wanted “to make an example of me” as “the boys had said they had been showing off in front of me.” I went to work at 17 (1981) as a typist in a typing “pool” – sometimes guys would pat and pinch my bum. I told my female manager and she just shrugged her shoulders and said “so what?” It also happened on the tube and in pubs and nightclubs (I am not going to get into the thorny issue of boyfriends which is a whole story in itself!). Then, I got a job as a P.A in a local company to a director called Mr Wright. One day I lost some important data we needed for a report (in those days there was a computer room and computers were backed up each night on tape!) the computer guy spent ages looking for it on the back up tapes and then I found a hard copy and went to tell him. He was about my age and he went mad – telling me I had wasted all his time and I sat around filing my nails and prancing around the office in short skirts – he also said some personal stuff, I went back to the office and was very upset so Mr Wright got on the phone to the computer guy and told him to come upstairs to his office. I remember him bellowing at him DON’T YOU EVER SPEAK TO CHARLOTTE LIKE THAT AGAIN! After that the computer guy hated me and the women would say “don’t upset Charlotte she tittle-tattles to the boss!” Then, when I was twenty-two, I worked as a P.A in London for this large multi-national finance company, the Director I worked for, who was in his fifties, and who had two daughters about my age, used to say, “I like it when you feel uncomfortable, Charlotte, because when you blush you look so pretty.” Another time I was running upstairs and a manager was stood at the top watching my breasts bounce. When I got to the top, he smiled and said, “go back and do that again”. Later, I met my future husband who worked for the same company. When I married him, in 1990, I gave up my job and became a “corporate wife”. I was expected to manage/organise the household, attend functions (where I would make polite conversation), organise dinner parties and look glamorous (checking with my husband about what I should wear if it was a corporate event) but I like fashion and spend a lot on hair and beauty treatments so that wasn’t so bad although whilst I was doing all that I was also raising four children (two boys and two girls)! In addition, I was expected to be genteel, a good listener and not have emotional baggage (which I’ve not got) as I was an emotional support to my husband – in fact, my husband always says that I’ve been wonderful and very supportive to him. We lived in Frankfurt for a year and New York for six years which I really enjoyed. I’m not complaining, generally things have been pretty good, my husband has been a good father, the children are fantastic – my life really – and we’ve had a very nice life and now he’s retired our lives are very happy, we have lovely holidays/cruises and a good standard of living but I look at my two daughters, who are aged 27 and 23 (they both have degrees) and I wish, when I’d been young, I’d had their level of self-confidence and I wish I’d been more assertive – my life might have panned out differently – so what I would say to any young woman today is that EDUCATION is very important, it is the key really to giving you life choices.

Sophie

I was on a zoom call and colleagues were talking about their families. One of my female friends said “I have three sisters” and a male colleague jumped right in and said “any dad that has only daughters is a very brave man. Did you at least get him a boy dog?” He immediately soured my mood and had me thinking – how long are we going to live like this? How long before men stop perpetuating this narrative that women are so problematic that surely you need a son to balance it all out. It has ruined my entire day. I am seething.

Lena

I’m 20 and recently started working at a call center. My colleagues are largely female, but we have a few men around the age of 30-50. In my first couple weeks of working there, several of the guys told me they could listen to my voice forever, they can’t concentrate when I’m wearing a skirt, and they like to watch me sleep in the break room. When I asked the girls about it, they said Don’t worry it’ll change when the next new girl comes, it’s best to make nice because we work closely together here.

Teddie

I was out with my dad who was showing an auctioneer round the cows. My dad was explaining how I often sell the cows with him in the ring and the auctioneer said “well an attractive young lady is bound to get a few more bids”. I immediately felt embarrassed, not him, me. What the fuck.

it’s me, the director

I’m in my 50s and was in a meeting with a male colleague and a client. We’d be working with them a month or so. The client’s representative, a one-man-band contractor, not only did not realise I was the engineering director, but was stunned to silence when repeatedly told by my colleague that I was. One of the most insulting moments in my long career. The sooner the old boys club retires, the better.

Kitty

A man at my work, who had a girlfriend and a son, began talking to me, we had very similar political views and despite being 18 and him being 31 we formed something of a friendship, soon he began flirting with me and through ill-advise I returned the notion. however he took this so far as to start making comments about having sex at work and asking me to send him nude photos. I never did and I thank myself every day for staying strong. He told me he was my friend but when it came down to it he wasn’t there for me when I needed a friend, he just took a sick joy in making horrid comments on the internal work chat, he knew I wouldn’t do anything and he knew his girlfriend wouldn’t find out. he made me feel wrong for trusting him and I still have to see him everyday and it turns my stomach.