Monday, December 18, 2006

Such a Challenge

Its getting to the breaking point,
the tipping point,
where I just can't take it anymore.
I wonder all the time if it is more because of me, or more because of the nature of the business.
I wish there were women leaders out there who were able to mentor, and assist the rest of us in these blatant chauvanistic experiences.
Sometimes I think about writing to Martha Stewart and asking her to write a book, or something other than magazine froo froo, about the realities of being a female leader.
I wish there was someone I could talk to, to say, this is what happened to me right now; how should I respond.
I am pretty sure that being surrounded by male managers means that in an adapt-or-die kind of way, I take on the traits; which of course make me rejected because I am behaving out of the expected form.
If I was in an environment where there were other, like even just one other, technical lead who was a woman, we could at least band together to try and make change.
When you talk to upper management about it, they just think you're whining.
I realize that I have 2 options, take it or reject it. If I take it, they will think that they can treat me that way; so I try to assert myself, I try to not accept the derogatory. And then I get labelled as ... (I can't even think about the words right now - I make a concerted effort to use positive words instead of their negative counterparts; the positive words would be strong, direct, assertive). This is not how their wives behave, and so why do I?!
Today, a guy (a peer - sorry, that's not true, in a strict examination of the office org chart, I am actually above him) told me, basically, that I was not to talk to this, like, administrative person at a prospective client ever again.
I am the person who has submitted proposals to this person, I am the one who has talked to her about our company, I am the one that she calls. And because of something completely out of my control, he has decided that I am not qualified or good enough or smart enough to ever . talk . to . her . again. He said - send me the person's contact info, and I'll call her.
How do you respond to this.... ??? do you just do it? or do you put up a fight?
I told him not to treat me like an idiot. I said, how is it going to look, you who she doesn't know and has never even heard of, calling out of the blue to tell her that I am wrong and that she shouldn't talk to me anymore? No matter how you phrase that, you are communicating that Lisa is not competent - ie in the future when she submits a proposal to you, don't trust it.
His response "don't get defensive" "this is water under the bridge" and then in the next sentence he says: "in the future, when she calls you, it is not about your field. It is about my field, and you should refer her to me."
I'm sorry... when did he become psychic? when did he suddenly know everything that is going on in the mind of this woman that he has never met? at this client that we don't work for.
I'm going to stop now 'cause its just making me angry.
and Martha Stewart, if you have snoops out there searching for your name in random contexts, please! please! please! share your experiences. We don't care if you were called a bitch. We don't care if they say you are cold and uncaring. We don't care if they chastise you for putting business first, and your personal life second.
Because they have called us those things too.

1 comment:

Aaron Stiner said...

Lisa, I am sorry to hear you are so frustrated and sad. It doesn't sound like a good situation for you at work right now. Unfortunately, if my limited experience is correct, the culture will likely not change anytime soon.
Given that, it would appear you have some choices OR continue to work there, deal with the injustice and continue to be frustrated OR continue to work there, deal with the injustice but let it roll off your back OR leave.

All of the options are acceptable and your reaction is understandable. Again though, the place ain't changin'. There are places you would be appreciated. I hope you find one.

In the meantime, you have lots of friends and family who love you, know you are doing your best and understand you only want to best for others. You will not lose us Lisa or our love! =)