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Completely O/T Would just like a sounding board

AmIWicked's picture

This is about a work expreience.

I had a work interaction today with a general manager that was one in a line of recent comments that are making me uneasy about my work environment.

I'll give some set up first:
It never occured to me before, but all the men have one type of job at this office and the women have another type of job. Men are in sales, finance and deal with the customers. Women are office assistants, office managers, accountants, and receptionists. A position opened up in the office part and two male applicants applied. I was told not to hire the men in the office by one of the two managing male partners because he didn't want one man around all the women in the office. :O -This was two weeks ago.

One week ago, a man was walking by me with a "pure sugar cane" coke and he offered the information to me (almost boasting) that he buys these cokes, the ones with real cane sugar because it has real glucose in it and not that fake stuff high fructose corn syrup. I had a conversation with him. I explained that yes I agreed it taste different and wouldn't argue that one was better or worse for you. And yes the molecular chemistry is different compound between cane sugar and high frutose corn syrup, but,... they were actually both glucose... He pulled out his iphone to argue and yep, I was right, both molecules are chains of glucose.
I over heard him later saying to another man, "Can you believe she is actually smart? I wouldn't have thought it." :jawdrop:

Now, for the incident that happened today. We had a hispanic woman do a deal with us and I was to do the office end of it. I went to the man that did the deal with her and asked, "Which is her last name?" He looked confused. "Salvador or Ruiz? You wrote her name Maria salvador Ruiz then crossed it out and wrote Maria ruiz Salvador. In Hispanic culture they have two last names but only one is the legal last name. Do you know which one so I can process it correctly?" "Salvador" he said. So I walked away, but a few seconds later I found paperwork where she signed her name and she wrote Maria Ruiz Sal. and abbreviated the Salvador so I went to walk back to his office and a bunch of men are standing around and the other managing partner is saying, "What is this Dora the Explorer?"

So,... I thinking I am stuck in a work place controlled by misogynistic racists and just never realized it before....

AmIWicked's picture

I believe my job would be at risk. My choices are to tough it out or leave.
COnsidering how two of the comments I overheard, I was not supposed to hear, where making fun of me either directly or indirectly. I'm leaning towards jumping ship, not revamping the crew.

I'd have no problem if these comments were being said to my face.
I can take a punch as well as throw them, all in good fun. But these comments being said behind my back were not meant for me to hear-the problem is I did...

It makes me wonder what else is going on there I have not heard and for how long.

robin333's picture

This sounds easy but leave as soon as possible. Don't know your state law about recording, but if in a one person consent, I would capture these convos.

robin333's picture

This sounds easy but leave as soon as possible. Don't know your state law about recording, but if in a one person consent, I would capture these convos.

AmIWicked's picture

Maybe racist is the wrong word. There was a definite cultural ignorance there he was not aware of by his reaction.
I can assume the "dora the explorer" comment was made towards me and the situation because I had just left seconds earlier after I brought up that she had two last names and he scribbled them out and rewrote them.
I was asking for clarification because his paperwork was unclear and he didn't know how to answer.
I think it made them all uncomfortable and they used humor to deflect.

notsobad's picture

I used to work for a company that was run by Good ole Boys. It was a small family company and they didn't see anything wrong with the way they ran things.
I was in accounting and my boss the Controller was a man. There other males working in the office also doing accounting.

What pissed me off was that when the receptionist was away and someone had to take over for her, it was always the women who were expected to do it. I complained and said there was no reason that the guys couldn't also answer the phones. I was met with blank stares.
I refused to do it, honestly I was far to busy and a few of the other girls followed my lead and said they were also far to busy.
Instead of asking the guys to do it, they hired a temp!

I think it's the same thing as the fights in your relationship. Is this a hill to die on?
Other than what you've overheard the past few days, do you like your job? Do you feel that you do it well? Are you happy there?

Rags's picture

Definitely worth your concerns I would say. It may be an overstep to classify all of your male coworkers as “misogynistic racists” though. Check the employee HR handbook and see what is referenced in that document and see what your options are.

This is sticky for sure. In the US hostile work environment infractions are a big deal and are usually any complaints are taken very seriously. This is a double edged sword. It can turn what is frankly over sensitivity on the part of a listener into a major consequence for the speaker. So, if there is something to this that you think needs to be addressed, address it. Go through the HR process. And do a due diligence test to make sure you manage it appropriately. For both your own benefit and potentially for the other side of the situation too.

I had an interesting and entertaining incident fairly early in my technology industry management career. I had just hired 5 young new graduate engineers (all men) at the insistent of my Director. All very professional and capable.

The company had a low cubicle and joint break area culture that was part of the then in vogue high performance empowered team movement. The incident occurred one day during afternoon break. I was at corner table at the back of the break area with a couple of colleagues, my 5 new hire engineers were at front corner table diagonal from my table, and a lady was alone at the back corner table across from my table. The younger guys were bantering and laughing, nothing loud or inappropriate, when a young very attractive QA/QC engineer walked out of the office area across the front of the break/lobby area. She was in a tank top style blouse and white see through genie pants wearing a black lace bra and thong underwear both clearly visible through her very thin white clothing. The conversation at the table with the young guys stopped, they watched the attractive young woman walk across the lobby then up the stairs. When she was out of site they went back to the prior conversation. Not a word was said about the young woman.

The next day I get called to the plant directors office for a meeting with he and the HR director. They wanted me to do a formal reprimand form on each of the 5 young engineers for permanent inclusion in their employee record files. I refused. I explained that I had witnessed the entire incident, there was nothing inappropriate about anyone’s behavior and I would not reprimand them though I would have a verbal counseling session with each of them 1:1. Nope, it was formal reprimand. I asked a few questions. The young woman was not part of the complaint. It was the woman sitting in the back corner table on break, a middle aged finance/accounting person who complained that the guys had stopped talking and watched the young woman walk across the lobby and up the stairs. When asked she admitted that they had said nothing inappropriate but that their silence had made her uncomfortable and that was when she had noticed the young guys watching the young woman.

That resulted in formal reprimands for all five of my new hires, and the implementation of the infamous TWO SECOND RULE at that facility. You could not look at anyone for more than two seconds unless you were in direct conversation with them. If anyone walked by your desk, break table, etc… you could only glance for two seconds. My 5 new hires asked me what I would do in their situation. I told them I would not tolerate it for one second, I would call the other companies they had been recruited buy to get back in their hiring loop, and I would resign immediately and not include the company we all worked for on my resume… if I were them. They all resigned that day and were working at other very good companies in less than 2wks.

Then I bought stop watches for the rest of my department. Everyone would put their stopwatches around their necks when they arrived at work and all day you would hear “CLICK-CLICK” in two second intervals any time someone walked through our cubicle area. It was my not so silent protest over the ridiculousness of the TWO SECOND RULE and having to reprimand my recently departed employees over the ridiculous sensitivities of a PC drama champion.

Soon after implementing the departmental stop watches the site director and the HR director walked through on one of their regular MBWA circuits. The site director cracked up when he saw the stop watches, the HR director gave me a major scowl. A few days later the site director called me to his office and told me to ditch the stop watches since the HR director found them personally offensive. More PC bullshit from the overly sensitive. The site director ended the meeting by telling me he thought the whole situation was ridiculous and that the stop watches were a classic he would never forget.

I was invited to his retirement party about a decade later and he gave me a big hug when I showed up at his party and laughingly recounted the stop watch response to the infamous TWO SECOND RULE.

Address it but manage it is my recommendation.

blueorblackink's picture

I am going to put a different tilt on this... you were eavesdropping. Unfortunately if you did not hear everything you could be misinterpreting the context.

I am not saying you are. But if someone gets in trouble for what you thought they meant, and they can prove that you took what they said out of context, then you look bad.

AmIWicked's picture

I would agree if this was a closed door, through a wall overhearing, but it wasn't.
The don't hire the men was said directly to me.
The smart comment was in a wide open space customers could have heard if they were present. (Think lobby area, show room, they are salesmen)
The dora the explorer comment was in an office, but there is no door to this office. The walls are all glass. And it opens wide into this same wide space for customers to hear.
I think eavesdropping must first have a level of expected privacy. None of these situations did. They were not whispering their comments. They just didn't see me in the vicinity.

blueorblackink's picture


Stepmom09's picture

I work in the construction field. So all the women are in the office (if a company has an office manager you can bet it is a women) however, the men are very respectful. Like please and thank yous all the time (might be due to the fact that I write all the checks). And every company is owned by a man. I am sure if I wanted to move into the field I could but I don't.