Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One small step

Picture this, three professional women are sitting at a table waiting for the PO (project operations) meeting to get started. A senior principle (the founder of the company) walks in from his office and selects one of these women and says to her, "Women X, you sure are looking good this morning." Women X is very surprised and instead of her usual, oh thanks, brush off she fumbles for a while and says, "What do you mean?" The principle, of course, doesn't really have an answer for this so Women X changes the subject and says, "Oh you must mean that I got some sun this week-end, my mom and I went for a walk, ect." At which point the other two women roll with this and talk more about walking and the sun and such.

After the PO meeting Women X realizes that this principle doesn't know (or wishes to ignore) which statements make her uncomfortable. After he (I realize this is the first time his gender is stated) is finished with another meeting Women X says she'd like to see him in his office. In simple terms she states that his comment this morning was inappropriate, embarrassing and makes her uncomfortable. Of course she sugar coats it by stating that she knows he doesn't have bad motives for these statements but that they need to stop. He is taken aback and states (in summary) that these statements are professional (just wait 30 years and I'll understand), that these statements are important for safety reasons (need to make sure everyone is alert and their home life is good) and three he will do his best but give him slack . . It takes a while for an old dog to learn new tricks (his exact words).

If you have read my previous post you have likely guessed that Women X is me. I feel better now that I have confronted the issue. I feel like my point was taken, although diluted by his responses. I am worried that our relationship might suffer some. I could tell I surprised and maybe even hurt his feelings, thus I made sure to tell HR about our conversation. I don't want our relationship to suffer but the truth is it was already, he just didn't know about it.


ScienceGirl said...

Argh! I hope that the conversation makes him stop. And good for you for having the courage to confront him.

Psych Post Doc said...

Um... they will never be professional, no matter how many yesars you wait.

I hope this chat makes a difference. At least it's out there now so he has been put on notice.

Mad Hatter said...

Sometimes I think it might actually be harder to deal with the ones who truly don't understand why what they're saying is inappropriate. Good for you for speaking your mind.