January 04, 2011

Changes in Attitude

It's not going to be some happy cheery post, so if you're looking for that... come back tomorrow.

Something happened at work today that made me realize... I have to find another job. It is easier to look for a job when you have one.

When you work for a company and you see something pretty bad happen, you might at first just raise an eyebrow, and think, "Wow. Did I just see that?"

When you work for a company and you see something pretty bad happen... again, you now realize it probably was not a fluke and if it happens yet again, a pattern has officially merged and you... will lose respect for all those involved.

But it can only continue for so long... before you start to lose respect for yourself and that's where I am now.

By staying, I've lost respect for myself.

It was that bad.

It was bad enough, that many of my co-workers are aghast... aghast at what I witnessed and aghast that now they know I will leave. Members of my team, have already offered to try to find money to make me stay.

I have to have this job. This isn't a fun job. We live on my income. I have kids in private school, I have retirement to save for (my husband is self employed so we provide our own retiremement), and taxes to pay. My money isn't used for cool vacations and fashion trendy clothes. My money, with this economy in particular, is a must have in this house.

So I'm putting my resume together and will start searching. It may take a year, two years or five years for me to find something, but just the fact that I'm actively doing something about it, will make me feel better about myself.

There are people out there who feel that what I witness or what happens to me is deserved because I'm a woman. I'm in a man's business. I don't belong there, so therefore if you can't take it... move on.

I watched as a young engineer, other women, the few and far between, and how they handled some of the things I've come against throughout the years. I have learned, unless someone puts hands on you, you don't report anything. You keep your mouth shut and eliminate yourself from the situation. Otherwise, you get labeled. Nobody wants to work with you.

You are the leper.

The man is very rarely guilty... unless there is black and white proof, such as email and texts and even then, surely the woman did something to lead him on and cause him to act this way.

I need this job... so I have kept my mouth shut.

That's a hard pill to swallow in this American Society, where we love to think we're all equal. But we're not. It's OK to treat a woman poorly, she's a woman. It's OK to underpay her, she's a woman. It's OK to think she's stupid... because... afterall... she's a woman.

The biggest offenders of this are still the over 60 crowd, but they seem to have been able to drag some of the 50+ crowd in with them.


I spent most of this morning so angry I couldn't talk. By afternoon, I was able to at least be civil and realize what was next for me.

The bottom line is... I'm not a victim. I never have been, I never will be. And I don't mind change.

This is the deal with change... sure, you could end up with worse... but you can also end up with better.

Life is never a sure thing. You have to take chances to make good things happen. They don't happen to those who wait. They happen to those who MAKE them happen.

I'm banking on better.

It just took today to make me realize... the time has come for me to start looking for change, no matter how much it is going to hurt a certain person very very close to me, someone who I've relied on for 20+ years and has come to rely on me. (Not my husband.)

I have to look out for myself now.

I have to search out alternatives while I still have my self respect.

Even women are entitled to that.

(Sidenote: I don't need advice. This is a vent post. I'm extraordinarily intelligent and have vast experience in the work force... in many capacities. I am where I am. It is what it is.)

Posted by Boudicca at January 4, 2011 10:06 PM

Independent consultant, perhaps?

Posted by: PeggyU at January 5, 2011 03:14 AM


Posted by: vwbug at January 5, 2011 05:36 AM

You need this.

Posted by: PeggyU at January 5, 2011 05:48 AM

Peggy- Unfortunately, they don't hire independent consultants in my line of work. I have to work for a company to get the work. As for the video, I saw that this weekend! Is that a riot or what? It reminds me of when my eldest was two and we'd turn on Christmas music. He would run around and around in delight. Good memories...

VW- You know this story. Same story, different faces. I need a change in faces.

Posted by: Bou at January 5, 2011 06:46 AM

... no matter where you work, respect is a must....... you do what you need to do, ma'am....... and good luck....


Posted by: Eric at January 5, 2011 07:09 AM

Eric is so right!

You have to do what's right for you and your family - that's always the bottom line. Other people have to understand that, even if it's painful for them when you do leave. They would expect you to understand if the situation were reversed!

Better is out there. I know you'll find it.

Posted by: Teresa at January 5, 2011 09:18 AM

You have wise commenters (not me, but those above). I will echo their views.

And thought I would share that many years ago (15?), I was seeing and experiencing things I found unacceptable in my work place. I really was ready to leave, as it seemed to happen repetitively... I was fortunate that just as I was ready to pull the trigger, there was a big change in the culture, and the things that needed to be addressed were done. In some cases, quite expeditiously, so as to leave no doubts on what was acceptable. I feel fortunate.

I do not mean in any way to imply you should stay and hope. Instead my message is that we do what we have to do, and if the situation is unacceptable, we have to make changes. I was just lucky the changes were made around me, and I did not have to make the leap.

Wishing you all the best!

Posted by: jck at January 5, 2011 09:58 AM

I am in the same situation right now, except it isn't sexual, it's just plain harassment and HR will not do a thing about it because the person is protected by a higher up.

I am looking but this is Michigan, I am "lucky" to have a job so I am stuck. But have been looking as has everyone else in my department because of this person. I have been through this a few times, that is what happens when women work in a man's world. One learns how much one can put up with before they have to leave, because HR really isn't interested in rocking the boat. My company will be sued for big money one day because of this person.

On another note, Monster.com - headhunters peruse it and get resume from there. Another is Indeed.com, it pulls job notices from hundreds of sites so you don't have to visit dozens of sites, you just look in one place.

Good Luck to you.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at January 5, 2011 12:17 PM

Oh,hey! As long as we're talking job listings, you should look at dice.com as well. I think they tend toward more tech type jobs.

Posted by: PeggyU at January 5, 2011 12:56 PM

I hate that you're forced to find a new job because of jerks that do the kinds of things I think you're describing.

I will keep you in my prayers, Bou.

Posted by: Andrew Phule at January 5, 2011 01:01 PM

I know you've been unhappy with your job for quite a while now. While I'm not happy you've been pushed to your limit, I am happy that you're taking charge of your situation and making plans for a big change.

I think you should discuss this with your kids (at least the older two), as well. There are good lessons here in what's acceptable behavior and what's not, and your thought processes and choices in how you're handling your work adversities. I think they'll be pretty darned impressed... and supportive.

I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers daily.

Posted by: Omnibus Driver at January 5, 2011 02:49 PM

Interesting that things were so much different today.

There have been some changes implemented that became more obvious today.

Plus, money talks. Evidently... I can be bought.

But, as I said, it is easier to look when you have, so I will now keep my eyes open. One of the biggest changes... I have been asked to see what happens in the next 3 months. I am told I will see a big difference.

Jury... is out.

Posted by: Bou at January 5, 2011 05:16 PM

Corrections are so much more believable if they occur when the problem happens rather than being ignored for several years and performance appraisals.

If you've seen problems before that were not addressed, what caused this situation to be different? Is somebody new watching? As we all know, hidden EEO problems can be a real cost driver for a company when they show up in court.

The same holds true for unlicensed exports. We have a local case where a foreign freight forwarder had a perfectly legal license to deliver goods overseas, if the good were really going to a power plant in Dubai and not somewhere in Iran. The local company got suspicious and had State check with the supposed power plant to see if they had ordered the parts. When the power plant said no, the freight forwarder and the goods were stopped at the border and did not leave the US. It pays to check for Red Flags.

I will check around and see if we have anything interesting at one of our sites reasonably close to where you live. If so, I will email you directly.

Posted by: The Thomas at January 6, 2011 12:32 AM

I was where you are two years ago. The only reason I don't regret leaving then is that my awesome new job wasn't even thought of. Get out, but CYA and be smart about where you land. Wait for the right job if you can at all.

Posted by: caltechgirl at January 6, 2011 02:18 AM

I think the corrections were coincidental... but let's see what happens. I've been counseled to wait and see... that things could be different, in particular if my Lead gets promoted.

The HR department for the big company I worked for in the past was fantastic. They were an amazing group of people. And if you took something to them, you had to be ready for that ride because things were going to change... immediately. (Not so much at this company. I won't go there.)

But HR is not the problem. I feel bad if that was implied. It's a peer pressure issue. You go to HR, you get labeled by your peers. Unless it is so frickin' offensive and EVERYONE witnessed it... you get labeled as overly sensitive, and even then, with something horribly offensive that everyone witnessed, depending on how THEY feel about the perp, it can get glossed over in their minds.

I know a guy who is of color. (He's not African American.) He went to HR at his old company a number of times for harassment due to his not being white and the nasty things that were said. He has been labeled as one of 'those black guys that cause trouble' and he has the hardest time finding a job. People talk and our community is very very small.

I need not only to keep my job, but to be able to stay employable outside the company.

There have been some seriously whacked things that have happened to me over the past 23 years. Most I was able to take care of myself. (I DO NOT go to HR.) One instance though... holy cats. I was being harassed openly by someone, in front of a bunch of men I work with. I was horrified. I went back to my desk once and just sat there thinking, "How in the hell am I going to handle this and how am I going to face everyone after he just said that to me?"

Eh, no problems. One of the guys I work with was so pissed, he pulled the perp aside and said, "You talk like that to her again, and I find out, I'm taking you outside and beating the sh** out of you. It won't be on company property, but I guarantee you... it will happen." No more problems.

Sometimes peer pressure works in the positive as well...

And Yeah, I'm waiting. I feel... emotionally unencumbered now. i am waiting to see what happens, but I no longer feel the emotional attachment to have to stay. That's gone, no matter the changes, that is gone.

I am playing the wait and see game. I'll stay out of trouble, give 200% when I'm there, be a team player, but am officially keeping my eyes open. There are things I need like flexibility. (My kids are more important that my job.) So it has to be a great fit or I won't move.

Posted by: Bou at January 6, 2011 07:59 AM

Okay, just what did the guy do to end up being told "You talk like that to her again, and I find out..."?

I'm wondering if I've seen better or worse.

Posted by: Carl Brannen at January 6, 2011 09:14 PM

Sent via email... didn't want to put it on the 'net.

Posted by: Bou at January 6, 2011 10:02 PM