An ogre boss doesn’t look like the photo above. It just feels that way. Being the only woman in a male dominated company can be great or not. On the podcast this week I spoke about the first time I experienced being specifically targeted as a woman in the workplace. I want to dive a bit deeper into that story based upon some feedback that you folks have requested.
This was many years ago. A senior person who I would have to report to was changed– AGAIN (there had been revolving doors with senior leadership for some time). The person who came in made it clear early on that he held no value in anything I had to say.
He had changed the manager meeting to a lunch meeting on Mondays. I was working an odd shift at the time so that I was home during the day most of the week. So for me, this was the equivalent of meeting at about 8pm on Friday night.
I had been with this company for a while and I had earned a seat at the table, and prior to this person coming on board my voice was always respected. I wasn’t uncomfortable being the only woman in a male dominated workplace. (my pay – well that was a different time – we will discuss in another post)
Things quickly changed. We would go out for our Monday lunch meetings and whenever I brought something up, he would give me a long stare of utter contempt. It could be felt round the table. There was no verbal response at all. Nothing. It was if I had not spoken at all. This wasn’t silence cleverly implemented for creative tension. It was simply contempt. It was very uncomfortable for me and awkward for everyone at the table.
He often brought up what I had mentioned at the next meeting as his idea.
After a few weeks of this the men that I had worked with for several years were clearly embarrassed and apologetic towards me after the meetings, but none of them were willing to challenge the situation. I think fear for their own jobs prevented anyone from speaking up.
Frankly, I saw it as a battle not worth taking on. Based upon the financial condition of the company and how I was being treated, I opted to move on. In this particular circumstance, I saw no way to work with this specific person.
I chose to move on. That’s not the action I would advocate at all times. It happened to be the one that fit this specific situation. He clearly was a guy’s guy, and his team was going to be made up of guys.
There are times that leaving is the answer. You’re thoughtfully taking the ultimate action to change a situation that you won’t tolerate. In my next blog I’ll give you another example of how it wasn’t and how a senior leader orchestrated how to get two people who didn’t care for each other to work well together.
Just in case you missed it. Here is the 1st episode of the Women Who Work With Men Podcast. Subscribe on iTunes.
Next week we have an interview with Barbara Res, a woman who worked with Donald trump for 18 years during the golden years of building the Trump Tower and more. She worked with him daily. She was the boots-on-the-ground person in charge of the reconstruction of the Grand Hyatt in NYC. She’s also an Engineer, an Attorney and the author of All Alone on the 68th Floor: How One Woman Changed the Face of Construction (How’s that for a résumé!).
She offers insight into Donald Trump like few people can, and how his presidency may impact your roles as women in a male dominated workplace.