Know when to say when?!

We had an event this week for work — it was a membership breakfast meeting where we invited a guest speaker, who is a political commentator.  The evening before, a few of us took the speaker to dinner.  One of my staff members & I flanked the speaker.  As the evening went on, he told political stories of past, that were entertaining for those of us political dorks…  Yes, entertainment for a very small audience.

At one point, this man crossed the line.  I didn’t know how to handle it.

The history of the Capitol is sketchy.  There are stories upon stories of getting prostitutes for legislators in order to deliver votes.  Drinks, food & any type of “entertainment” you can think of, were used to ensure an elected official voted a certain way.  I get that.  But those days are over — with a few rare exceptions.

At one point, he started telling stories of people I know & respect.  One of them is a female member of the Governor’s cabinet.  He told this story of a committee hearing he was at with her “back in the day” where her nipples were so hard, it literally delivered a handful of votes for her cause of the day.

WTF is that?!  At that point, I asked for the check in order to wrap up the evening.  I didn’t want to call him out on it because I was afraid he might bail on the following day’s breakfast.  Now I am wondering, do I make a call or send an e-mail to his speakers’ bureau?  Do I e-mail him directly?  I don’t know what to do, but I feel like I need to tell him the nature of that conversation was NOT okay.

Men are idiots!  Why do they put us in these positions?  And how come we aren’t allowed to smack them the moment they make some stupid comment?

 

 

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Choosing a Man vs. Career

One of my colleagues that I have known for a while (even before I took this job) asked me if I would leave the job if my husband had to take a job elsewhere.  For me, the question doesn’t compute.  My husband is a teacher, a teacher with quite a bit of seniority at that.  There is no way he is taking a job elsewhere, under any circumstance that I can think of, under any scenario. 

But the person asking the question, asked in attempt to define what type of woman I was — was I career driven or driven by my personal life?  My colleague also happened to be a man.

Of course I told him I would go if I had to, but that I really didn’t really think that was likely to happen.  So it was an easy answer.  The more I thought about it, the more I wasn’t sure if that was the case.  I am not saying I would leave him, but I would strongly lobby him to stay and forgo the other opportunity…  But then what?

The question didn’t bother me at first.  But the more I thought about it, the more it did. 

  • Why would a question like that define the type of woman I am? 
  • Why the hell didn’t I ask him the same question back?
  • Why is it okay to ask a woman that question, yet it didn’t even PHASE me to THINK to ask him the question back?  Is it because he is a man?

Gender roles are so engrained in our thinking, that clearly even our most automatic of our behaviors are trained by those roles.  I didn’t even THINK to ask him the same question.  Wow.

Well it’s been a rough day due to some stressful situations around the office today.  So I am going to forgo my gender role of drinking wine this evening, and opt for the Crown.  Because it has been one of those days!

Have a great weekend!

Past & Present

This week, I flew across the country for a business trip that lasted most of the week.  The last evening, I couldn’t sleep, so I headed down to the hotel bar for a drink and some reading of the WSJ.  Eventually, a little old couple came and sat down next to me and we started chatting.

The woman asked me why I was in town, so I told her.  She responded, “You are one of those young women that I read about that travels around the country for work and has one of those jobs that the men used to have.”  Then she asked what I did and I told her.  She said, “That is a big job!”  She proceeded to tell her date about my career and he didn’t quite get it.

She then looked at me and said, “Things were so much simpler for women when I was your age.”

I assured that although I am a busy person, I am happy.  She agreed and said she could tell.

I couldn’t help but wonder what she meant by simpler for her.  We were in a bar, so I didn’t want to get into a super deep conversation, but it has been driving me crazy.  Now I wish I would have asked.

She asked me how I liked working and if it was stressful, etc.  Of course I told her “I love my job, but it is also the reason I drink.”  We had a wonderful evening chatting about work and other things, like her date and lingerie football.  I had so much fun with these two that I bought them a round before I left. 

Anyway, I have been struggling with her statement all day.  For several reasons — I know I am in a male-dominated line of work, but I work to make my position and organization a woman-run organization.  I avoid getting into pissing contests with my male competitors, I try to be progressive with my staff and the goals and objectives we embark upon, and just try to have fun with work.  But it also makes me wonder, how much more “simpler” did they really have it?  I mean, there was the whole womens’ lib movement since then, so apparently somebody wasn’t happy!

Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.  ~Timothy Leary

 

 

Extracurricular activities

I don’t get it.  I am a married, female executive.  Will somebody explain to me WHY NOW all these men feel compelled to hit on me?  I am perplexed.  I don’t want to sound conceited or full of myself.  It’s not that I think I am that great, by any means.  In fact, I have put on a significant amount of weight since my single days…  But here is the simple fact:  right now, if I felt so behooved to cheat on my husband, I can choose one of four men to hop in the sack with at any moment.

Again, I ask:  what the hell is that?

When I was single, I was running, significantly thinner and not working nearly as much.  I was way more available, physically and figuratively.  But for some reason now I have these dudes hitting on me via e-mail or text message (gotta love modern technology), which just blows my mind.  I absolutely do NOT get it.

Let’s try some statistical  & theoretical analysis here:

1)  Stat #1:  Three are married and one is single.

I am wondering if once you get married, the other bored married men start to do some extracurricular outreach?  Is that it?  Maybe they figure you are less likely to show up at their house confronting their wife if you have your own gig going?  Where a single woman might? 

Again, what the hell is that?

2)  Stat #2:  I am President of my company.

Somebody told me once that I have a renewed confidence in my new position that I was missing before and that confidence is attractive.  Is that it?  Is that all I needed back in my single days?  Some imaginary confidence I didn’t know existed in the first place?

3)  Stat #3:  I work with all of these men in one capacity or another.

So is it a professional thing?  Again, I don’t consider myself hot.  The only guys trying to hit on me at random sighting are usually drunk, homeless guys I see walking the streets of downtown.  I never get any random stranger approaching in say, a restaurant, telling me I am so beautiful he can’t stand it.

But that shit comes over text message after somebody gets to know me.

Again, what the hell is that?

4)  Stat #4:  These guys are all out of town, and I only see one of them on a routine basis.

So distance must be a safety factor?  It’s not like dudes in my immediate area are coming after me.  All of these guys are over 2-3 hours in driving distance from me.  Which is good, since this minimizes the chances of a drunken encounter! 

If there are any women out there that know what the hell I am talking about, please chime in.  And I will take any advice you have available!  Because while I find it immensely flattering, it is also immensely annoying.

Thanks!

“If you ever had kids, it would be a ‘travesty.'”

That’s right.  One of my board members told me that, in the early days of this job.  And silly me, I thought male chauvinism was only in a$$ backwards places, like in the South. 

Welcome to California!

When I decided to take this job, it was a tough decision.  The position was to become Vice President of an organization on the brink of folding.  The VP had to train under the outgoing President for 18 months, who wasn’t exactly known for his eternal optimism.  He is the closest human embodiment to “The Grinch” that I can imagine.  I would be the first female Exec of the organization, after a long list of old, white guys….  In a very conservative industry, to boot.  However, the pay increase was substantial and the chance to see if I could grow an organization was risky, but an attractive challenge nonetheless.

When I decided to leave, it was not about the money.  My former place of employment was a place I loved.  But personal & professional growth was pretty much maxed-out.  There were two deal-makers for me:

#1:  When I chatted to my boss about my possibility of leaving, I was told I could be easily replaced. 

#2:  When I spoke to a person on the Board of Directors that I trusted of my current organization, he assured me it was the right decision to move and he vehemently supported the existing Exec…  Amid major concerns about his performance throughout the industry, here was a guy who was supporting him to the end.  His support was immensely attractive to me, especially given the conversation I just had with my previous boss. 

I took the job.  Within six months of becoming President, the same supportive guy in statement #2, told me “if you ever have kids, it would be a travesty.”  I remember the word “travesty” because it is such a dramatic statement, and a word that I never use.  I only responded “well, you don’t have to worry about that in the immediate future.” 

Now here I am, in my late 30s, thinking about having kids.  This comment was made under two years ago.  I am assuming his opinions haven’t changed.  I am scared sh&#less about telling my Board.  This guy (we will call him #2) is on my executive committee.  Puke, puke, puke.

His poor attitude will not deter me.  If I am able, I will have kids.  Screw that guy.  I am just nervous about telling him.  UGH!

This organization is so outdated, that I had to draft an employee handbook from scratch.  I can’t even remember what our maternity leave policy is at this point.  I am guessing it is equivalent to California’s minimum standard, which is six weeks.  I think I deserve more, so I get to negotiate this with my Chairman.  Maybe that is a way to break the ice.  I should figure this out before I get preggars!  What do you think?  HA!

Anyway, I want to list the blow-by-blows so I can remember them as I move through life.  Because they are just as important as the wins in life.  Maybe more important, even.  This is how you grow.