Empowerment

In all of my years on this earth, I’ve never waved the flag of sexism or felt as if I was being discriminated against for being a woman.  That is, not until recently.  Before I go farther, this is not a political post and is not directed at the administration.  This is truly a case of gender bias that I have noticed steadily increasing in my work space.  I’ve had enough, and recently I spoke out.

In my real life, I work in a position where I am handling reporting and analytics for a B2B sales team.  I’ve done this type of work for 16 of my 17 years at this company – if I can toot my own horn, I am damn good at what I do.  In addition to the reports and commissions, I am also the administrator of the CRM system and have to be responsible for training.  Most sales associates hate change and training rates right slightly below in the dislike department.  I’m used to grumblings and the lack of interaction during sessions.  In fact, I make jokes about it when I train.  I know I have little to know respect from the sales team, but for many years that didn’t matter to me, because I had it from the sales manager.  While we would often argue, we both had the best interest of the sales team in mind and had mutual respect for one another.

A little more than a year ago, the sales organization under went a transformation in management.  A new Director was hired and my friendly manager had to begin reporting to this guy.  He started hiring his cronies from his previous place of employment and wouldn’t you know it, they started running off any and all women that were on the sales team.  The comments were along the lines of, “they have no idea what they are doing,” “how can they not understand how to build a pipeline?”  When in fact, most of them were more successful than most of the men on staff.

A few weeks ago, I was being blamed, yet again, for an issue in the CRM that is the sole responsibility of the sales associates.  I was on the phone with the Director and one of his managers, who happens to be one of his best friends.  During this call he asked for something and I told him ‘no.’ He didn’t like my answer and attempted to not only argue with me but ask the Director to circumvent my authority to have his son do this on his behalf (note: The Director’s son was my intern for the summer).  I calmly explained that the son didn’t work for his dad, he worked for me and he would do the work I gave him to do and nothing more.  The call escalated and I stood my ground, going as far as hanging up on them.

I immediately told my boss, who happens to be the Executive VP.  I also identified that I will not work with a group of individuals who are so disrespectful.  There are some other things that happened and I won’t bore you with those details.  But I will say that my EVP supported me – agreed with my decision – and helped me to move up and onward.  The problem is that those folks are still here and they are still treating others the same way.  Yes, I stood up for me, but my standing up didn’t do anything for anyone else. Even though HR is aware and upper management is aware, the problem still persists.

Ladies, don’t stay silent.  I will admit I felt guilty and questioned whether what I had done was the right thing or not.  At my age, I was conditioned as a young girl to stay silent – nice girls don’t speak up for this sort of thing.  I’m about to speak up again because the person that will take over the position I am vacating will be coming in at a salary near mine and I have been here 17 years and will still be doing 3x’s the work she will be.

Find the line, don’t be bitchy and ugly.  But be firm and strong and know your worth and value and don’t let anyone tell you that just because you are a woman that you are inferior.

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