1. Hiring me for all the wrong reasons
I’ve been hired at two separate companies for a job that I knew I would like and that I was qualified for. However, I wasn’t brought on for the right reasons. The first one, apparently hired me for a position that wasn’t open then tried texting me every day outside of work because apparently he went out on a limb to get me in there. Dude, you almost got yourself canned for thinking wth your dick. The second, tried to pay me to sleep with him. Another company hired me “because [I] was hot” which I didn’t find out until I was told that’s what the hiring manager told a colleague after my interview. That job worked out just fine, actually. I got respect by doing my job well which was a nice surprise.
Also, I completely forgot about the workplace harassment! It was actually women who were the culprits no matter how modestly I dressed, ridiculously kind I was, or how far out of my way I went to prove myself valuable in job skills/intelligence.
2. She stuck it out and actually did really well
Years ago when I was still doing user support our CEO brought in a new executive assistant. She was young and extremely attractive. I generally tried to keep out of all the office politics etc., and didn’t mix with anyone I worked with socially. So I had a different perspective on what happened than most.
The new assistant had a lot of stuff to learn. There was a lot of software that she needed to know and frankly I think she was underqualified for the job, but she got it because her boss liked the look of her.
The guys in the office were mostly neutral but a lot of the type of harassment that you’re describing came from the other women, especially the older assistants.
But that kid stuck it out. She worked her butt off and amongst other things developed a reputation with the IT support guys for someone who never bugged us with anything she didn’t have to and took care of stuff that was actually our jobs (set up her own PC, researched licensing issues) without ever being asked.
Within a year she had more friends in the office than anyone else and was a very effective worker. She transferred out from under the jerk who hired her and wound up working for the CFO and got involved in a lot of stuff that was way over her pay grade.
Not sure why I shared all that. I was just thinking about her the other day and it was fresh in my mind.
3. They think I should be a trophy wife
No one takes me seriously. They assume that I’m stupid and even when I prove that I’m not, there’s still that feeling. It’s even been implied that I’d do best as a trophy wife by a manager before.
4. The jokes aren’t funny
This is my issue as a blonde/ blue eyed girl! I’m conventionally attractive enough for folks to automatically assume I’m an idiot, because OMG Blondes Are Dumb, aren’t they?! And then when I object to the stereotype, I get a lot of “well, you’re not dumb, so why do you have an issue with it?!”
5. Socializing at work is tough
I have to be careful about going out drinking with male friends. After a few drinks, it’s not uncommon for them to get flirty (even if they’re in a relationship) and I hate having to find a non-awkward way to shut them down while somehow maintaining our friendship. Is it the most awful thing in the world? No. But I wish it wasn’t something I had to constantly worry about.
6. Have to act less attractive
I used to get unwanted attention if I dressed up when I was younger, so I “fixed” my walk so that there was no hip swinging, my head was straight, kind of ghost-like gliding, I dressed like a Tom boy most of the time, and put no effort in my daily look. You’ve got to be careful with guy friends, especially being single because you never know when someone develops feelings.
7. I can’t enjoy my hobbies
This is the most first-world of problems for me but, I’m a gamer, comic book nerd and all around music/band nerd.
I constantly get completely ignored or side-eyed if I ever try to engage in any of these communities. I stick to my hobbies at home with the small number of friends who know me well and don’t treat me like an imposter.
Despite wanting to get into cosplay, I don’t have it in me for the attention it would bring and yet another layer of “you don’t know anything, you just want the attention” – which is so much salt in the wound.
8. Male supervisors don’t take me seriously
I’m fairly young (mid twenties) and have had a hard time advancing in the workplace despite getting more responsibility at work. I was told by the HR person in charge of the hiring committee for the internal transfer I applied for that I didn’t have a chance because older male coworkers wont take me seriously and could get distracted.
I put in a complaint with the VP of staff and left that job.
9. Nobody expects anything from me
In college and grad school I had multiple professors tell me that they had drastically underestimated me based on my appearance, and pretty much ignored me for the first half of a semester before they began seeing my work. I remember one, who I generally really liked, mention me in front of the class, stating “nobody would ever guess by looking at you!” I always wanted to say that maybe they shouldn’t assess students based on superficial guesses. Instead, they should treat everyone the same, at least until they got to know what they were capable of.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t much to be done in any particular situation. Personality (even a very biased perception of personality) often a primary factor when hiring and promoting people in the workplace. It’s a systematic cultural problem, much more so than deliberate choices. I’ve often felt that I had to choose between getting perceived as the cute, nonthreatening, person who can get walked-over, or a no-fun, domineering witch. I’m still not sure which is the better option.
Sadly, these responses, more often than not, come from men and women I genuinely like and respect. The thing is, an individual doesn’t need to be sexist to behave in a way that reflects a sexist culture. (As much as I continually try to change my thinking, I still find myself unfairly judging women all too regularly.) Gender disparities are so deeply ingrained in our culture, and across cultures, that we are rarely aware of how much they affect our perception.