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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Respect

 Back during that utterly mad time when the company I’d worked for, for nearly 30 years, had just been bought, there were giant, seismic shifts happening daily. Those changes weren’t just occurring at work. My hearing was slip sliding away — each day I woke with a wee bit less.

I’d been the training director but the new owners had eliminated the Human Resources department. Then I was the assistant to the VP of Sales but my hearing had collapsed to the point that I couldn’t hear on the phone anymore. This was before we all had internet access, email and instant messaging.

I figured my time with the company was short, that the clock was ticking but then...then...I was moved into a prepress/customer service position.

We had internet access there. I was emailing and IMing with customers, performing minor preflighting functions as well as continuing with some market research tasks for the sales VP. I wasn’t teaching or devising training classes and programs BUT I was employed — nearly deaf and employed.

I was ready to breathe out, to relax into learning my new gig without the benefit of hearing, training or any real guidance. This was a steep hill but I could make it.

And then a new manager came on board. He was the most unprofessional dude I’d ever encountered and, yes, that includes all the folks I worked with and for during my carnival years. I couldn’t figure how this total putz had gotten the gig. He was crass, sloppy and clearly (to me anyway) a big talker, not a doer. He claimed to have big ideas. Maybe he did but he’d been hired to manage a large crew of print-workers. He had to do more than just HAVE those those grand ideas — he had to bring them to life.

One day, I needed assistance on an order. There was a prob. Crass Manager Man had all the time in the universe to jaw with upper management and the worker bees who made up his usual barhopping team. Me? An employee who needed to discuss an issue on a big job? Eh, not so much.

I had a customer relying on me to make her print job work. There was good money involved. Manager Guy just HAD to listen and help. How’d this Crass Manager Man respond when I countered his initial flip, blow off response with “no really, can you advise me on this?”

He said “I’m busy sweetheart” and then made a spectacularly ill considered, flat out stupid and vulgar move. He started flicking his tongue at me. You know, the way a drunk frat boy might do in order to demo for his buddies how slick, awesome and lady pleasin’ he is.

//shudder//

 Yes, this was my manager and he did this in front of the entire prepress department. Bet he thought he was making a good show — teaching the boys the best way to handle an uppity broad.

At first I felt humiliated and stunned. I realized “Criminy, I’ve just been sexually harassed!” And then the steaming rage began. I waited until I knew I could talk about what went down without screaming before I walked upstairs to the big boy’s offices. I didn't know how they'd react or what I'd do if they told me to shut up and go back to my desk. All I knew at that moment was that I was not gonna take this sort of bullshit.

I explained to Ed and Rick (one of the VPs and one of the CEOs) what happened. To my big, fat surprise they took me very seriously.

I don’t know what immediate action they took but something was definitely done. Awkward as it was, I didn’t have to report to him on anything anymore. I got the assistance I needed on jobs from folks who actually knew their jobs.

The asshole CMM never apologized. That was fine — I didn’t want him within 10 feet of me.
Shortly afterward, Braindead Boy was transferred out to a small suburban location — a storefront with a wee production department. It was a BIG demotion. Ahhhh, I love the smell of karma in the morning. It smells like victory!

The shop was a mere ten miles away but so far out of the main action, off the big scene that we all referred to it as Siberia. When an employee was transferred there we knew their time with the company was short.

And it was. He wasn’t fired because of his disgustingly coarse behavior towards me. His job performance was saturated with this astoundingly poor judgement. I’m amazed (still!) that he lasted as long as he did.

What brings this to mind this morning? Eh. The news. We’ve come so far and yet we’re still so many goddamned lightyears from equality and respect.

There’s Scott Brown’s stunted, bullying followers and their colossal senses of entitlement.

We can still lose our jobs for complaining about harassment.

And receive harassment, threats of rape and death for publishing research that’s deemed unflattering by the guy dominated gaming crowd.

Aretha — Respect

2 comments:

  1. I remember this time quite well, actually... I never did hear how it played out. What's that word? 'Just'.

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    Replies
    1. sometimes it's overlong in coming . sometimes it never comes. happily, for me, I got the last laugh.

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