SO, I'm not an overly political person. What feels like centuries ago, I lived and breathed news and politics. I lived in Washington, D.C. for four years after grad school for journalism in New York City. I read the newspaper daily, watched the news regularly, and my resume is dotted with time spent fighting the good fight for various media outlets and Congressmen before settling into my current profession. Note: that's not blogging. ;)
After I left donated my winter coats and escaped D.C., I was beyond burnt out on all things politics. Living there and seeing the things I saw on the daily left me jaded and fairly uninterested in watching cable news ever again. I barely discuss politics anymore unless pressed, other than my (still) deep-seeded love and appreciation for the history and patriotism of this country. 'Murica.
And unless you're living under a rock these days, you know there's a pretty ugly election season happening right now.
Oh you didn't notice? Lucky you.
I have no interest in discussing that here, in my pretty little corner of the internet. Nada, zilch, zero.
BUT, one thing that's poked its head up out of this ugliness has spurred some memories for me, which I thought I'd share. The whole idea of how women are addressed in the workplace, as well as in general. That, to me, is worth talking about - candidates and presidential elections and political parties completely, 100% aside.
Some of the dialogue lately has reminded me of all the times I've been called sweetie at work. Or reminded how petite I am, how young I look. Been stared at doubtfully, assuming I didn't know what I was talking about (spoiler alert - I usually did). Or asked "Whose daughter are you?" And "So are you an intern or something?" (<-- that one said by a woman, mind you).
I once had someone at work in a government agency ask to see my license, because they didn't believe my age.
Watched a male manager do his very best to routinely intimidate all of the younger women on my team until they were in my office in tears. And no, none of them deserved it.
And the many times I was instructed to make copies, or remind the male leads of a project I was working on about their upcoming meetings or calls, even though it was not even close to related to my job scope. But because I was on the communications team (read: 99% women), and we were told that that just should be our responsibility. It was okay that I had a ton of other work and didn't need to do glorified secretarial tasks.
I did it all, along with my coworkers, without batting an eye, because I'm a team player and my parents raised me to pull my own weight. But looking back, was it fair that only the young female employees were told to do tasks like making the copies for a meeting? Probs not, guys.
Being a tiny gal (i.e., petite), I've become accustomed to most of this talk, and don't let it faze me anymore. I learned to laugh about it, be self-deprecating. I'm sure most women have learned to do that to offset the characteristics about them that others find awkwardly worth discussing. Men, too. But is that something worth having to get used to? Is it necessary?
Now, trust - overall, I've not really had a difficult time of it, so this isn't an essay about the suffering of a basic white 30-year old female. For the most part, l've been very lucky in my career to have worked with really wonderful, fair people. It's just interesting to reflect, don't you think? And locker room talk or not, both women and men can be guilty of degrading their colleagues. Wouldn't it be nice if we built each other up instead of assuming the worst, or knocking one another down?
So, let's just be nicer to each other, yeah? And more respectful of everyone's abilities - regardless of whether or not he/she looks like they're up to the challenge.
Okay. No more election talk here. Get back to celebrating your Friday.