Thursday, April 30, 2009

Respect or lack there of (vent)

One of the things that I deal with in my job and throughout my career as an engineer or in school is respect. During my undergraduate days it wasn’t a big deal. Around the time that I got to my upper level classes the guys I was in class with generally got the idea that the women left could cut it and basically gave us the respect we deserved. The same stands true for graduate school. I receive the amount of respect that I should and am very rarely talked down to in a class setting or talking to a professor

When I got my first engineering job I expected for there to be a lot of problems with the guys in the office and hanger but I was surprised at what I found. I was respected and seen as someone who knew what they were talking about. I got a little bit of resistance from guys when I went on trips but a few hours into it that faded and the problems were no longer an issue. In part I have to say that this was easier for me since the manager that I had was a woman and had in a way cleared the path. Granted we were complete opposite personalities but I think she did make it so that when I was starting out in the field it wasn’t as hard as it could have been.

At my current job it’s all different. Apparently I scare the guys I work with to a degree. When I initially got here things were fine. The boss I had at the time was great and I had no problems except for another woman in my group (but she has since left and that’s a whole other story). When this boss decided to leave the guys up north appointed one of the other guys in my group supervisor until someone else could be found. This is when things started getting bad. The comments about my eating started, the guys in my group started talking much worse. Things just snowballed very quickly. With in a few months of him leaving I found myself in a bad situation. The lack of respect that I got and continue to get when it comes to school and my knowledge of things would amaze you. I sit next to a guy who mainly complains about his older daughter. Calling her all kinds of names and even cussing her out on the phone right beside me is a little much. I also at least once a week get treated to a rather heated argument with his wife. The other guy that sits right on the other side of the cube wall from me has basically proclaimed that he has very little to do with his three kids and considers himself a sperm donor and the kids are his wife’s problem. This is the same guy that had the bravado to say that W must give Butters Benadryl sometimes so he will sleep and W can play video games!

I used to be able to overlook all this stuff, but after having Butters I could never imagine talking like his. Yes W and I have our disagreements but I try not to have them in the office and not bring it into the work place at all. I’m also not saying that Butters is always an angel and does no wrong. What I am saying is no madder how bad of a night I have with him or how much his 2 year old antics frustrate me I don’t talk bad about him at the office. Same goes for Mac when she’s around. I would never talk to others about how bad they are or what all they did wrong. That kind of stuff to me is meant to stay at home and not air out your “dirty laundry” at the office.

Also I want to make a distinction here. Talking to friends that have kids the same age about the interesting behaviors and quirks that are going on is completely different than talking about your kind in an entirely negative manner.

I’m not trying to sound feminist or anything about the respect issue but I get a little irritated when I hear the same things every week at work. I do my best to show these guys respect but at times it’s very hard when they show basically none to me in return. I guess I feel that inappropriate comments and complaining about your wife, kids, dogs ect should be kept out of the workplace to an extent and not voiced so loudly that everyone around can hear it. Also I really wish these guys would show a certain amount of respect in the work place towards myself and their own families in the way they talk about them.


Jonathan Creekmore said...

So, you are saying that all you want is a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T?

Glenni Lorick said...

Great post...everybody deserves to be treated with respect. The very fact that you are holding down 2 full-time jobs (mommy and engineer) and getting an advanced degree while carrying your second baby qualifies you for more than just "a little respect." I'm actually thinking maybe a "Superwoman" award might be in order!