Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Eyes have been Opened

This is a difficult post for me to write, because I don't want to be specific enough to call any attention to the employer I still work for. But it is becoming obvious to me that I'm not going anywhere with them. I will likely stay for as long as I can stand it, because in working from home, I am mostly isolated from the office politics and climate. One day it may prove to be a little too much, though. Let me explain.

Two years into my job there, while I was still working in the office, a prominent woman manager decided to leave her position to go back to engineering at another company. Since I had done the same job she was vacating at another company in the late 90s/early 00s, I put in my resume along with three references who were familiar with my work in that capacity. I did this while the woman was still in her job, as soon as she told me she was vacating it. I was early to the line. Well, I was told, "Oh, no need to send references just yet. We aren't that far into the process." They formally interviewed a couple of men for the position, and all I got was a sit down chat with one of the VPs, mostly asking, "Why do you want to do this? Don't you like the job you have now?" A man got the job. He lives and works in another state (in one of our other offices) and runs the department here. I am told he had been being groomed for the job for awhile (by a secret source).

I took it (inside) hard. But I got over it and went on.

Later, a position opened up in Marketing that was exactly like the one I did during my last two years at OldCompany. I was perfect for that job, too. I talked to the VPs and my boss about it and got approval to send my resume over to the hiring manager. She was supposed to call me in for an interview. It never happened. They hired someone from outside the company. By this time, I'm starting to get a little paranoid. Don't they like my work? Have I done something wrong? I moved on. I got over that, too.

But yesterday, I found out that one of my own co-workers is going to be working with Marketing a day a week. That because of his work hours (11 am - 7 or 8 pm) and because he schmoozes quite a bit with the "right" people, he made himself appear to be perfect for the position. He was "in the right place at the right time," I was told by MySource. I was pretty steamed, as you can imagine. Then I started looking at the org chart. We have one - exactly one - Associate VP who is female. The only middle managers who are female are in HR. I guess I never noticed it before becaues I tried not to. I didn't want to be the woman who beat her chest and cried foul. It's too hard, and it always seems like there is something unsavory about being that person.

What to do.

I had a long chat with MySource and vented. It was the only thing I could do. When he said that because I worked from home, I couldn't expect to have the same visibility or opportunities as someone in the office, I was ready with two comments:

1) When I applied for the first job, I was not working from home.
2) At least one MALE has been promoted to AVP while working from home. And that person always worked from home.

MySource just continued to make it sound like the fact that I worked from the "comfort" of my home was a trade-off. As if I don't work EVERY BIT as hard as people in the office! And I don't cut into my 8-hour day with smoke breaks (don't smoke), schmoozing, lunch out with the co-workers, or general loafing. I work a solid 8 hours and am even more productive now than I was in the office (which is amazing, because I've always been very productive). That comment just really ticked me off.

I sent out a couple of resumes in the late afternoon just before my stress-induced headache took over. Yes, it would mean giving up working from home, but I am having a lot of trouble respecting my company right now. My eyes have been opened.

I even started looking into jobs in tech writing that are science-based. I would need to have a science degree, so I looked into getting a second bachelor's in a science discipline instead of going for my MFA. It's a sure thing (a work-advancing degree) versus investing in my creative side. Not sure what I'm going to do yet.

But suddenly I saw the faces of all our female engineers in my mind, all of the women who work every bit as hard as the men but know they will never get promoted. I started realizing that most of them came from a single country that has a different view of men and women. What has happened to me is just a symptom of a disease that I may have to, at some point, amputate myself from the main body (of the company) to get away from.

It disgusts me.



Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Oh, Lord. I hate the corporate world and all the BS that comes with it. I hate the "good 'ole boy" mentality and the idea that those who work from home or who work flexible, yet 8 solid, hours are thought of as less than committed to their jobs. It's why I left to become a scuba instructor. Worse pay but better than all that crap.

Akelamalu said...

Sounds to me like you are being discriminated against. Do the company have a HR department you can take it up with? If you are thinking of leaving you have nothing to lose in making a complaint.

Daryl E said...

That truly stinks. Its never easy to climb the corporate ladder but I will give you a piece of advice someone gave me. Next time you submit your resume .. follow up .. keep after whoever you gave it to until you get the interview. Do not wait for someone to get back to you. The squeaky wheel gets oiled. AND be very very careful in whom you confide...

Good luck .. Daryl

CrazyCath said...

That stinks. So does the attitude in the post below (ageism). Is there anyone you can take it up with or is it better to cut and run?

Hope you find what you are looking for. (First though, find out what it is that you seek.)


Momma said...

CMGD - I hear you, but right now, I need every dime I'm making. It sucks for sure.

Akela - I'm not going to bother with HR. In my experience, they never really want to hear about anything like this. But when I get around to leaving (maybe after the recession is over?) they will hear about this as being the root cause I will be leaving.

Daryl - Yes, I have a dear friend I work with, and I haven't even told her. I won't. I don't trust anyone within the confines of business, because I've been burned before. And you're right, I should have chased down that interview. My fault.

Cath - I hear you loud and clear. Thankfully today was my regularly scheduled therapist appointment. She played sounding board for me, and I felt much better. It still sucks, but I need to hang tight for the time being.

Peace - D

Don Mills Diva said...

If I were in a different, a better frame, of mind I might advise you to rail and protest and change the world but I feel a little beaten myself these days so I can only offer sympathy.

It sucks, sorry.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

I was a victim of the "work from home" perception of not doing anything. I ended up quitting my job over it because I could not stand for the office politics that reared its ugly head as a consequence. For me to have gone back into the office (after the way the situation was handled) would have been suicide in the making. So I quit. We needed my income, but another opportunity presented itself after the fact. The old adage 'when god shuts a door he opens a window' certainly proved true for me. I hope you find a good solution.