Sexism in the Workplace, and Other Demeaning Assumptions

Work

I work in downtown Seattle at a prestigious, national firm in a male-dominated industry. [Think of the TV show Mad Men.] I spend part of my day answering the telephones. I’ve been with the firm for nearly four years and my role is extremely important. One might say that I am vital for many of the regular day-to-day operations.

And yet, I feel like my job is lowly and unappreciated. I once fielded a phone call that was highly offensive and demeaning, and yet I think it is the stereotypical belief. “Can you help me, or are you just the receptionist?”

Another time I got a call, and I was able to efficiently assist the very frustrated caller. He thanked me by saying, “I generally don’t like to work with women, but you’re okay.” Oh jeepers, sir, thanks so much for such a shining compliment!

And then, more recently, this:

Caller: Hi, can you connect me to P (man)?
Me: I’m sorry, he’s currently unavailable. Would you like his voicemail or someone on his team?
Caller: Sure, send me to his secretary.
Me: One moment, please, while I check who is available.
*pause*
Me: It’s my pleasure to connect you to H (man).
Caller: *hysterical laughter* His secretary is a man!
Me: I’ll connect you now.

I wish I could have said Amazing right? Also, did you hear the crazy news that women can now VOTE! What’s the world coming to?!

There’s just not much respect, even today.

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