I decided to share some lows of my journey, in case you are feeling you don't belong where you are. We all have been there, don't worry.
My journey started 12 years ago, but I don't want to focus in the beginning, just in the last 7 years of real professional experience. This post is for all the women that are called crazy, bossy, mad and emotional.
I was called crazy for the first time after quitting my first job, when I was 18. I just couldn't stand the dumb blond jokes and comments about my appearance. After asking my manager politely to stop doing it, he said he wouldn’t because it was funny and I needed to learn how to accept jokes.
"Oh, you had chosen this career, you know this would happen, just ignore and keep working."
That's what everyone said to me, and I don't regret I left and would do it again, probably even sooner.
In my third job I got to work in the company of my dreams as a full time. I was so proud of myself. But then I started to hear comments as "you just passed the interview because they need to fill 25% of the spots with women" or "who did you know inside the company to get that job?" because of course, I couldn't get the job by myself. 😒
In the first month working there, I was really lucky to be in a team that the product was moving from another country to ours (Brazil), we were having a lot of sessions with the other team and the support team to understand the product entirely. In one of those meetings with the support, a guy thought the demo was taking too long and decided to access facebook. He searched for a woman name and started making inadequate comments about her (how "hot" she was, and down under) which made me feel pretty uncomfortable (8 people in the room, I was the only woman). It was too much for me, so I left the meeting room.
After a few days, this same guy sent me a message in the company internal communicator tool. He asked me to book a room and teach him about taxes, as I had a pretty solid knowledge on that. I thought it would be nice share with the entire team, so I said I was going to book the room with the team and send the meeting to him as well. He wasn't happy with the answer and insisted on being only him and me. I started feeling uncomfortable until he left the masterpiece saying: "ok, btw I saw your facebook pictures, they are REALLY nice" (with caps in the really, yes).
I went home, cried like hell, started to feel guilty, I should not be posting stuff on social media, and it was my fault. After a lot of talk with friends and family, decided to talk to my manager, even afraid of losing my dream job.
My manager reaction after I showed him the conversation and explained the context: he gave a big laugh. He said I was beautiful and I needed to understand that in our area we have a lot of men and they are not used to work with women, so they don't know how to behave. Even he sometimes needed to watch himself (he was describing men as animals that could not control themselves). Nevertheless, my manager said he could talk with the other guy's manager. He said that the guy would be fired and that would end his career and it was on my hands to decide. Of course, I said I didn't want to ruin his life and we should keep it off.
"Carol, when you want to be sweet you are really sweet, we don't like your bossy side. We want the sweet Carol"
A lot happened in the time I spent in this company. Everytime I tried to expose my opinion in technical meetings I was bossy. When I explained something to the other colleagues, and they don't agree with it (without arguments) some of them would repeat exactly what I said, and everyone would agree with.
There were episodes where people made me cry in meetings, talking nonsense shit and I still had to hear things like: "yes, she is a woman, she is emotional". When I tried to report multiple situations, my manager made me feel like I was the problem. I was the crazy one, I did several emotional intelligence training thinking I was the problem, until I started talking with other women and figured out all of them felt the same way.
PS: I never exposed this before because this entire company is pretty good, but I was unlucky to have a sexist manager that manipulated other women and me.
A few years ago, I decided it was time to move to something I believe the values would match mine.
TL;DR: where I would be treated as human regardless of my gender.
So I came to Thinkific, where I am happily working for almost 2 years, and it's a place where I feel safe, I have a voice to expose my opinions and debate healthily technical challenges and have awesome people that are always there for me. I can be myself again, I am getting out of the shell trying to empower and lift up my other SUPER AMAZING colleagues :)
- Don't let anyone put a label on you, you are AWESOME, and everything will be alright. If you need someone to talk to, please go to your female community, if you don't have one, create a new one!
- Support initiatives for women in any field, we can do anything we want to, sometimes we just need a push or a role model 😄
- Never give up, even when you go home and cry lots because of some situations, try to use it to make you stronger! You are a kick-ass woman, and you deserve to get where you want to.
- Study a lot, to grow your knowledge and share in the community! ❤️
- If you see something wrong, speak up! Any type of disrespect is not acceptable. Fight for a better and inclusive place for everyone!
- Accept that you have privileges and use it to empower other less privileged groups.
And if I can help you with something, just send me an email!