it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I’ve been following your blog on and off for years for the wacky workplace stories, but my most recent job search has really shown where your site shines: not just resume, cover letter, and interview advice but a commitment to high standards.

My job search was made necessary by poor working conditions that were having extremely negative effects on my mental health. I liked the job but I ultimately had to quit for my own well-being. Your blog was absolutely invaluable for navigating this difficult decision and making a choice that felt right not just emotionally but logically, and helped me find the right words to tell my boss.

And then: obviously I had been interviewing before quitting, thanks to your excellent resume and cover letter advice, and the week after I quit I had two phone screenings and three interviews! Following that week of interviews, I received several offers for okay jobs I would have been fine with accepting but which wouldn’t have moved my career forward at all…and I was also moved forward in the much-longer interview process for a much, much better job.

None of the jobs I interviewed for threw up loads of red flags, but reading your blog let me really assess which job I wanted the most…and it has very literally paid off. I turned down the okay jobs and moved forward in the interview process for the better position and my final interviewer cut our interview slot short to go get my offer letter started! I’ve signed it and I’ll be starting my new position soon. I’ll make 70% more money, I’ll be salaried, I’ll have better benefits and way more vacation, I’ll work from home, and I’ll have a company behind me who wants to advance my career.

I know I definitely wouldn’t have had it in me to turn down several other job offers to pursue this opportunity if I wasn’t one of your readers. Your posts have been invaluable for thinking about what I actually wanted out of my next job, where I wanted my career to go, and what’s actually important to me. I look forward to reading for many more years!”

2.  “My Friday good news is actually bad news. I Zoom interviewed today for a job I really wanted: It was right up my alley and the internal recruiter made it sound like the company was forward-thinking with an open, inclusive culture.

I interviewed with the man who would be my supervisor and he seemed quite pleasant and did all he could to salvage my interview. Unfortunately, his boss steamrolled him and lectured me about the fact I would need to wear a uniform and safety gear, which is the norm and has been since I started 30 years ago.

Then the big boss launched into how clean the bathrooms were and the fact they had refrigerators in the breakroom. My breaking point was when he said, ‘You’ll be the only girl out of 200 men and you know what that means.’

I replied, ‘I’m a woman, not a girl. And I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean. I’m the only woman in my current job and it has no bearing on how I perform my job functions. How is your environment different?’

‘Erm, uh. Well, you know. Boys will be boys.’

I thanked them both for their time and ended the interview.

I want to thank you for the many, many times you’ve pointed out that interviews are two-way streets and that I need to trust my gut instincts and heed the red flags. I don’t need to put up with sexist behavior for the privilege of having a job. They need me worse than I need them and I don’t have to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

3.  “I can’t believe it’s my turn to share the good news! I’ve been job hunting for a while after feeling undervalued, overlooked and underpaid. It’s been a tough ride, with refusals, long processes and no-replies, but then it got even worse – my boss found out I was job hunting. He offered me a small promotion seeing that I can leave, which I was ready to take (I can now see that it’s a bad idea as otherwise I’d have to threaten to leave every time I wanted progression). Well, I’ve just been offered a C-level role, a couple of levels above my current role, with more than double pay in an amazing organisation. So surprised, pleased and relieved. Your blog helped a lot to navigate the leaving and the job hunting situation – thank you! Shoot for the stars folks and always look if you feel you’re not growing and not being appreciated.”

{ 151 comments… read them below }

    1. cityMouse*

      Holy crap, OP2…. Isn’t that illegal? If it were me, I would report that interaction.

      Wow, bullet dodged indeed!

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Not disagreeing with your sentiment, here. I’m working through this out of perverse curiosity.
        To review, he implied, but did not overtly state that the men in his employ would not be held responsible for unprofessional behavior (not specifying sexual, but talking about “boys and girls” makes it pretty clear). He did not say that X WILL happen, just that it probably would.
        But it does fall under actionable if/when OP experiences harassment at this job. If OP wanted to blow up the joint, “I was told that “boys will be boys” during my interview with supervisor who was present.”
        His words weren’t illegal, I don’t think. Until something happens.*
        You can say, “I’m going to rob that bank.”
        But if it gets robbed, your words are admissible.

        *unless stating “this may happen and I don’t care” is itself harassment. Added to, calling OP a girl, I think it had indeed already started.

        1. fogharty*

          Women are “girls”.
          Men are men, until they are “boys” which will be boys.
          You saw that red flag and got out of the way! Good going!

          1. Boop*

            Spotted this too! Extremely telling that he used “men” in relation to OP being a “girl”, but “boys” in relation to the current employees’ behavior with each other. Boys are just boys amongst themselves, but they are MEN to any woman hanging around. YIKES.

        1. Zelda*

          I doubt what was *said* in the interview was itself illegal, but it is by golly a warning that boatloads of illegal things are actually *happening* on the job. Well done LW2.

    2. Engineer Woman*

      Great reply, #2. It’s absolutely good news that you learned early on what a horrible misogynistic environment it would be and save you the trouble of investing any more time with them.

    3. Momma Bear*

      Yikes, OP2. I’d tell the recruiter that the company is misrepresenting the culture – or maybe the recruiter is misrepresenting them…either way, I’m glad you didn’t continue with them.

      1. LW #2*

        I made a separate comment with an update, but I did speak to the recruiter afterward and he was livid. He didn’t understand because the big boss had never shown that sort of behavior when hiring female production workers and engineers and such. That left me with the unspoken conclusion, because I am middle-aged and not very decorative, that he was an even bigger creep than he came off to me. I expect to read about a lawsuit because of him in a couple years.

        The big boss also slammed “Silicon Valley nonsense” in my interview, so I’m pretty sure it’s him that’s not upholding the culture.

        1. Candi*

          The other thing that bothered me was your 30 years’ experience just being… brushed aside like that. Or maybe ignored. Either way, infantilizing you, likely due your gender. Acting like you need to be taught norms because female. He needs a whack over the head with some Level A PPE.

          1. LW #2*

            I’ve had interviewers (yes, multiple) look at my resume and ask if it’s really mine. I mean, I’ve heard of people fabricating degrees or bits of resumes, but the whole thing? And what would it gain me? If I couldn’t do the job, it would be blazingly obvious in a matter of days. Now, if I were a white male I could count on BS’ing them for 2 to 5 years until I got canned, but as a woman they’re looking for weaknesses from day 1.

            In fact, the people who hired me for my current job figured I would last about 2 weeks and were really surprised that I was a kickass electrician. When this was revealed to me after a couple years of employment, I asked WTF? One of them said I really seemed to know my stuff in the interview and my resume was impressive so they thought they’d take a chance that I was for real.

            1. else*

              Is there a plague of people that fakes their entire resume and qualifications? It sounds like these people think there is, and specifically a female one. We don’t have evidence, but I’m going to reach and assume they also think there is a BIPOC one, going by how those attitudes generally roll.

        2. tamarack & fireweed*

          I came to say, oh, wow LW #2. From one middle-aged woman in a male-dominated field to another: solidarity.

          You handled that so well, and to the extent one can possibly expect, will have left an impression on the bystanders.

    4. peachy*

      Right? That wasn’t just a red flag; hearing “boys will be boys” from the hiring manager during an interview is a Pamplona bull run.

  1. Lucious*

    ‘Erm, uh. Well, you know. Boys will be boys.’

    Ugh. Good on you for turning that opportunity( for abuse!) down. I wouldn’t be surprised if that place’s management blamed their abysmal turnover/time to hire metrics on “people just aren’t willing to work!”

    1. OP 1*

      Thank you! They didn’t list the salary in the job listing so I was shocked when the internal recruiter told me the salary range during our phone interview, haha. And very pleased, both because it was so high and because he volunteered the information instead of making me ask. Immediate good vibes that continued through the hiring and onboarding process.

      (Although it won’t be hard for them to clear my bar for a good onboarding because at my last position HR forgot I was starting work that day and I wound up going over my benefits with the HR rep in a room where the lights didn’t work right…in retrospect, not a shock that the organization as a whole turned out to have problems I couldn’t put up with!)

    1. a heather*

      Yeah, thanks for telling me my coworkers will be able to sexually harass me without consequence. No thanks!

      1. It's not Monday*

        But, hey, at least the restrooms are clean!
        Side note: I wonder whether they even had a women’s restroom in the work area or if OP #2 may need to go to another building to find one. Been there, done that.

        1. EPLawyer*

          Oh they had a super clean women’s restroom. Because you know, the gals care about stuff like that. Not you know, fair pay, not being sexually harassed at work, or having a reasonable boss.

        2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          I was waiting for the part where boss said she was expected to clean it. Like the woman who wrote in about the boss who said the fridge was gross.
          and then announced to the group, “hey guys, new woman is going to clean the fridge.”
          Or the OP whose boss called her slovenly and insulted her because she didn’t clean up after her male coworkers.

          1. Catalin*

            Ermagerd, I thought the same thing. Like “Look how clean our bathrooms are! (You’ll be cleaning them b/c, ya know, girl stuff!)

            Back in 2008, I interviewed at an elevator company for an administrative position and they cautioned me that there was a ‘trucker/mechanic culture’ and that I wouldn’t do well if I couldn’t put up with a bit of language or rowdiness from ‘the guys’.
            They also asked me what animal in the zoo I’d be. Super professional all around.

        3. LW #2*

          My job in 2015, I had to walk .5 mile to the nearest ladies’ room because I would not use the Porta-Pottie they stuck outside my shop.

          My job in 2011, there was a ladies’ room right behind my shop. I was told I could use it as a locker room. I wore my uniform into work instead. While I was not required to clean it, I was responsible for all plumbing repairs, fixing the stall doors and repairing the door closer when it started slamming us in the rear on the way out.

          I’m an electrician.

          1. Allornone*

            You must have skin as thick as a crocodile’s. While I’m sorry you’ve had to fight these battles, thank you for doing so. You pave an easier road for future female electricians.

            Of course, I’m saying this white-collar worker in the non-profit industry (one of the few that industries that, in my experience, tend to be female-dominated), so I’m doing nothing of the sort. I can only sit back and admire…

            1. LW #2*

              I sometimes joke with people and say I’m made of granite so all their silly little sticks and bone clubs can’t hurt me anymore. It’s a lie, of course. What this sort of thing does, though, is wear you down.

              It’s imperceptible damage, but I am so, so tired after 30 years of this. I’m not making any progress for myself or anyone else. When I started, there were a dozen or more women I knew personally who did what I did. Now there’s just me. The others retired, or became SAHM or realtors or insurance brokers. Anything that meant getting out of a male-dominated workforce.

              I join a company as the only woman in the field and when I quit because I can’t cope anymore, they go right back to being all-male. There are no younger women to replace me and I’m getting to the stage where I really regret my choice to stick with it all these years. It was a bitter battle, but I lost the war. The @$$holes won.

              1. Boof*

                I admire you for fighting the fight, I’m sorry to hear so little progress has been made :( Really hoping you get to a better place.

              2. OrigCassandra*

                I’m sorry I can’t hire you to fix stuff in my house.

                As a divorced woman living alone, I would adore being able to contract with all-female businesses.

                1. LW #2*

                  The thought of starting up a Ms. Fix-it operation has crossed my mind. I just finished renovating a bathroom and laying two laminate floors, so it’s not like I’m new at this. My neighbor hired me to replace all her window blinds because she didn’t like the idea of strange men tromping about her house, especially with Covid.

                2. Carol the happy elf*

                  There used to be a booklet at stores, where they put the weekly ads and free city papers. It was called “The Pink Pages”, and was a local directory of women-owned businesses. I used it a few times. Back in the day of phonebooks and landlines. Maybe something online? Or Chamber of Commerce has something like that?

                3. Not So NewReader*

                  LW2, Please seriously consider going on your own. I believe the stats say women are the number one head of household in the US. Just from my own experience, the women around me and myself included, prefer to hire women to help with house repairs. I am not saying chores, I mean the harder stuff.

                  For years I have watched male business owners around me swear by hiring women. “They work harder, do a neater job and actually show up when they are supposed to”, is what I am hearing business owners say.

                  I have a male friend who does handyperson work. He regularly turns down work because he’s got more than enough. He doesn’t advertise. Women on their own refer him to other women on their own.
                  The one thing that he does [important] he makes it very clear that his customers should make sure they are referring someone who will actually pay him. He’s been stuck a few times, once he started insisting that customers only refer people who are responsible about paying, he stopped getting stuck.

                4. Fluffy Kitty*

                  There is a lesbian couple in my city who are both tradespeople, and they have a “Ms Fix It” type business that is nonstop busy. They advertise in LGBT spaces, and we in the queer community love them. It’s an excellent business model!

                5. Candi*

                  “For years I have watched male business owners around me swear by hiring women. “They work harder, do a neater job and actually show up when they are supposed to”, is what I am hearing business owners say.”

                  I suspect part of that is women traditionally having to operate at +90% to get half the opportunities men at 50-60% do, especially in male-dominated fields. We’ve had to be better if we wanted half a chance.

                  @Carolthehappyelf: The Pink Pages live!, under a slightly different brand.


                  @LW2: I’m so sorry. I hope somewhere you made one small change whose cascading effects just haven’t been felt yet.

              3. LifeBeforeCorona*

                30 years in, I wouldn’t call it a loss. You know your value and there are young women out there who may appreciate that someone else did what you did. I admire your real definition of “gumption.” The assholes haven’t won because you are still standing.

              4. else*

                I’m so sorry. I don’t have a clue what sort of electrician you are, but there are several small firms near me that have been started up by women, transfolk, etc, and it’s very very clear that they maybe had extra motivation to become entrepreneurs.

    2. Eye roll*

      Can’t we make the interviewer uncomfortable on the way out?

      “You have children working here? Isn’t that a safety violation?”

      “What does that mean?”

      “Who oversees all these accommodated workers then? Surely you have normal men who are capable of being responsible and accountable?”

    3. Sleet Feet*

      I work in the opposite environment. There is maybe one or two men for 200+ women. It’s amazing how we dont brag about having a bathroom for them or go 100% feral couger when a new college grad walks in the door.

          1. Bug*

            AMEN. As a woman who has been asked that question in an interview, you are my hero, LW #2. Or should I say “shero?”

    1. All the Oxides*

      “You mean they play with Nerf guns on work time and talk about farts a lot?”
      -Coming from a college professor who teaches in a male-dominated field.

      1. LW #2*

        My current crop of all-male coworkers:
        Are obsessed with trading Crypto.
        Brag about crashing golf carts when they smuggle liquor onto the course.
        Talk about the lift-kits on their trucks.
        Complain about their girlfriend’s job not paying enough.
        Show off their latest tattoos, generally of their kids’ names or footprints.

        They are good ole’ boys to a one of them and they spend exactly 0% of the day sexually harassing me or complaining that working with a woman is cramping their style.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          Can’t think why you’d be job hunting…

          I’m in awe that you had the wherewithal to call them out in the moment. That takes quite some confidence and presence of mind. Well done!

        2. Feral Campsite Raccoon*

          These guys sound like a lovable bunch of dumb-a@$es, to be honest. Can you stay in that job?

          1. LW #2*

            Unfortunately, my workplace is full of bees. Bees who are closely related to each other. I can’t swing my hard hat without hitting 2 brothers, 3 sons, a nephew and a godson of both other employees and higher-ups. They are mostly smart and hard-working, but when the excrement hits the HVLS is when their connections become very apparent.

            Brothers of managers, wives of managers, dozens of people who graduated high school together, people whose kids have married each other…it’s scary.

            Bees. Killer bees.

        3. Boof*

          Hard to read tone online, but they sound kind of fun / not being jerks to you? Based on the other comment, sounds like HR needs to pull their head out of their rear but your current coworkers got your back? (Forgive me if I am misreading the situation – obviously you are looking for better opportunities so it can’t be that great)

          1. LW #2*

            My immediate coworkers are simply often-hungover, goofy galoots who genuinely “never mean nobody no harm”. They are also mostly very young men and exhibit what I call ‘puppy brains’. I have no problems with them at all, except for occasionally reminding them not to call women ‘chicks’ and to not call Asian people ‘Oriental’ and the usual things which come with being raised in a barn.

            My problem with my company starts with the fact that I have to wear 6 different hats, am routinely rated at the top of the heap only to get a 2% raise and have a supervisor who is a nearly-pathological liar whom I often have to do damage control for. I also have to deal with the guys on other shifts who routinely shout me down in meetings and I have to protect my ducklings from them because my boss throws everyone under the bus (bar) [electrician joke].

            Did I mention the 2% merit raise?

        4. else*

          At one point, I had a job that required me to visit a secondary office of attorneys, most of whom were male. I visited them one day and the sole woman in that office warned me away from the back room because they’d been having a contest to light their farts on fire. These guys were all barely out of law school; she was near retirement and was sent there basically to babysit them, but I think she’d given up. I assume that all of the dudes like this were sequestered there on purpose, as none of the other folks in our system seemed to roll that way.

        5. Maid Dombegh*

          They complain about their girlfriends’ jobs not paying enough. They give you 2% raises. They will never connect the dots.

  2. DigitalDragon*

    “I replied, ‘I’m a woman, not a girl. And I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean. I’m the only woman in my current job and it has no bearing on how I perform my job functions. How is your environment different?’”

    I bow before a Queen – that response was perfection.

      1. Goldenrod*

        I second this emotion!! You NAILED IT with that response. Sheer perfection. Goddess, queen, superhero and LEGEND.

        Oh, to have been a fly on the wall for that moment.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I love that the boss thought he should answer that question. At all, much less honestly. I mean it’s great when asshats turn on the “yes, we’re open sign” but to actually try to explain it…to OP…like it would make it better…omg.

      1. Candi*

        It’s like asking someone to explain an -ist “joke”. The safest response is for the teller to stop. talking. Otherwise it’s break out the shovels time.

  3. Tessie Mae*

    #2 – Good on you! A bullet well dodged.

    You just know that big boss is going to make disparaging remarks about the “Difficult Girl Candidate” and is totally oblivious to a) what he said wrong, and b) what truly constitutes a forward-thinking company with an open, inclusive culture.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        “these girls just don’t want to work in this environment.”
        Oh, you mean they don’t want to wear the equipment or follow protocols?
        “no, they do that.”
        Oh, they don’t like the hours?
        “no, they don’t have a problem with that.”
        So they just don’t want to do the work?
        “no, they want to do the work, just not with the boys.
        Boys? You mean the men who work here? Why would they not like working with men?
        “well, you know how boys are. and these girls are so sensitive. I mean they just can’t let a guy say anything.”
        OH, they don’t want to be sexually harassed at work. Got it.
        “they are just kidding around. they don’t mean anything.”
        so it’s just a joke?
        Cool. Unzip those Dockers a little more and lemme check out the boxer briefs.
        “What the hell is wrong with you? Don’t you dare talk to me like that.”

    1. Candi*

      “Probably concerned about breaking a nail.”

      For the record, bad bosses and other jerks, that freaking hurts and is one of the reasons I keep them clipped short now.

      1. LW #2*

        I do keep fairly long natural nails and I often have nice manicures. My nails are genetically about as hard as acrylic nails and I almost never break one. I’m so used to them that I’m at loose ends if I trim them too short. I can sometimes be caught using them as pry bars and screwdrivers.

        Funny nail story: I had a minor accident involving a motorcycle and a building and the tip of my ring finger. Through creative use of super glue and tissue paper, I managed to keep the nail until it was about halfway grown out. After it fell off, I stuck a fake nail on so I could keep the rest of my nails longer. I had painted them some outrageous color and a coworker asked me what I would do if I broke a nail.

        I looked him dead in the eye, bit down on that fake nail and ripped it clean off. He nearly threw up in the trashcan.

        1. Tessie Mae*

          Side comment:

          I am jealous of your nails. Mine are weak and break and split easily. I’ve resigned myself to keeping them relatively short (because that’s their default state) and using either clear or neutral polish. I had artificial nails years ago but developed an allergy, so I’ve decided fakes are just not for me (yes, I know they’ve changed over the years). Sure, I could get regular manicures (I’d rather not spend the money), but actually I’ve gotten used to them being pretty short and the length bugs me on the rare occasion they get a bit longer.

          On the other hand, my brother actually complained because he has to trim his nails so often because they grow so fast and are really tough to trim because they’re so hard. Zero sympathy from me. I got the super-weak nails in the family and would love his “problem.” Life’s not fair.

  4. HR Here*

    THIS IS SO GREAT!! : “‘I’m a woman, not a girl. And I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean. I’m the only woman in my current job and it has no bearing on how I perform my job functions. How is your environment different?’”

    LW #2 I hope you felt on fire in the best way possible after that response, and the way you handled the interview. It’s so easy to freeze, or let the moment pass too quickly and regret that you didn’t say what you wanted to later.

    1. LW #2*

      I had a very similar trainwreck interview about 4 years where I did freeze. The interviewer was the business owner, about 70 years old, and he: Asked me how old my kids were, how much I had paid for my house, if I would fix his toaster and the coup de grace…how I would perform the job, given that I was a girl and all.

      I sat there in horror, along with the HR lady and the grandson, and I stammered out something about doing the job just like a man would. I felt horrible. I went out to my car afterward and cried.

      I had plenty of time to gather my Treppenwitz about me and when it happened this time, I had both barrels loaded and cocked and I let them have it.

      1. AC4Life*

        Advantage of getting older, going from “WTF” to “hold my pumpkin spice latte and watch this.” Well done.

      2. WoodswomanWrites*

        Not only did you have such a perfect response, but you ended the interview then and there to hammer home the point. So impressive!

  5. It's Growing!*

    ‘I’m a woman, not a girl. And I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean. I’m the only woman in my current job and it has no bearing on how I perform my job functions. How is your environment different?’

    Sending up the fireworks!! Good for you!

  6. Three Flowers*

    OP2, you’re a total badass. That’s the politest, most pointed “eff you and your misogynist nonsense,” and I love it.

  7. Anonymous Poster*

    Glad #2 dodged that bullet. That place sounds like an absolute nightmare!

    I hope you find a good place to land soon.

  8. Observer*

    #2 – He made a big deal about how clean the bathrooms are?! Bizarre doesn’t even begin to describe it! But I guess when you hire “girls” and “boys” it can be hard to keep thing clean.

    As for boys will be boys, I’d love to know if they hire adults or use child labor…

    Does anyone know if the DOL or the EEOC would keep such information on file if someone reported it? To be used if someone filed a formal complaint. Because you KNOW that illegal harassment is going on!

    1. KatieP*

      It’s probably not hard to keep the women’s restroom clean if you 1) have a women’s restroom and 2) no women on-site to use it. I give it, at best, 50/50 odds that they even have a women’s restroom.

      1. Massive Dynamic*

        If they do, betcha that some of the males use it frequently and would whine and complain about having to stop that for “one girl.”

        1. Carol the happy elf*

          Of COURSE the men use the women’s (excise me, Girl’s) restroom. When you can’t get in the men’s because the Health Department has shut it down. I’ve probably mentioned this, but a job I had as a teenager (at the Fast Food Joint that Shall Not Be Named, with billions and billions) we had an amazing manager.
          He explained at our intake meeting that he would NEVER ask the women to clean the men’s room. We would have to clean the women’s room and the rest of the place, but “he who plops it mops it.”
          The women already there made sure we knew it.

    2. Pennyworth*

      But clean bathrooms are the only thing women want in the workplace. Same as they are only interested in the color of the new car they are buying. Sigh.

  9. Ms. Ann Thropy*

    2 is actually good news. She assessed a job well, and determined that it was not good, and did not take it. She avoided a bad workplace. That’s what an interview is for.

    1. Allornone*

      Very true. But too many people don’t realize that interviews are a two-way street. That’s probably the biggest lesson Alison and this site has taught me. I used to be TERRIBLE at interviews because I always unconsciously saw them as one-sided interrogation. This site made me realize the importance of both parties vetting each other for a good fit, I became pretty decent.

      (also, I mostly interview for non-profits, so I can explain way my still way-too-obvious-nerves with enthusiasm over the organization and its mission. it’s never really a lie, and it works).

    2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I thought that – but I guess it’s bad news that the interaction could even take place in 2021.

      LW2 bossed it, mind you. We stan.

      1. Allornone*

        Exactly. By 2021, you’d think we’d be over that crap as a society. Nope. We’ve come far, but still have so far to go.

        1. Candi*

          I think covid’s cascading effects may speed it up.

          One of the side effects of more jobs than people to fill them is people have more opportunity to opt out of environments they find uncomfortable or worse, including sexist environments. They especially have the opportunity when an interviewer does an all-red flag dance performance like #2.

          Good ol’ boy workplaces and ones with bad HR are going to be very low on most people’s list of places to work at if they have any choice at all.

      2. LW #2*

        Probably one of the more annoying parts of the story is the fact that during my initial interview with the internal recruiter, I told him that one of the primary reasons I wanted to leave my current position is the fact they are stuck in the 1960’s.

        One of my (tangential, fortunately) coworkers started calling me ‘girl’. Leaving aside the fact I’m old enough to be his mother, I was dumbstruck the first time he said it, asked him to not do that the second and the third time I told him, “I have a name. Call me by my name or don’t call me at all.” What finally shut him up was his buddy telling him to knock it the hell off. I know our HR is useless because when I escalated another coworker threatening to kill me over his perception of my gender expression, I was told that I “needed to see things from his perspective”.

        Later I so much wanted to say, “Is cranial-rectal inversion really a valid perspective?”, but I made some vague bbbbbthtuptttpt noise at the time and left HR’s office nearly in tears…again. My one moment of being a badass has come after a lifetime of quietly slinking away after having been kicked.

        1. Allornone*

          Please, woman, you are a badass for just existing in the environment you have and coming through it with your head held high.

        2. HereKittyKitty*

          “My one moment of being a badass has come after a lifetime of quietly slinking away after having been kicked.”

          I feel ya there. I went through some stuff at school, in life, with partners… it was a lot. A lot of it was gender-based assault and harassment. Better or worse I find it easier to stand up for myself and have a badass moment because my first initial thought is “well, I’ve been kicked harder, so hell if I’m going to give a flying f in this moment.”

          I wish you no more kicks in your direction and a lifetime of badass moments.

        3. Blarg*

          Just to reframe this for you:

          You called out the guy calling you girl.

          You went to HR when someone *threatened* you.

          You’ve refused to use gross port a potties.

          And you called out an interviewer on his gross comments AND told the recruiter what happened.

          You’ve had a long career in a male dominated field replete with plenty of misogynists and you’ve survived, succeeded, thrived, and grown.

          You’re amazing and we’re all impressed with you and the times you didn’t speak up weren’t failures or indicative of a lack of strength. You’ve stayed employed. And you haven’t used your skills to “accidentally” electrocute the whole lot of them. Or at least you aren’t sharing if you did.

          1. LW #2*

            Thank you. I mentioned somewhere else that I am so, so tired at this point. I believe the current term is ‘microaggressions’, but I’m old-school blue-collar so I call it BS. The end result is the same…you feel like a frog in a pot, slowly being boiled, as you get used to people pushing your buttons, insulting your intelligence and generally being an @$$ to you day-in-and-day-out…only for them to come crawling to you for help and then they wonder why they aren’t much of a priority.

            And trust me, there are folks at work whose desk I would love to rig with an electric fence transformer.

            1. Zweisatz*

              From one read-as-woman person in a male-dominated field to another (though it’s not as bad a ratio as your job seems to be): Please feel absolutely free to chose the path that has the least obstacles for you, even if it means taking a comfy desk job somewhere that has little to none to do with your current profession. You are allowed to “give up” if the alternative is to be ground up for other people’s benefit.
              I found a workplace where the sexism is kept at bay, mostly, and it does make a lot of difference. But if I hadn’t found this or would find one with no sexism, I would leave the field in a heartbeat.

              Or sure, if the above suggestions are possible and you can make it on your own, possibly focusing on women as customers, do that. But you don’t have to be “strong” or an “example” when you can instead have it easy and feel good, you know?

            2. IndustriousLabRat*

              From one blue collar middle aged woman fighting the scrappy fight in a male-dominated field to another, YOU ROCK.

              …”only for them to come crawling to you for help and then they wonder why they aren’t much of a priority.”

              This rings so true and it is a testament to your awesomeness. I’ve realized that it is the ace up my sleeve when I need to remind the Resident Blowhards to play nice with the woman who can save their butts. While the microaggressions (mostly in the form of not being taken seriously, or flat out ignored… and then finding that my supervisor or another male colleague has presented my solution as his own, and been praised for it) haven’t gone away, the hourly technical staff are now firmly on my side. Frankly I consider that the greater testament to my value. But still pissed about my last glowing review which came with a BARE MINIMUM CoL bump.

              Also… I’d go for a 50A DC anodizing rectifier… ;)

        4. Biology dropout*

          1. You are a total badass. Seriously, you are amazing.
          2. “Is cranial-rectal inversion really a valid perspective?” Is absolutely genius and I want to put it on a shirt.

  10. Tell Me About Your Pets*

    “Boys will be boys, and you know what that means.”
    Dua Lipa will be working in the office too???

  11. CookieTime*

    “I replied, ‘I’m a woman, not a girl. And I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean. I’m the only woman in my current job and it has no bearing on how I perform my job functions. How is your environment different?’”

    *chef’s kiss*

    That was amazing. Thank you OP, I’m so glad you were able to say that out loud. That’s one of those glorious moments that only live inside my head. Glad you were able to dodge a bullet AND call them out!

  12. Caaan Do!*

    I first read fridge in the breakroom as fridge in the bathroom and wondered why they were selling THAT as a “perk for girls”…..

    I LOVE your response OP2, I aspire to that kind of confidence to say something in the moment *applause

    1. Candi*

      I was raising my eyebrows that he was even mentioning the breakroom fridge. In my experience -with manual labor such as housekeeping!- it’s more common for them to tell you if they don’t have a fridge! If they don’t mention it, they have it!

      1. Caaan Do!*

        I was so distracted by my misread of bathroom/breakroom that it didn’t occur to me how weird it actually is to mention a breakroom fridge! You’re right, I would have thought it was a given in most breakrooms, now I wonder if they mentioned it because they’d expect her to clean it, and then when she would rightfully ask why it was part of her duties, say “well we DID tell you about it in the interview…..”

        1. Candi*

          Looking back, the only place I can think of that didn’t have a fridge was the assisted living community where I worked as a server for two months. And those were short 2 1/2 -3 hour shifts, coming in at just under the state law where they have to give you a break, so it makes sense they wouldn’t expect workers to need a fridge. (For hourly workers, our state has mandatory break laws based on hours worked in a shift. Unless you’re a nurse, but employers are still expected to give them breaks in as timely a manner as possible.)

          If that sounds like a red flag, looking back it was a house of bees flying the things. They promoted a 16-year-old to evening supervisor because he’d been there six months, never mind he was constantly bullying other workers, which got worse after the promotion. (His age is relevant because he was promoted to supervisor even though he couldn’t work a supervisor’s full evening weeknight shift due to regulations.)

          1. Candi*

            Addendum: Supervisors had longer shift than servers due to having more duties to take care of before they left.

  13. Carol the happy elf*

    I sent this to my stepson’s daughter who works at a rapid prototype place, and found a plastic penis (with scrotum) on her desk a few months ago. She reported it to HR, they were surprisingly quick to fire the jerk. No PIP, because he evidently had done this before.
    She thanks you for the words in case she needs them.

    1. LW #2*

      Good for that young woman! When I started, it was beaten into my head to avoid HR at all costs because “they work for the company, not for you” and I believed it. It took years before I realized that meant HR was looking out for the company’s interests by avoiding lawsuits!

      I’ve have good, bad and indifferent run-ins with HR reps over the years, but it feels so good to see a nitwit get their comeuppance.

    2. TimeTravlR*

      Yeah, I wish I had had the sense and the guts to push back when the “boys” did this kind of stuff to me back in the early 1980s. I think I did equip my daughters not to put up with this crap though.

  14. LW #2*

    LW #2 here. I would like to thank everyone for the show of support. I would also like to state, for the record, that I am not a picture of grace under pressure. I only managed to deliver the smackdown because I, unfortunately, have had practice.

    I replied to another comment which mentioned freezing in the moment and I told them that I had a very similar experience previously, so I’ve had 4 years in which to craft a response. I wish I were consistently able to not be stunned into silence with the sheer amount BS that gets shoveled my way.

    For those curious, I did write back to the internal recruiter to withdraw my application and we ended up having a long talk about why the people in the field are not displaying the company’s values. It comes down to a matter of culture. The company was established in the 2000’s in the heart of Silicon Valley so that is the theoretical company culture. Unfortunately, their manufacturing facilities are in the southern states and that’s where it all falls apart. The recruiter actually used some very coarse language to describe the “people they’ve been forced to hire” in order to run the operation. He was going to have a word with Mr. Clean-Bathrooms, but this ship has sailed.

    There are non-@$$holes who work in my field. Unfortunately, they tend to be younger and less-experienced so when you need to find mid-career professionals, your chance of hiring an expletive go up exponentially.

    1. Carol the happy elf*

      Silicon Valley is where boys went to STAY boys. Neverland, where Peter goes so he won’t get panned. So to speak.
      I worked in the area back in the ’90’s, and I felt like a kindergarten teacher.

    2. Tau*

      Sometimes one simply has to prepare one’s response ahead of time! You did and you served it *brilliantly*. In fact, if you don’t mind I’ll borrow it for future use – I work in tech and although I have managed to dodge most overt sexism until now I’d like to be prepared.

  15. Jam on Toast*

    LW2. That is the UN of Red Flags. Red flags from around the world! Way to go for standing up for yourself and leaving the interview.

  16. RJ*

    Stand in your strength, LW2! Congratulations to LW1 and Lw3 as well. It’s great to see the lessons learned in this convoluted art of job hunting thanks to this excellent site!

  17. Wine Not Whine*

    I always really love the weekly good news post and am happy for everyone checking in, but today, OP #2, you just totally made my day. I am sitting here cheering for your standing strong for yourself and not putting up with the BS. (I’m also not a little angry and

    1. Wine Not Whine*

      Argh, commenting here from my phone can be a crapshoot…
      I was saying: I’m sorry and angry that sexist, condescending idiots are still so entrenched in management culture, and that there’s still a need for people to be able to stand up to them.

  18. Bookworm*

    #2: I’m so sorry you had that experience but glad you dodged that bullet!

    Thanks as always to the LWs for their experiences and good news!!

  19. Chilipepper Attitude*

    As always, many thanks for sharing your good news, it has kept me going these past months!

  20. Phoenix from the ashes*

    #2 – someone please call Jurassic Park and let them know one of their dinosaurs has escaped

    (TIL I have a dinosaur emoji; I can’t tell you how happy this makes me feel! )

  21. 404_FoxNotFound*

    LW#1 Wooo! 70% holy wow that is impressive. I hope the new job keeps you in good stead.

    LW#2 Concurring what others have said: huge bad thing dodged, wow what an amazing come back (doesn’t matter if you’ve had practice or not, well effing done!), and after reading the comment threads I have so much respect for you having to deal with some major Sexist Nonsense.
    I don’t work in the same field and wish I had good connections to pull for you because you deserve so much better, especially with 30 years experience. What you listed aren’t microaggressions, they are really big sexist aggressions and I am absolutely livid on your behalf.
    I’m willing to bet we AAM folks could coordinate something useful, but given my own individual limitations I’m going to say I hear/see you and wish you all the luck. I am not sure how possible it would be to strike out independently, but I will second tapping into whisper networks of various marginalized folks (women, people of colour, trans and queer folks, etc) who want safe and trustworthy technicians to do home repairs, and have as colleagues in professional contexts. I know there are a bunch of job posting sites specifically geared at said minorities, though I’m less sure about how useful they are.
    Sending fortitude.

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