Friday, June 03, 2016

He said. She Said.

Hello dear reader,

Half-term is nearly over and the Jones Massive have, for once, not been away. Instead, we've stayed home and had days out to some local tourist attractions. Fun was had by all and we managed to dodge the iffy weather.

Just before I went away, I was listening to a co-worker... well, rant. She was, and dare I say, rightly so, rather cross. For sake of her privacy, and mine, we'll call her B.

B was attending a meeting and it was one of those rather unpleasant ones, where the folk who'd turned up, already seemed to have decided what was going to happen. You probably know the sort, where folk start to draw into a single side and you get that sinking feeling.

But, that wasn't why B was cross. No, this was the plain rudeness of a colleague who continually spoke over, or who interrupted her. Oddly, he doesn't do this to me. So, I listened to B let off steam and then she asked me: "why do men do this?"

My first reaction was to say, "you're asking the wrong person if you're asking that", but lucky, my brain was working that day. :-)

Instead I answered: "Because some people are rude and they don't respect another person's point of view."

The conversation rolled on and once B was calm, we bid our goodbyes and wished each other good luck for the upcoming half-term. B's child is younger than Little Miss, so he's at that full of beans stage young boys often can be.

Later, as I got into the car - and after my subconscious had chewed things over - a few thoughts drifted to the surface.

  • Firstly, the repeat of B's antagonist not talking over me. If this is a gender, respect or even a power thing, I wouldn't like to say.
     
  • Next, when a friend transitioned, she found that where her opinion would usually be listened to, now, it isn't She said, and again, no names, that in some ways it made her think that people accepted her as she was, but the fact that they didn't listen became gradually more irritating. Especially, when she was right.
     
  • There have been occasions were the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I have been chatting with others and some - often a guy - will dismiss what Mrs J has to say. Not in an upfront rude way, but subtly as some folk can be. After one such incident, we made a game of it, where I'd shift her words, but repeat the point, some time later. Guess what? Well, actually don't, there's no prizes here :-) The comment would be accepted as sage advice. Not that this makes me a sage, but more likely, just because a bloke has said it.
I don't want to make this a man bashing post, because I'm a guy too. Well, mostly. Some of the wiring upstairs is a bit off, but we'll gloss over that. :-) No, it's just that if someone is going to be talked over, it tends to be a guy doing it and the person on the receiving end, tends to be a woman. Perhaps, if I was female - or even passably female and in stealth - I'd have a different perspective on this, but as I'm not, I don't. 


But just because others do it, doesn't mean I have to. I remember reading many years ago about a playwright, and the actors - all women - said of him, that he was someone who actually listened to women. In my odd dislike / rejection of the super-macho, I try to listen too. Not that that doesn't stop me holding forth when I get going, but I try :-) I try, to let people have their say, regardless of who they are and I may have bruised a few egos when I've interrupted the interrupter and said "Excuse me, you where saying Sarah?"

It was a bit of a turn when in a meeting a week before, when I wanted to say something and someone gabbed over the top of me. Who should interrupt the talker? B. "Sorry, J, I think Richard was just saying something..."

Equality eh? Maybe if we all listened to each other a little more, rather than thinking of what to say next, the world may be a slightly different place.

Take care,
Lynn

6 comments:

  1. It is certainly something which I have noticed since I transitioned. On more than one occasion I have been witness to the experiment that you talk about.

    I say something, and either I'm wrong or it is not as urgent as I think it id. Then, in the very next breath, a male colleague says the same thing and it's something that we have to do something about. And when I take my boss up on it I'm 'misreading' the situation.

    It goes further as well, guys are congratulated for getting angry and frustrated as it shows 'passion' about their work. Women are told that they are being too emotional and need thicker skins.

    It is very tiring, annoying and depressing. And as my therapist put it: at least you know that you are accepted as a woman...

    I've spoken to some of the other women in the team and they have the same experiences, and when I said how frustrated I was one even said by the time she was a teenager she had filtered most of it out, most of the time, otherwise it would be impossible to continue...

    Stace

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    1. Hi Stace,

      Thanks for sharing. It... saddens me, if we're going through life only listening, or valuing, views from X% of our staff. Mind you, a cynic might argue the same is true around the difference between an employee, a manager and a consultant ;-) That's not to dismiss what you've just said, BTW.

      I've heard the 'passionate' label too, and being on the end of it. That and, "You should learn to care less," a former manager said. Really? So instead, we should roll over and do the wrong thing for the sake of a quiet life, and then have to go back and change to the right way? Then when I said I 'cared less' for his love of SLA statistics, he got all angry. Sorry, passionate. ;-)

      How women cope with this BS, I don't know.

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  2. I work with a team leader who has transitioned, this is subject that has never come up. in any of our group meetings

    Not sure if its because where all professionals or don't do that type of thing!

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    1. If it's not coming up, either no one's reporting it, or it's not happening. Let's hope it's the latter.

      Perhaps the professional conduct you mentioned plays into it, so there's more respect for people, rather than gender first.

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    2. One thing I have learnt is that unless you are in the group you won't know. Even after my discussions with my boss about the comments when our IT department shoes the worst out of the company for discrimination all of the guys seen really shocked. Each and every year. Whilst the women just say that its part and parcel of life... You have to remember this isn't an overt 'you're a women so you count less', its a systematic, unconscious bias that just happens without anyone thinking about it. And therein lies the problem of it not being seen or accepted (I don't think that any man in our department would know / accept that there is a problem... Not if the comments about the employee questionnaire are to go by). All of the men think it's a perfect place for women to work with no gender issues at all. Again, even after the questionnaire...

      Stace

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    3. I think most people are oblivious, unless they are affected directly. Maybe it's a societal norm, so it's only the folk who slip between the tribes who notice?

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