Hi, fellow bloggers and readers and followers! It’s me again, Sammii. I have been feeling so inspired lately with the best ideas of things I wanted to talk about. This is one of those, I-don’t-know-if-this-is-just-me moments but here goes! My office is FULL of office drama. I work in the IT field so I usually work around men. I always wished I could work around more women because working with a bunch of men comes with its on set of issues but man drama is different from woman drama.
When I worked with majority men, there was a lot of casting me out of the “good ol’ boy” club. I had to eat lunch alone and didn’t always get support on IT questions that I had. There was a LOT of cockiness and men thinking they were better than me. Some of those men would even steal my ideas and pass them off as their own. When I stood up for myself, I was the “irate black woman” not the strong woman standing up for herself. My male coworkers refused to give me any credit. Then, of course, there was the proverbial uninvited flirting that I had to put up with. I didn’t want to seem too uptight for fear of being even more outcast, so I played along even when I secretly wanted to gag.
That saying, “be careful what you wish for because it just might come true” comes into play at my new workplace. I started working for my current company about 6 months ago. In the first few months, I have seen cattiness from young adult women to middle-aged women. In just the first two months, I have seen at least 3 women have a breakdown and cry. I have heard unwanted gossip and was definitely the subject of some of that gossip as some of them were so happy to gossip to me and inform me. What does anyone have to gossip about someone who they don’t know? I have NO clue. And it’s negative gossip, not just idle “Who is she, we want to get to know her” gossip.
Eventually, I started to withdraw. A couple of months ago, one of my coworkers moved cubicles and now she sits behind me. She is quiet and kind of preppy/bohemian like me. We were both raised partially in VA and we instantly bonded over religion, hair products and fashion. 🙂 She is so quiet but everyone likes her, sort of. One guy told me that he finds it difficult to talk to her. “Why,” I wondered? I talk to her all the time. I guess it just comes down to who you feel connected with and who you have something in common with.
It’s funny though because when I go to the bathroom now, I have found myself waiting until everyone leaves to avoid uncomfortable silences and/or small talk.
The characteristic of my work situation that is also interesting is: my coworkers are also my customers. I work right alongside the people who I support. So if they are disgruntled about the service I provide or the system I maintain, I have to hear about it as much as I prefer not to. Who wants to hear that there is something wrong with something they have been hired to maintain? Maybe it’s my cocky IT side or maybe I am just too sensitive. And the fact that I am right here, the comments come one and all. I hear someone griping about my system at least once a day.
If my users/customers/coworkers are unhappy with my system or something I said to them, it is hard to pretend everything is OK when it isn’t for them and it sometimes isn’t for me.
I am the ONLY IT professional in my office. No one understands what I do and I have no one to bond with over what I do. Yet they expect me to know their job AND mine. And they all make higher salaries than me so how does that seem fair.
Needless to say, I am the girl who hides in the bathroom. I hide in the bathroom sometimes to get a break from the craziness. I have learned that “out of sight, out of mind” keeps you “out of trouble”. I hide in the bathroom when I am feeling bored/sleepy. I’ll take a 10 minute hiatus or so then return to work a bit refreshed. And I hide in the bathroom when I am waiting for “mean” girl…err women…to leave. So there you go. I am a black woman who has the same fears as any other woman. I am not a b*tch or catty. I don’t gossip and I don’t have anymore attitude in me than any other woman especially given my circumstances. I don’t want to get the pity party but sometimes it’s hard being a Black woman in Corporate America. I have feelings and I’m human. I wish people could see that and not just the color of my skin. To me, the racism and stereotype is so dated.