Re: Workplace Discrimination

Subject: Re: Workplace Discrimination
From: Charles Good <good -at- AUR -dot- ALCATEL -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 23 Mar 1996 22:39:40 GMT

Mary,

I don't know if you're the victim of sex discrimination, but many managers
(especially in smaller companies) are not well trained on the proper and
inapprorpiate rhetoric of interviewing. Many have not been forewarned of
what questions and statements to avoid, nor the dangers of testing applicants.

Stereotyping will probably be with us forever. Managers seldom forget bad
experiences with a person from a certain school, a certain community, a
certain company, etc. Such experiences sour the manager's opinion of
future applicants who fit the same background or profile.

Obviously, the manager you talked with has had a bad experience with someone
who was more dedicated to her children than the job. As a mamanger, he is
held accountable for making things happen and I suspect his management is
not especially forgiving or understanding when the impact of one person's
productivity is allowed to significantly impact a project. However, in a
world of down-sized companies, the tiny team of humans you have to
accomplish the work is usually over-burdened and unable to recover when
even one person is out for any amount of time.

I can remember a job years ago with a firm whose location was 20 miles
from the nearest city. I had some car trouble and informed my supervisor
that I would need to take the morning off to take my car to the shop
(I had no other means of transportation and no one at work lived near me).
The boss informed me that I was expected to rent a car (out of my pocket)
so I could be at work, every day. From his perspective, he did not care
about my personal problems. If I wanted to work, then don't be late.
From my perspective, I was not getting rich at this job and could ill afford
$30/day rental of a car. In the end, the boss won and I started looking
for a more realistic company.

You might say that these sorts of idealogical mind sets are windows into
any work culture. You don't just evaluate whether or not you want the job,
but do you want to work in this environment? Personally, I give all perspective
bosses a little verbal test to determine their tolerance and views on the use
and control of company resources. This lets me know whether it's going to be
a fun, rewarding existance or a pain.


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