Re: Propriety: New Twist on Professionalism & Secretaries Day

Subject: Re: Propriety: New Twist on Professionalism & Secretaries Day
From: "Marie C. Paretti" <mparetti -at- RRINC -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 15:04:41 -0400


What reasons des your president offer? Is he/she afraid of a sexual
harrassment charge? Afraid of an affair?

I too work for a small company -- 24 people: 4 women and 20 men. I travel
to customer sites regularly, usually with several of the developers.
Sometimes there's another woman along, sometimes not. When we're on the
road we usually eat meals together, travel between the hotel and the
customer site in the same rental car, etc. I've even travelled with the
company president, who is male, and in two weeks a dozen of us are all
headed to California for a trade show together -- 3 women, 9 men,
travelling together, conferencing together, and acting generally
business-like and professional. Assuming you all behave professionally, I
can't imagine what your president is afraid of, and it seems to me that the
value of being on site and actually seeing customers use the product far
outweights any concerns he/she has.

Perhaps the best thing to do (other than saying "everyone else does it"
which never seems to go over well -- they always come back with that "if
everyone jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge" thing) is to talk frankly with the
president about the issue -- find out the real concerns, do your best to
allay his/her fears (emphasize your professionalism), and clearly spell out
why you need to be on site with the developers -- stress the cost/benefit
ratio. If this person still doesn't see the light of day, I'm not sure
what you can do.

Good luck,

Marie C. Paretti, PhD
Recognition Research, Inc. (RRI)
1750 Kraft Drive, Suite 2000
Blacksburg, VA 24060
mparetti -at- rrinc -dot- com

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