Every day, we witness injustice and stories of numerous women who suffer at the hands of scumbags in the workplace, yet nothing is done. In my last #metoo blog post, I spoke about how people couldn’t believe this gross behavior really occurs, and thus, many are reluctant to do or say anything about it because it is so far from anything they have ever experienced.
However, there is the other side, where the managers, supervisors in companies, deans and administrative leaders in academic institutions ARE aware that it is happening and don’t want to deal with it. This is because they are only thinking of themselves and how it will impact them from checking off that box on their resume, so they can move on to the next position, all while maximizing their 401k.
After first protecting themselves, they then need to protect their institutions and companies. This is part of their job, so the existence of any wrongdoing under their watch and being truly accountable is like dividing by zero. You just don’t do it. Their safety approach is to support the predator and keep promoting them, or renewing the scumbag’s leadership position and making sure they are rewarded. This way, when someone makes a claim against them, it looks almost implausible that the accusations could be true. Simultaneously, the victim is provided a myriad of excuses for the other person’s bad behavior.
Her own abilities are diminished to help bring down her self-confidence. This also helps make her question her own abilities and doubt the integrity of her perspective on what she has endured and make her ask herself, What did I do to make him think this was okay?”
The lame excuses in defense of a scumbag include; she has no sense of humor, he doesn’t mean anything by it, he’s just not as articulate as she is in communicating with her and therefore it’s ok for him to behave like a raging bully. The classic default is; it is just a miscommunication or personality problem between her and the scumbag. Or my favorite, the person should be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, like in a real court cases, before any accusation is acted upon or taken seriously.
Her word means nothing. The scumbag’s word means more than the accuser because again, how would he have been promoted or maintained a power position for such a long time if any of it was true? The answer is that poor leaders, who have no backbone, allow it because it’s easier than dealing with it. It takes energy and could impact their own career. Definitely, not worth the risk.
The leaders that think they are actually “principled” hand these issues off to Human Resources, which never ends well for the victim. Now, the dance begins between the victim and those who say they are there to help. Unfortunately, it’s not a delicate dance. The victim is thrown into the mosh pit, while the accuser looks on vehemently denying ll wrong doing. The scum bag makes sure anything that can be done to make her life more miserable is done, and makes it all look like the decisions were made by a “committee” and never by himself.
One of the goals for the Human Resources team is to protect the company. Speaking ill about an employee of the company means the victim needs to go and go quickly before her toxic accusations gain any merit among her peers and start a movement demanding change.
How dare she not sacrifice herself to keep harmony and the perception that the work environment is a healthy, respectful one? She must be a troublemaker, have mental issues or just be covering up for her incompetence. Off with her head!
Have you ever witnessed someone doing wrong over and over and yet, there are always excuses made for them? This is because the ones making the excuses for the scumbags believe that the accused is someone with credentials that will be good to have in their pocket when the time comes that they need the scumbag’s support. They value the scumbag more than the victim. The victim is on her way down and/or out and of little or no value after making such claims. Even employment lawyers will tell you that when a woman wins a claim, she loses. She needs to be ready to move on and moving on isn’t easy because other companies are afraid she is serial complainer that will cost them too.
I can’t tell you how many interviews questions I get from reporters asking me why there are so few female leaders in high tech and why so many women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics just vanish from the high tech workforce. It is because companies and academic institutions are not hearing women, even when women are in their face begging for action. Interviewers are even more shocked that these issues are occurring in high tech industries and academia where everyone is so highly educated as if educated people should know better. Guess what? News flash, having a PhD doesn’t make a person a decent human being.
There is that saying that if you eat something while no one is watching, the food has zero calories. Well, in the #metoo era this is the equivalent of saying, if no one says bad things are happening to women in the workplace out loud, it really isn’t happening. It doesn’t matter how articulate, honest or the volume she uses to tell her story, no one is tuned into her frequency. They only hear the victim like an annoying mosquito, buzzing around their heads, ready to ruin their picnic, suck their blood and spread disease.
Quick, get out the pest zappHER!
Next time in my blog: Can you hear me now?