Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Today I'm wearing white.

It's election day.

I want to talk about workplace harassment.

When Bill Clinton ran for office people would try to convince me he was a loser because of his wife. The liberal men who theoretically had no problem with me, told me there's no way he can win because Hillary was a feminist.

Hillary's "I chose to follow my profession" line was actually used at workplaces to tell me not to be too assertive when I was at work; "look at what happened to her."

Democratic men who were actively sexually harassing me at work were ready to blame losing to Bush on Hillary. And then expected to lose to Dole because of Hillary.

Hillary's name has followed me everyplace I've worked because I'm constantly compared to her - or the complaints about me (or the random accusations against me that would have to be investigated because there are laws that require those accusations to be investigated) followed the same pattern - mostly because they were the same accusations as hers scaled up or down for whichever workplace I was in.

Since after a certain point the way to "go after" me became clear in every workplace, I would go through a sort of "sampling" of how they would normally harass other women until they landed on the ones that might work against me. "Accusing her of sleeping with the boss isn't realistic" the various "ungenderings" happened. Accusing me of doing shortcut things for my numbers or projects to be making their milestones even though I had "the worst teams" or I "was a bitch to work with" or whatever nonsense someone thought they could get away with spreading (Hint - yes someone actually accused me of hating dogs too). It didn't work- because I always had my full paperwork, and theirs, and the clients. It never worked when people worked with me directly - mostly because I'm a pretty collaborative leader and protective of my team and I don't need to be "liked" so I'm hard to emotionally blackmail

Even that harassment I understood more than when they literally just made stuff up. I bring proof. I lose nothing. If you're going to try to harass me using procedure or accusations of mishandling things you better be prepared to defend every email you sent me while telling me you didn't.

I'm glad there's a meme for that now. I always have the receipts.

There is only one unique thing about my work history that could make this consistent - I was often the only female manager. I was often specifically hired when companies were in chaos or projects were going south and they were "taking a risk" by "bringing in new blood" - supposedly about my resume - because I worked the same jobs but cross-industry.

I have made mistakes while running projects, I have occasionally made bad staffing errors. I have a really good track record of running on time and on budget and I have made lifelong enemies because I have not "played the game" the way some other people have.

And I don't blame them. The current American workplace is not a place where people are allowed to be kind to each other - I am doing the work to find out why - its literally why I went into anthropology.

I have survived some harassment better than other harassment. I have reported to HR and not reported to HR. Once I got older, I always handled it face to face and could nuke it before we all got into the system. Winning the harassment confrontations just made me subject to different kinds of "illuminati" type whisper campaigns, and that's OK too - because there is literally no place it didn't happen and there is literally no place I ever had to do anything more machiavellian than just do my job and protect the work of my team so they could do theirs, for us to succeed. Haters gonna die of stress exacerbated heart conditions.

And probably blame me.

So a long while back - many folk made assumptions about who I would be "happier" to vote for - both people running and people not running.

And to be honest, I really want people to be involved in the democratic process and make their own choices. I publicly started taking an anti-Trump stance because of his courting of active hate groups and my experience with those hate groups ALSO being directly involved in workplace harassment (including of me! How grand it is to be in America!) so when we are down to two real candidates, of course everyone knows I will vote for the Democratic candidate as opposed to the one who retweets groups I'm studying for my work with online hate.

But it's the day of - and I need to tell you and everyone who was ready to throw blame on Hillary for losing the White House both times Bill won it anyway.

The only reason I liked Bill Clinton is he chose Hillary. I told everyone of those assholes in 1992 that I was upset I had to vote for him instead of her.

I had to move my support in 2008 from her to Obama and my trust in him - like my trust in Bill is in the way she chose to speak about him when she lost. I can tell when she's being careful - she was never careful when she campaigned for him. It was full out.

Because I know all the cadence, and all the words, and all the shades of meaning in where her shoulders are as she threads the needles, and knows what the upcoming meeting is going to be like. All the things men have told me they don't like about her voice or presentation or the way she presents information are often the very reasons I find her trustworthy - because I have done them, I have been there, and frankly often they are the kind of men who were the reasons I had to do those things.

I know what it's like to care more about the product and the team than your own rep - because you learned long ago you're not a person - you're the projection of whatever the person accusing you of nonsense is concerned about - you're just the "safest" woman nearby to take it out on. And you can't care about it other than to isolate or cauterize it. It's white noise.

I've had her name thrown up at me, against me, forever. It's been used at me as an insult, as a warning, it's the middle class white male co-workers way of trying to keep me in my place and make me afraid. It' not dissimilar from everyone telling me "don't sound too smart you'll never get a boyfriend" "have friends" "no one likes smart girls" "don't be stuck up" which means don't be smart.

They were always wrong. It wasn't an insult - it was a compliment.

And the comparisons were probably accurate, just not in the way intended -

I'm with her.

In the words of another supporter "Don't call it a comeback I've been here for years"