Tag Archives: office

In the company of men

Even while men are looking backwards, fearful that past workplace behavior will be mis/construed as harassment (or assault), women I know are reconsidering their acceptance of office-inappropriate words and deeds.

I thought about this while reading “Can Hollywood Change?The New Yorker article by Dana Goodyear, who takes on the same topic. A Friends assistant was fired, she suspects, for not being “game” about writer-room banter. Along the same vein, another source, a script writer who was “game,” now feels ashamed of her complicity, a “betrayer of my feminist values.”

With 30+ years in the workplace, I’ve seen and accepted behavior I now cringe to recall. I wrote about the most egregious incident in an essay called “The Boss of Me,” about my first magazine job (and boss) for TueNight. That was harassment. But what of the years of intra-staff hookups, locker-room banter and, overall, iffy (and icky) stuff I wrote off as part of the landscape of working at Time Inc., a company led by men? Here, a short list of the iffiest, ickiest stuff, some of it as recent as, say, last week. All colleagues referenced, unless otherwise noted, are male.

  • “Snatch canyon” is what a colleague called his office view over a passageway between two buildings, populated, in his opinion, by attractive women.
  • “So should I just take my dick out and slap it on the desk?” Fumed a colleague after sharing an emasculating comment he received from another male colleague.
  • “Is she hot?” Asked a colleague about an intern I was interviewing.
  • “I’d leave my wife on Christmas morning for her,” declared a colleague about a female colleague we had in common.
  • “People are totally banging in that room,” snickered a colleague about a “wellness/nap” room.
  • “Assfuckery,” “Assfucked,” “Fuck me up the ass:” A colleague’s casual profanities about workplace annoyances.

 

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A postcard to myself

postacrd-front

taking the good with the bad

This is what came in the mail last week. A postcard made at a reunion with my college roommates, aka, the Rapture Sisters (why that name is a story for another time). Linda had the good idea to make postcards to mail to each other at some unspecified day in the future. She brought all the supplies: blank postcards of a very nice stock, pictures and stickers and such for decoration, stamps. Other than that, no rules and I approached it as I do any blank sheet of paper: get started and hope that something will occur to me.

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What confuses me, a little bit, is that I recall making postcards for the four other women. I don’t recall making one for myself. But this is very clearly my handwriting, except for the Happy New Year note at the top.

Whatever, it tracks nicely with a mood I wrote about going back to work last week. Feeling like I needed an external force for motivation and inspiration. Even a postcard from another (or me in another mood, if that’s what this is). Feeling unambitious, unconnected, restless. Feeling like a fraud at work which, I have since learned, has a name: Imposter Syndrome. From Wikipedia:

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. Some studies suggest that impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women. 

That’s me! I thought when I read this, feeling vindicated, as one does when one receives a name for a condition, however spurious (sorry, Restless Leg Syndrome Sufferers).

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copyright CARL RICHARDS, the Sketch Guy

Carl Richards, the Sketch Guy, captures perfectly the feeling in one of his napkin sketches, above. Which is a kind of postcard to himself, I suppose.

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A Girl’s Guide to Office Brocabulary

men at work

men at work

“Adorable” is the word Jennifer Lawrence uses to describe how women in business strive to sound. Wise beyond her years, the actress shared a story on Lenny Letter about how she was chided for speaking plainly to a male colleague. Her essay, a few weeks ago, kicked off a conversation about how “Woman in a Meeting” is a language all its own. Examples from The Washington Post, all of which I am guilty of: “This may be all wrong but…” and “Maybe? I don’t know? How does the room feel?”

Lawrence’s story:

I spoke my mind and gave my opinion in a clear and no-bullshit way …

Read more, right this way —>

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while you were out

The Time & Life building was purpose-built for Henry Luce’s shop in 1959, one of several 45-floor monoliths along 6th Avenue.

Time Inc. has started moving downtown and will be completely out of the building before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve (some 8 blocks away).

Offices are being abandoned with lots of flotsom and jetsom left behind, including these While You Were Out pads I recall with some wistfulness. The choices are charming really — Someone (say who) did/said something (“telephoned” “wants to see you”). Especially outdated is the notion that this Someone “called to see you,” perhaps with some urgency, if so please check.

I filled out a few of these in my day. Never thought I’d be nostalgic about them.

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