Just because i work in the plant, they think i’m here for something else beside the job
Jackie smyth had been working in the plant as maintenance mechanic for six months when ann franklin a personnel specialist, decide to visit with her. Ann had conducted on orientation session which jackie attended when she first began work at then plant. Ann was interested in seeing how she was adjusting to her new work environment and stopped by during jackie’s afternoon break.
Ann : hey Jackie, i was in the area and thought i’d drop by to see how things are going. Ann franklin from personnel
Jackie : oh, hello. We met at the orientation session, right?
Ann : right, so how’s the new job?
Jackie : fine, just fine. No real problems
Ann : how are the folks in your work group?
Jackie : oh, they’re okay
Ann : do they seem to have any concerns about working with a woman.
Jackie : uh, no, not really. At least not anything too major, i guess
Ann : oh?
Jackie : well, there is something, ann, but i don’t think anyone can do anything about it
Ann : what’s that?
Jackie well, they either pinch my rump and wink at me or else they gripe about women’s libbers taking over the world. What bothers me the most is that no one takes me seriously. I’m either ignored or given too much attention. I don’t want to date ‘em or antagonize ‘em. I just want to do my job. The other day i told off one guy who grabbed me. Instead of backing off, i think he’s taking me as a challenge because he gave me the eye again today
Ann : feeling upset about it, huh?
Jackie : yeah, i’m about ready to really let the guy have it!
Ann : i know that when i’m upset i really feel like blowing my lid. Ussualy, though, it doesn’t really help things. It just makes me feel better for a few minutes.
Jackie : what do you suggest i do, then? Just ignore him? That won’t help.
Ann : i don’t think ignorning the situation is the answer. But i do think it is important to consider what you really want to accomplish first, and then decide what you’re going to do
Jackie : i want the guy to leave me alone
Ann : you also said you went others to take you seriously.
Jackie : that’s right. So how do i do it?
Ann : wull, let’s see. Your purpose is to be respected, to let the guys know that you are not on some kind of campaign, and that you are not available to every tom, Dick and Harry. Is that accurate?
Jackie : yes
Ann : so what are yur options beside reading this guy, who is an immediate problem, the riot act?mmmmm.
Jackie : i guess i could take his aside and tell him about it one-on-one. Or i could tell my boss and let him handle it, although that would be like being a tattletale.
Ann : you think talking to him one-to-one would help?
Jackie : maybe
Ann : i think it’s a low risk, possible high payoff option. He doesn’t get embarrassed and you show him and others that you can handle yourself. When you talk to him, tell him how you feel about the situation, why it bothers you, and offer him a way out to that he doesn’t feel like he’s losing face with his friends. Maybe see if you can join his gang at work-related problem. That’ll give you a chance to show him and other that you are interested in your job.
Jackie : that sounds like a great idea
Ann : oh, and why don’t you wait until tomorrow in case anyone’s seen us talk. They might be thinking the worse-that you’re complaining-and if they see nothing directly come of this conversation today, it will help you be accepted even more tomorrow
Jackie : good thanks.
Handling sexual advance in either a plant or an office situation is difficult at best. If it the boss who is making advances, it can be even more difficult. By responding a woman may develop reputation that can never be lived down. A rebuff, on the other hand, can put a strain on a working relationship that can seldom be effectively overcome. Although such a dilemma may not be as intense when a woman must deal with the come-ons of a peer, the situations differ more by degree than kind.
Margaret mead, the celebrate anthropogist, maintains that taboos againts sexual relations between people whose jobs require them to work closely with others should be developed to match the taboos in most societies against incest. She maintains that the social fabric of the workplace, like the home, depends on a deep abiding trust in one another. Workplace sex, like incest, is based on exploitation rather than a desire for real intimacy. Trust, consequently, is destroyed.A simple outline, which was used in this case, can be a useful guide in dealing with sex at the workplace. Firstly, a counselor should discover how the other person feels about the situation and let her (or him) “blow off steam.” By asking questions which require factual answer (what happened, when it occurred, etc) the person can be calmed down and will come to consider available options more easily. Then, the counselor should get the person to identify to a purpose or objective for improving things. “if the situation were really better, what would it be like?” “how would you like things to be different than they are now?” thirdl, the counselor can discuss the likely reactions from others which various options would produce “if you did that would it promote resentment? More kondding? Game playing? Cooperation?” lastly, evaluating the risks of a particular course of action may provide some hints on how to effectively implement it. This basic outline was followed by ann in this discussion with Jackie.