Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A Different Side to the Frizzenspark's Post

Notice I have not entitled this Boudicca Draws her sword. That’s because I’m not angry. My Blog Father Grau didn’t come over here and bash me on my blog. He stated HIS opinion on HIS blog. He just simply states where he can see why things happen the way they do and I am simply posting this to tell some of you what it’s like to be on the other side, the working woman’s side. I’m writing to add what it was like in my world, not to tell him he was wrong and if you read his post you’ll see he’s NOT bashing women in the workforce.

I believe that women upon being hired should hire in at the same wage as their male counterparts if their skills and experience are the same. Period. No exceptions. None of this BS that the man is the breadwinner, the woman may leave in time, nothing. Same skills, same pay. However, should ANYONE, man or woman, take extended time off to care for children, parents or gallivant around taking their 5 month dream vacation, all bets are off. It is not right that someone who was gone half the year receive the equivalent raise of someone who was there busting their hump for the entire 12 months, no matter how hard the person worked before or after their absence. It’s how I feel, too bad, so sad. Life happens.

I hired in at the same pay as my male counterparts. I know for a fact. For proof my company did not discriminate, VW and her ex-husband hired in within 6 months of each other into different groups but the same overall department, having the same degree and skill level upon hiring, her after him, at the same company I worked, and SHE hired in for MORE than he did. (Yeah, that didn’t sit right with him. Instead of thinking of it as “Oh Bonus! More money for us!” he had a piss poor chauvinistic attitude about it.)

During my time there, I took maternity leave three times. I took 5 months off each time, only being paid for the 6 weeks sick time and then taking the rest without pay. I had no intention of having three kids, but it is what it is and it happened. I went part time after Son#1 was born. It was a benefit written in our books, but nobody in my department of 600+ people had ever tried it. I went to bat to see what could be done and our senior management just about beat me to death with that bat before allowing me to come back part time.

1) “What does it do for US?”
2) “You are an indecisive woman. Make up your mind, do you want to work or do you want to be a Mom.” Oh I loved this one. Upon hearing this, a woman I worked with said to him, “You love her as an employee. Why would you NOT want her to clone herself for future generations? How short sighted you are.” He is dead now and I did not shed a tear.
3) “You know it will end your career. Why bother.” I’m still unsure why people think life is all about their careers. It is not. It is about balance, the people you love, the people who love you.

And on and on it went. I personally went in to see our VP about it who shot me down with remark #1. (He’ll be dead soon, he’s ill, I won’t shed a tear.) I went to see my HR rep who gave me the same response. (He’s dead now. I didn’t shed a tear. No I didn’t go to his funeral nor did I give a second thought when he had his massive heart attack.) I went part time when my boss and my manager realized that I was no shit going to leave the company all together if they didn’t let me go part time. As I put it to my boss, “I’m having a baby, not buying a dog.” My husband has a good job. It was important to both of us that we raise our own children, not a stranger, and with his job, it was a luxury we had. But it was also important to both of us, that I still retain the use of my brain, something I feared losing. I’m a smart woman with a lot to offer. I had a horrible fear of my brain oozing out my ears from lack of use. (Didn’t happen. I’m resourceful and found other ways to compensate when I decided to stay home full time after the plant shut down.)

So my boss and my manager took it to task to make it happen and it did. And it happened because I WAS A DAMN GOOD EMPLOYEE. People don’t go to bat for other people when that person sucks. They didn’t want to lose me. I worked hard, I got the job done, I played well with others for the most part, kicked ass when I’d had it, and they didn’t want to lose me. I have a strong work ethic.

My best friend from my group was also a woman. DK reads this blog and I’m sure she’s surprised she is reading this now and that I’m mentioning her! She has a strong work ethic too. As a matter of fact, of the people in our group, she and I were probably the best damn employees our boss had ever had, definitely the best he had at that time. We worked hard, long hours, our customers loved us, and we were honest and loyal. We were compensated monetarily because of this.

When I went part time, this DID NOT change. Yes, I was part time, but I was NEVER distracted by the fact I had a baby at home. I didn’t spend my time on the phone worrying about him or wondering what he was doing. I worked. I worked hard. And when there was something that was due and it was tough, when my husband came home from work at 6:00, I would GO BACK until midnight and finish. I did this the entire time I worked for them, whether it was in that group or when I transferred over to a more technical group in the engineering department. And for the record, with my second son, I worked until I went into labor AT WORK, then quietly said I wasn't feeling well, hugged everyone goodbye, then went home and had my baby.

People depended on me. They depended on me to get the job done, get it done on time, and have it right. There was no slacking. I don’t think anyone regretted when I went part time as opposed to losing me all together. I left when they were at lunch and when they came back, I was just not there.

Come first raise time after I'd been back about 8 months and was busting my butt trying to prove my worthiness... again, my VP refused to give me any type of raise. I was part time and part time employees didn’t deserve one. Our boss was horrified. I had been busting my ass and I was going to get nothing because I was part time. He sold our VP on a bill of goods, didn’t get me a raise, but got me a lump some money, the equivalent of a 10% raise. My old boss will forever be in my good memories and prayers. (And this was a DIFFERENT boss that saw enough value in me to get me my part time position!)

And that goes for my friend, DK too, as far as my permanent good memories and prayers. She was my biggest cheerleader. She helped me research things and when they knocked me down, she picked me up, dusted me off, and sent me back out into the fight.

We had no benefits when I went part time. No medical, no vacation, no sick time. As time progressed, I got prorated vacation and sick time and medical. It is the norm now for employees who work part time to receive some modified benefits. Allow me to tell you, I NEVER met one part time slacker. NEVER. The women I met that went part time worked their asses off because they had less time to complete their jobs. People were constantly judging them and questioning their worthiness.

I met plenty of full time men who needed to be fired. Plenty of them that spent their time saying they had ‘business in the shop’ so they could just meander and not work. Plenty of them.

As for not wanting to hire a woman because she ‘might’ want to leave and have children, all I have to say is, ‘their loss’. Women in the workforce add another dimension. Men enjoyed working with me and my women co-workers. It is not better working with women, just different.

So all I’m saying is don’t lump all of us into a pile. This pervasive attitude that is out there that I will not be as good an employee because I’m worrying about my family or I might leave to have another kid or whatever else might come along, is what makes me gun shy in venturing out into the work force. I KNOW what kind of employee I was. I just wonder if any manager out there will ever really want to take that chance on me.

And should I be hiring in at the same time as a man, I expect if my work experience and skill level are the same, I should be given the exact same pay. To the penny. And my employer will not regret it… ever. I will be his best investment.

Like I said in the beginning, Grau is not trashing women. He just shows a study and says where he sees some of it coming from. I’m merely showing what it’s like to have to be on that other side, to have to fight for what we have, to overcome the obstacles that are constantly thrown at us. Also, I don’t miss it. I don’t miss having to fight to prove myself because I’m a woman. And it happened… all… the… time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that I'd like to see a "vetting process" that does not include Race or Gender on the application. Just education, work experience, and age. It would go a long way toward equalixing the hiring process, and that would do some good about the "wage thing".

I've had the pleasure of working with quite a few "ladies" that were better at what they did than I ever could be. I loved it when I heard that they made more bucks than I did, but I didn't do anything about it when I heard that they didn't. I feel more than a little bad about that.

If I'm ever in the place to influence those klnd's of decisions again, I'll be sure to keep it in mind.

Johnny - Oh
CLoset Extremist.

12:21 AM  
Blogger Graumagus said...

Actually I agree with everything you've said here.
The point I was trying to make (and which you never said I wasn't, just trying to clarify here) is that I can see the rationale for it, not that I think it's right. Trust me, I know how management can be dicks. I bitch about the screwing I've been getting at my job from the pointy-haired types and my buddy Contagion (who's one of THEM) giggles about how he uses the same techniques to shatter his employees will to live. I'd probably tell him exactly how big of an asshole that makes him if I wasn't usually drinking his beer at the time.

I do stand by what I said about feminists legislating women out of the workplace overseas, however.
To make a small business give a female employee a full year off with pay and benefits for maternity leave is insane. They'd have to hire someone to fill in (basically paying double wages for the same productivity), train them, then probably let them go when the woman returns to her guaranteed job position. And if she has another child, repeat that process.
In that situation a small business owner would be nuts to hire a woman of child bearing age.

I'm glad you're not pissed. Especially with the "hysterectomy" crack, which was a blatant attempt to troll for offended responses (Grau looks innocently around "Who me? Do that? nooooo) hehehe.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

I agree with you 100% on the benefits, Grau. My husband is a small business owner. I personally believe the 6-8 wks paid is sufficient. I do like that the law stipulates (FMLA) that I be able to take 12 weeks without pay, which I did every time. That is based on company size too, I believe. If you have over so many employees you must adhere to FMLA. It doesn't hammer the small business owner. I think a year with pay is ridiculous. I can see extending it to 10 weeks for a large company, but not a year. Complete BS.

I just felt it was nice going back to work after 5 months because they were almost able to sit up. They were still babies, but not infants. It was a luxury also, that I could take all that time without pay, once again. If there had not been FMLA, I probably would not have gone back to work. HOWEVER, I know many woman who have the FMLA option who do not take it because they don't want to. (Seriously. Not because they can't afford to, because they really can't wait to get back to work. That's cool. It's their CHOICE.)

And there's nothing to be pissed about. You weren't trashing working women. I didn't really disagree with you. It was just a matter of my wanting to put out there what it's like on the other side.

5:54 AM  
Blogger VW said...

Ok Bou, I cannot resist adding my ranting about my last job of 5 years: Phew. There is so much to say. I'll keep the ranting to a minimum. First the background. I was considered a Distinguished Engineer in the company I left. I was paid quite a bit for this position and I deserved every penny. I worked hard and was extremely loyal to the company. The only reason I didn’t go higher was because someone had to die or leave to have an opening in the technical field at that level. Literally. Then some things came along to change everything. Next, why I left. Nope, it wasn’t the pregnancy – it was a change of command. I was put under a man who was not a good supervisor (hmmm coach) who was under a man who believed in ‘The Chain Of Command’ and all that other B.S. Shortly after that I got pregnant. I was not happy in my job, I was unable to post to another position and after having my child (#1 Son), I came back to work, still unhappy with my job. It turns out that my #1 Son got pneumonia of the left lung, I needed to stay home with him and I had no time left to take. Remember that Boss… well I had to make a choice. My old boss looked to try and get me back but couldn’t and though my husband and I discussed him staying home – it was better for us if I left. It would be easier for me to find a job in the future.

Home I came. As Bou says, anyone who takes time off, it’s their responsibility to deal with it. I did not have any time off left and an upper boss that didn’t like women. I made my choice and I didn’t go whining about not having more time off. I had used it to be home the first 3 months. My boss had the right/choice to say no to more time. I had the right/choice to leave.

Would this have come out differently if I was still with my old Boss. You bet it would have. I still talk to that whole bunch occasionally.

Do I believe men should get treated differently? No. Do I think women should have 8 to 10 weeks off? Yes, I was lucky to take 3 months off, but I was called at home at 6 weeks and could barely think straight. I had a highly technical job and sleep deprivation does a real job on your ability to think.

If you are qualified the same, do the same job then you should get paid the same. There should be No discussion. The raises should be appropriate for the work done. Not a ‘might be in the future’ item unless it is because they are looking to promote you. Then again, it should be qualifications, not if you are a man or woman. It mainly should be what you have done in the past. If you were not at work because of time off, then you should consider what you did when you get back and look at it from your boss’ point of view. Did you excel when you returned? Did you do more than the person next to you that was there the whole time? Why should you get a raise (or a bigger raise) than them? Ok, enough ranting…

Side note: Of course I also believe that income tax should be 10% across the board for rich / poor / middle class (ie Everyone). It should be equal. Just like having a job and getting paid – equal pain for everyone. Grin!

7:13 AM  
Blogger Contagion said...

Working in an office of primarily females and female employees, I've lost count of how many times we hire someone put them through the 16 weeks of training, they work through their first year to get up to speed on the job they are doing. Then have them leave the company because they a)had a child b)spouse got a new job and they quit so the sposue could relocate to take the new job. or c) leave to spend more time with the kids.

That hasn't stopped us from hiring women, but that and some other reasons has really made us scour our hiring practices to make sure we get the best candidate for the position that we feel will stick around for at least 2 years.

(Pulling hair into pointy "horns") And yes Grau, there is an evil empire of mangerial people that have the soul, er sole purpose of keeping the employees down. And yes Grau, you are on our, er their list. And I know in our conversations I about it, you are not the happiest to realize that I am part of those people. However we are not as bad as I make us out to be, and I don't even try to explain all of it because people will believe what they want, and it's more fun to perpetuate the belief we are out to screw the employee. Because I like my minions having that image of me.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Quality Weenie said...

As a working women with no kids I wish to throw my 2 cents in. As a working women who had to find a job last year (layed off) and being of an age where it's do or die time for having kids I was looked down upon by a lot of companies, a couple even asked if I was going to have kids (illegal to do so) because they didn't want to hire someone and then have them take time off. I polietly told them I don't want to work for a company with that kind of attitude and departed.

I also work in a very male environment (Engineer in a manufacturing plant), this means I have to prove myself twice as much just because I have breast. Really, I'm working twice as hard as the men and come raise time I'm lucky to get the same percentage. Raise time is coming up for me in the next month and I have an awesome boss who respects for what I do not what sex I am. I am thinking I may for once in my life get a raise worthy of the job I am doing.

My previous company (the layed off one) I got a 3% raise, after my boss told me he would make sure I got a good raise because I was busting my ass. The other engineer, doing the same type of job but with half as many programs as me got a 5% raise. Gee no gender bias there.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

Let me state here that I did not go part time and have my first baby until I had been with the company for NINE YEARS! Iddn't hire in and say, "Oh! I want my benies! I deserve them!" NINE HARD FRICKIN'YEARS of proving myself before I had to fight to go part time. Then I stayed until they closed the plant and I probably would have stayed until age 65 if they hadn't. Best thing they ever did for me was shut that plant down. I got a big reality check. Best thing that ever happened to me.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Tammi said...

All good points. Really. And of course leads to a me me me thought in my tiny brain. I really wish we were at a point that it all came down to dedication and performance. And balance. Yeah - there has to be balance.

I spent 8 years with an employer that, due to management change decided that I really couldn't do the job I was doing. Didn't matter that I'd been doing it, and doing it very well for a few years now. Nope - I was a single woman with no degree. How on EARTH could I possibly be as qualified for a management job as a guy fresh off the streets with a degree in forestry?! Imagine that.

I think what I hear as the underthread of all this is the frustration that things just aren't balanced, they just aren't fair. And that's on both sides of the gender fence. It seems that those that work very hard and give a large part of who they are often get kicked in the teeth. I have several theories on that - insecurity of manager, old world ideals and often just plain shit happens. Is it right? No. Does it happen? I think the comments above show that in spades.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

You're right. Life is just not fair. And I'm cool with that. I really am. I was raised that life isn't fair. I just think it's time for people who think all is right with the world see how it really is. If you ain't livin' it, you ain't seein' it.

And it all really boils down to who you work for. I had some GREAT bosses. All men. I had one or two I would easily have thrown under a bus given the opportunity, but most of them were really awesome.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Tammi said...

Exactly - and I also realize nothing in life is really fair. And I'm also alright with that (geez hope it didn't come across otherwise) I knew when I made certain choices, or was forced into certain situations it was not going to be a smooth road - and Mama didn't raise no slackards.

And I'm with you - it's just time people realize that. It's not always fair, it's sometimes just luck. And sometimes it comes from just down right hard work.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Anathematized1 said...

One thing I haven't noticed being mentioned here (and I assume it is because none of you fall into this category) is women who do not DEMAND the same pay rate as their male counterparts.

Many women will take a job at a much lower rate of pay than they actually deserve and not contest it - or are just not good at negotiating salaries, devaluing their starting salary (which is the foundation for future problems come raise time).

I'm not saying these other issues don't exist. Just wondering how many of us have taken a job to get a job, and not necessarily demand a particular rate - no major negotiation - or just take a low offer in order to get the job mainly because you don't want to seem too egocentric by demanding appropriate compensation?

1:11 PM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

The only reason I didn't mention that is I don't have experience with that. Through college I waited tables. Then I had my job with the Fortune 50 company and I worked there for 12 years until they closed the plant. Typically with the women I know in my profession, they have always been paid what their male conterparts have been paid. I know that there are exceptions, but my sample group was paid accordingly. Luckily. Having to fight for it would suck... and I know only because I've had to fight for so many other things. I get tired of the fight.

And to anyone else, women in particular who read this, this is all the more reason you should vote! Women FOUGHT for our right. To not vote is to dismiss all they did for us.

2:21 PM  

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