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.