Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Babes and Bozos At Work

Ok, so the title of this section grabbed you. If you are a woman the simple fact that I used the word “Babes” may already have cranked you up. Interestingly, most guys won’t get similarly exorcised about men being referred to as “Bozos.” Therein lies one of the basic differences between men and women in the workplace.
I’m not stupid enough to believe—or certainly not to say—that one sex is smarter than the other. A former president of Harvard University has already done that and was hammered for it. So let me offer my politically correct disclaimer: No, I don’t condone sexual harassment, men or women in power using their positions to obtain sexual favors, telling off-color jokes to people who don’t enjoy them, sexual innuendos in or out of the workplace unless they are between consenting adults, or visiting porn sites on company computers.
So there.
The simple fact, though, is that we are different and we often bring those differences to work with us. I believe the differences can enhance the workplace, but today’s culture of political correctness has created a level of hair-trigger anticipation that seems to neither tolerate nor forgive the inevitable slips, slides and stumbles that occur when two creatures as different as men and women work together.
I promise you that if you come to work with a gender chip on your shoulder you won’t have a Perfect Workday. If you do, you’ll spend most of your time so overly sensitive about a wide range of issues that the possibility of totally focusing on your work vanishes.
This isn’t the “Boys will be boys and girls will be girls” explanation. This is the, “We are all adults in the workplace and unfortunately some don’t act like it sometimes” explanation. Your co-workers range from brilliant to boorish; consider the sources.
If someone says something or does something that crosses your sword then pull them aside, in private, and explain your concern. If they do it a second time take’em public; just be aware that life may not be fair.

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