Today, I heard two haunting stories.
A male job candidate told me a story of a certain female coworker in the mortgage industry, whose skill and knowledge surpassed many of the men in the room, would often be forced to transfer a client to someone else because the client adamantly “asked to speak with a man.” Another story was that of one of my office’s female managers, that as a past manager of bomber planes/planes in the military, her general/higher rank would have to discipline men to stop hanging up on her because that woman was their boss. Which reminded me of a third story, where a male consultant named Martin and his female coworker Nicole were intrigued by the result of an honest mistake of Martin mistakenly sending emails signed in as Nicole, so they intentionally switched accounts for two weeks to see what would happen. Nicole had the smoothest weeks she has ever had, clients were responsive and enthusiastic, while Martin struggled to get past clients being repeatedly rude and dismissive. Nicole later wrote an article titled “Working While Female.” These are stories that often haunt me as I speak to some candidates on the phone, or even when a stranger in our office building simply addresses me. The little things and the little belittling ways they treat you. Things that wouldn’t happen everyday if you were 1 foot taller, 20 years older, and male. It’s haunting.