I got wished Happy Administrative Professionals Day...and I'm not one!!

Pursegrrl

Oh no she di-int!!
O.G.
Jun 1, 2006
28,070
77
54
Seattle
Warning...PGal rant here...

I want to preface this by saying I in NO WAY mean any offense to our tPF Admins out there...it's a grueling and often thankless job. I know this because I have done it myself for about 2 years after I finished university ('89-'91). I also want to say I make this post at the risk of it being taken out of context, but that's a risk I choose to take. So...here goes.

Brief background: I am a Senior Project Manager. This means I have the responsibility of getting teams together from various depts in our company to get projects done on time and at or under budget, meeting or exceeding expectations. AND...with no official authority over anyone on my project teams (meaning, I do not have direct reports).

I have been running a pretty high profile project at this relatively new job (started in September). It is more of a rampdown/shutdown for one of our departments (hence a negative undertone), but I'm grateful for the opportunity and challenge.

I've been working with a big team, but have a core team of 2 VPs and 1 Director (all men) who are a part of the good ol' boys club here. We all work on the same floor and all are in constant contact on a daily basis. The corporate culture here is one of banter, not conversation. It's rare to ask "hey, how's the wife/husband/kids." Very different from what I'm used to, but I have a good sense of humor, thick skin and am really not easily offended by too much of anything. Slowly but surely, these 3 gentlemen have learned that about me since we are working together so closely on this project and have been since January!

So...after a conference call today the 4 of us were commenting about the call. One of the VPs gets up to leave the conf room and turns to me, smiles and says "oh by the way, pursegrrl, Happy Administrative Professionals Day."

<insert screeching to a halt sound here.> The vibe immediately switched from joking around to me being PISSED. I said in a somewhat stern voice "...and why are you wishing that to me?" He said "Because that's a lot of what you do, right??" Awkward moment!! The other two men kind of looked away and I looked him straight in the eye and said "No, it's not." He asked a few more q's and I said very directly, "no, no and no" to each one. I then looked away and could sense how uncomfortable everyone was. The VP then left the room and the other 2 stayed. We changed the subject and wrapped up a few things before adjourning.

Fast forward a couple hours and the 4 of us (with a larger group) had another meeting. I could tell this guy was kind of avoiding my eyes when I looked at him to ask some questions about what he was working on for the deliverables but I didn't care.

I later went into his office and thought hmmm...I could rip him a new one or approach this with some humor. I opted for the latter. I shut his door and semi-chuckled "...<VP>, do you REALLY see what I do here as administrative assistant work?" He then got a little uneasy and said no, it was a joke. I am not inclined to believe that one bit, as much as he and I joke all the time. He was covering his butt for sure. I said you know, I realize the function of project management is relatively new here to this company, so there could very well be some misperceptions that I would be happy to clear up. He was very jumpy and said "oh no, no, I KNOW what you do..." Now, I could have grilled him and asked him for specifics about what he knows about what I do, but I think he got the message so I backed off.

I don't want to paint this guy in a bad light, but it was just so out of character for him. And, so out of character for me to let this BUG me so much. I guess it bugged me b/c I started wondering way deep down...do all these 3 guys all see what I do as supportive work rather than leadership? :confused1:

I'm gonna chew on this one a bit more. And...thanks for those who have read all the way through this...it is really helpful just pouring it all out to y'all. :girlsigh:
 

angfento

Happy Momma!
Aug 31, 2006
671
0
WOW! You know Pursegrrl.. I work in an all Male industry and I get that quite often also. It sucks, and we just have to continue to keep our thick skin and I cannot tell you how proud I am of you to have stood up with what sounds like a lot of class but clarity! Good for you! And I think even if they did feel that way, you cleared it up!
They probably have no idea what you actually do to be honest! Most men make many assumptions about females... hell I think we will always host better luncheons even if they are of technical nature! But that's just because we are just better at it not because that's what we are meant to do!! ;)
 

mastermemei

ShoppingDiva
Oct 8, 2007
465
0
36
Manila
WTG Pursegrrl!

Sometimes when you work in a male dominated place, you'll often see male egos flying around the office. There are times that I became a target or between this battle of egos but I wouldn't let them intimidate me. I do my job well regardless of my gender so they should mind their own business.
 

digby723

Back to reality
May 2, 2006
5,139
3
NOVA
I don't think you were out of line at all. In fact, I think it's a good thing that you made it clear in front of the others as to what your job was, and then had a conversation privately with him just to make sure that he knew what your job was. Hope everything works itself out and that they remember this for next year!
 
Jan 25, 2006
25,474
44
Maryland
I do the same thing as you and I received flowers yesterday. I thought it was nice, but in your situation I can see why that upset you.
 

BiloxiBlu

Bless your heart :)
O.G.
Aug 26, 2006
949
5
Biloxi, Mississippi
Well, in his defense, I don't consider a paralegal an admin professional, but we still give ours cards and a gift. Since there is just an AP and a Bosses day, we like to make sure that the non-attorneys get a "holiday." So maybe he meant well. And maybe he does not get the fact that its just the the pc term for secretary.

I can see why you were offended, and I think you saying that was totally in line. I just don't want ya to hold a grudge. :smile:
 

tokyogirl

Keanu!
O.G.
Jan 22, 2006
3,423
6
Pursegrrl, I am so happy that you confronted him on this. I can totally understand why this would upset you. It sounds like you handled the situation well.
 

HauteMama

.
O.G.
Sep 22, 2006
11,564
864
I agree and I understand why you were offended. Good for you for clearing things up, both in front of coworkers and in private later on. That decreases the chances that he will pull something like that again.

Earlier in my career I was VP of an advertising department and the company boss sent every woman in the building flowers for Secretaries/Administrative Professionals day. Everyone else seemed pleased, so maybe I was too sensitive, but I worked my butt off to get that position and I wanted to be recognized for the work I did. I started the hunt for a new job that same day...
 

MissE46

Member
Mar 7, 2007
163
0
I understand how you feel. I got sent an E-card wishing me a Happy Administrative Professionals Day by a fellow co-worker. Apparently she sent one out to everyone here in the office.:noggin:
 

dusty paws

8.11.2012
O.G.
Sep 20, 2006
17,140
122
36
East Bay, CA
I'm glad that you stood up for yourself!

I, on the other hand, got nothing. No one acknowledged me :sad: Which is okay, I'm used to it.
 

couture2387

Member
Jan 5, 2008
1,443
1
Miami
well at least he wished you one! lol....my boss can care less. The other 2 secretaries and I didn't even get a "Thanks!"
 

bagnshoofetish

Oh. Gee.
O.G.
Feb 12, 2006
33,579
3,050
earth
eeeyuk. even if you were Senior Vice President, some men will always look at you as a step below them. they can't help it. its what reassures them that their penis is not shrinking or something. the other guys obviously don't have that problem and are quite satisfied and secure in their manhood. I'm glad you made things clear to him cause it would have just gotten worse. He would have made other similar comments down the line but now that you nipped it in the bud, he'll think twice before opening his pie hole.

p.s. when it was National Animal Keepers day, all we got were stale donuts.
 

BalenciagaLove

Plisse Me!
Feb 4, 2006
5,181
8
SF Bay Area
Ok... I know this will sound rather SEXIST on my part... but here is my theory on why I think he said it....

Just like men say that we go through our "time of the month", they go through their "time of the month". The difference is instead of being *****y, bloated, or whatever, they say something stupid and utterly inappropriate. It wasn't meant like a personal attack, it's just "foot in mouth" disease. This certainly doesn't excuse their behavior, but it certainly explains it.

I work with a lot of guys and sure enough, about once a month, each one of them will say something utterly retarded. I look at them with the look such a statement deserves and then chalk it up to "Oh, they were due for one" and life goes on in harmony. This guy probably thought he was being clever or funny and instead he's being an ASS. Don't worry though, in about a month or so, you'll get another statement that just boggles our minds. He's clearly chronically afflicted. I'm not sure that there is a cure.