So last Thursday I came across a very frustrating situation. A friend of mine approached me to ask for some advice. The previous night she had contacted an alum from her college seeking professional advice. He then proceeded to tell her he preferred to communicate via text. Sadly when she told me, the first thing that popped into my head was “Oh no, I know exactly where this is going.” And the frustrating part is I SHOULDN’T know where the story was headed! But in today’s world the sad reality is that some men think that a woman trying to advance her career will do it by any means necessary. I don’t want this blog post to be focused on this man, but instead on the sad reality surrounding it. I realize this is not true for all men. I, for example, work in an predominately male office, who are all very respectable and pretty awesome. But for the men that this is true for, I need you to listen up.
When a woman reaches out for professional advice, it does not give you any right to be anything BUT professional. The same way that if you reach out to someone for professional advice, you don’t expect to be disrespected and offered anything but a professional relationship. We are the same! All we want is to advance our careers by merit and hard work. Please understand this is NOT okay and it is completely out of line. We are humans just like you and are trying to make a career for ourselves just like you. And honestly, we shouldn’t live in such a modern world where this is accepted as okay.
And to make matters worse, when my friend reached out to a female acquaintance from the same company as the man, she told my friend to not report it. WHAT? Are you kidding me? How are you not supporting your fellow woman? How could you possible tell her to keep quiet when she was blatantly disrespected? You are just as much part of the problem as the man.
My friend said “Women today are told so many don’ts, I don’t know what do.” And when she said that I knew she’d be okay. She knew right from wrong, and she knew that staying quiet wouldn’t sit well with her. So I did what any good woman, friend, fellow human would, I gave her a hug and told her to report him. Not only because he disrespected her, but because he should not be a contact for other women seeking professional advice. Because sadly, someone might actually fall prey to that. (To not be a hypocrite, in that situation both parties are at fault. The man for offering anything but a professional relationship. And the woman for thinking she is not good enough based on merit and that she has to resort to other measures.)
So, if you are going through a situation like this, or a friend of yours is, please remember for your protection and the protection of those around you it is always good to be honest. You should be your own priority.So you should always speak up when something isn’t right. I know sometimes due to the situation it might be tough, but if it doesn’t feel right in your gut, speak up. Who knows you might actually be helping someone else too. Always follow your gut, because it’s got your back and it’s always right.
Feel free to reach out to me if you need to talk or ask anything.
Much love always,