Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Myth of Myth #3

While I was working at my crappy temp job, I grew quite fond of Yahoo! Jobs articles. Every time I saw a little headline that shouted "Best Careers for Your Personality" or "10 Ways You Fucked Yourself Over at Work Yesterday" I had to read it. Today I saw "The 5 Biggest Workplace Myths" and was intrigued. What could they be, I wondered. You really can take those Hot Pockets?

I should have known. The Biggest Workplace Myth is still that women are welcome in it. Myth #3 says it all:

News flash: If you report sexual harassment it'll probably hurt your career. The law protects companies from getting sued for sexual harassment, and human resources professionals are trained to circle the company and protect it as soon as someone reports a problem. This isn't to blame people in HR -- there's nothing else they can do because the law dictates this behavior.

When you do report harassment, the most likely thing to happen is that you'll lose your job because of retaliation. Yes, that's illegal, but it's pretty much impossible to prove in court. But let's say you can sue and win: You'll get a settlement that's too small to allow you to retire, you'll be virtually unemployable in your field and career, and your harasser will probably do the same thing to your replacement.

Before you accuse me of being indifferent to social justice, please know that I'm not saying this is OK. I'm saying that unless you're independently wealthy, you can't afford to single-handedly face down the injustice of sexual harassment laws. So unless you're in physical danger, figure out how to make the best of a bad situation and move away from the harasser if possible.
As ususal, shut up and take it is the way to go. What if the "best" way to deal with it is to have an affair with the harasser and blackmail him into a promtion to a different department? Of course I don't think this woman is saying she thinks that sexual harassment is okay. I think she is saying that it is not important for women to support each other and create an environment that is legitimately safe and positive for everyone. That attitude is the same one that is threatening women's rights across the board. As long as women accept that the rewards lie in compliance and not organized revolt, we will be on the defensive.

I was glad to hear that gaps in my resume aren't a big deal though. That eases my mind a whole lot.

No comments: