Agony Aunt: I am stuck in a sexist workplace and I don’t know how to handle it

Due for credits

I am a 26-year-old man who has been working at a marketing firm for the past seven months. My team consists of six people including myself and I am quite friendly with all of them. However, when a project that has rooted from my ideas and work is successful, one of them always takes the credit. Since I am newer to the company and team, I don’t speak up because I don’t want to be isolated by them as we gel well together. But I don’t want to be walked over either. What should I do?

Ans: There seems to be a misconception around the fact that one needs to be non vocal in a new working place so that the initial rapport building can take place smoothly. However, there is no known negative correlation between speaking up and resulting consequences as you fear. You can begin by making use of the opportunities that come your way with respect to speaking up when needed so that you don’t end up feeling terrible about keeping quiet. There is a possibility of establishing friendly relations with all those colleagues who would appreciate your honesty thus focus on being yourself rather than how others want to view you.

Stuck in sexist workplace

I am 33-years-old and as a female I have faced a lot of sexism in my workplace. Recently, something that has been bothering me a lot is tying in my role of motherhood with my role at work. I am quite accomplished and have a lot more experience than many of my co-workers however, when the men talk about their children at work, it seems as though they are perceived as amazing fathers who are great at balancing home and work life. However as a female when I speak about my child at work, my co-workers start viewing me as incompetent and too attached to be able to create a balance. I’m not sure how to handle this situation but I cannot stand the belittlement.

Ans: The difference in treatment that you are facing could be quite hurtful as the matter in question is sensitive. Since you are feeling belittled by your colleagues treatment, speaking to HR and discussing this officially is necessary. Gender sensitisation needs to be a part of office culture so that no employee feels neglected or victimised. You could also arrange for a session or a workshop that can cater to this topic for everyone at your workplace without really offending the sentiments of any of your colleagues. Additionally, not letting the comments of others affect you is also essential.

Agony Aunt: I am stuck in a sexist workplace and I don’t know how to handle it

Leader in limbo

I am 42-year-old male and have recently promoted to a leadership position in our company. I am still figuring out what sort of leader I should be. A lot of the employees are friends that I worked with before getting promoted. Now I am supposed to give orders and manage them. I find it difficult to comment on their tardiness, absences, and sometimes work attire. It feels quite uncomfortable, because I feel that this work dynamic is really affecting our personal bonds. I don’t want them to think that I am acting egoistic, but I also need to do my job efficiently. I don’t know how to maintain these personal bonds without them getting offended by my role as a leader.

Ans: Leadership as a quality needs to be honed so that you as well as the team can benefit from it. The kind of leadership that needs to be employed will depend not only on your skills but also the requirement of the team. There is always going to be a juggle between maintaining your position as someone who is leading the team and a friend to those team members. In order to strike a functional balance, so that you aren’t stressed about being unfair, neither do your team members find you egoistic, you can draw a line between both these roles by not switching as per convenience.

Tired of same old job

I am 45-years-old and have been working as an accountant for the past 15 years. I am bored, tired, and exhausted of my occupation and I don’t know how to make life more interesting. My partner says I should stay put as I am making good money and it is too late to change professions. I do not feel motivated to go to work and my performance has been lacking. How do I get back to my old self?

Ans: It is often said that age is just a number, and if we go by the saying in your case it is actually not too late to consider a change on profession. You will need planning, patience, and also hard work in order to figure out an alternative profession which will make you feel more productive and happy in life. At this point in life realising your priorities is essential as it will be of great help to make a decision which is both, practical as well as something of your liking. Figuring out what entails going back to your previous self can also help immensely in making a decision as well.

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