Unequal Ethos

, , , , | Working | September 12, 2017

(I have received a request for a pay rise from a relatively new employee. She cites the gender pay gap as a reason for her lower pay in comparison to a male employee [who, for whatever reason, decided to share his wages with her], and demands that we resolve it. I am also a woman.)

Me: “Your request has been denied for the time being. It has been decided that matters of pay inequality are not a contributing factor in your pay being unequal to [Male Employee].”

Employee: “And how did you come to that conclusion? It’s seems pretty obvious that the reason [Male Employee] is paid DOUBLE what I make is because I have a vagina.”

Me: “Firstly, he isn’t paid double; he is being paid 31% above what you earn. And to answer the question, he has worked here for nearly 20 years. The pay increase is proportional to that period of time. You, on the other hand, have only worked here for six weeks.”

Employee: *leaning in* “You don’t believe that do you? They’re pulling your leg.”

Me: “Who?”

Employee: “Your bosses.”

Me: “My bosses have nothing to do with this meeting, or the decision to deny your request.”

Employee: “Then you made the decision?”

Me: “Yes.”

Employee: “BUT YOU’RE A WOMAN, TOO! Do you want to them to treat us like dirt?”

Me: “[Employee], I have no doubt the gender gap exists elsewhere in the world; perhaps even in other areas of this company. In this department, however, it does not. I will not allow you to undermine 20 years of hard work and commitment just because [Male Employee] has a penis.”

Employee: “That’s UNREASONABLE! Are you accusing me of sexism? A woman?”

Me: “I’ll tell you what; let’s make a deal. Demonstrate that you have the same level of competence and commitment as [Male Employee], and I’ll reconsider.”

Employee: “Okay, what do I need to do?”

Me: “[Male Employee] has been working in [Department] long enough that he understands every aspect intimately, and covers for anyone who is on leave, with the exception of myself. I expect you to demonstrate this for one month. It is in no way a contractual obligation, but I expect you to work by his ethos. I will give you a month to get up to speed with the department. Then, the following month, you are expected to cover for anyone and everyone.”

Employee: “Well, there’s only five people in [department]; that doesn’t seem too hard. But that’s two months that I will be stuck at my current pay. I expect it to be backdated.”

Me: “Of course.”

(I wrote up a local agreement and we both signed it. She gave up one week into the two months. Literally during the process of learning what she needed to do, not actually covering, she gave up. I haven’t heard a peep about gender inequality since.)

Accept The Result Magma-nimously

, , , , , , | Working | September 5, 2017

I was in a manager’s meeting. All the managers were new to their positions and were trying to learn their jobs as quickly as possible. Everyone had been working themselves ragged, as we had a company-wide audit coming up. The managers all got along very well, as we all liked to have a good time to lighten the seriousness of the work. Meetings lasted for hours, and because I can’t sit still to save my life, I was sitting on the floor. The meeting was wrapping up, as there was a meeting of the board of trustees shortly after ours. Thinking we had more time than we did, a coworker shouted, “The floor is lava!” Everyone in the room jumped to get off the floor, including me, but I was stopped, because a coworker and close friend decided to use me to keep off the floor.

An argument ensued, as she cheated in “killing” me to save herself. Everyone got involved in the argument. The trustees walked in to find everyone still standing or sitting on desks, chairs, counters, and me. No one really noticed until a very cliche throat-clearing was heard. Everyone looked over to see very professionally-dressed men and women in the doorway. Before they could even ask what was going on, I explained what had happened and how my coworker cheated. I then asked them to find a final ruling, as they were technically an impartial third party. The trustees (thankfully) found the situation hilarious and agreed to deliberate. After a few moments, they decided that my coworker had cheated, and because I had been murdered, I was now immune to lava, and in some superhero-like event I became the “Lava Master.”

A few weeks later, I got a manila envelope in my mailbox. Inside was a certificate stating that I was the “Lava Master,” making me immune to lava, and an Olympic style medal stating, “I am the Lava Master.” I framed the certificate and hung it in the offices, and I wear my medal all the time. My coworker still grumbles about the unfairness of the situation, and is constantly reminded she was the murderer that gave me my powers to begin with.

The Ring Doesn’t Rule Them All

| San Antonio, TX, USA | Friendly | March 4, 2015

(I am talking with a friend of mine at our live action role playing meeting.)

Me: “…so then we were going to do a Ravenloft thing but it never happened.”

Friend: “What’s Ravenloft? Is that another kingdom?”

(Chapters are referred to as shires, baronies, and duchies based on size. Kingdom represents an overseeing organization that handles rules, mundane business details, and other such things for multiple chapters.)

Me: “Umm, no, it’s a Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting.”

Friend: “Oh, hmm, I hadn’t heard of it. I don’t play D&D.”

Me: “Really? Do you read fantasy novels?”

Friend: “Not usually.”

Me: “You at least know who Tolkien is, right?”

Friend: “No, what Kingdom is he from?”

Me: “He wrote the Lord of the Rings, which sort of started the whole fantasy genre.”

Friend: “Oh.”

Me: “You mean this is the first fantasy thing you’ve done? You realize, this is near the deep end of geekdom right?”

(Since then he’s gotten heavily geeked out. Most recently, I’ve seen him cosplaying as Bebop from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.)