Perpetual Learner

The Topic

By Perpetual Learner
4 Dec 2018

Men have to step up, she said, and “not let fear be a barrier.”


en have stepped up, for decades, the #metoo women have squandered it. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the severe damage this movement has done to the hard work of the women who came before, the trailblazers. Historically, men had always been the bread winners & women the ones who took the bread to feed their families, it’s often omitted that when this dynamic changed, it was men who helped women become acclimated to the work force. Yes, I know, there are some exemplary exceptions to the rule, that’s a different conversation.


ack when I graduated high school, it the late 70’s, a woman didn’t have a plethora of options, I may be oversimplifying but, for the sake of argument, go with me here. My choices were somewhat limited, the considered occupations between my fellow high school females were fashion design, journalism, teaching or nursing. Of course you had the higher end examples of engineering, mathematics, pre-med or pre-law, to name a few, but those fields were heavily competitive for men or women, you flat out needed the aptitude, it wasn’t a “gender thing”. If you couldn’t afford college, there were apprenticeships with journeymen who offered you a trade.


’d applied & was accepted to college, Journalism/English, were my declared majors, I’d considered political science as my minor. My particular high school offered 2 different curriculum choices, college prep or trade, I chose college prep. By my junior year, I’d hit all the credits to graduate HS as well as college pre-reqs so for my senior year I was able to chose whatever classes I wanted, I decided on those which best suited my college goals, I'd taken 8 classes with emphasis on English, English lit, journalism and 4 in history/ poly sci, it also afforded me the time to be on the yearbook & HS paper staff as well as writing a weekly column, it wasn’t high brow like a college review but I loved it. I was looking forward to being the first in my family to go to college.


started college and I thoroughly enjoyed higher education, the freedom of living away from home & all the activities & night life that came with it. I also had to work 2 jobs to afford it. My parents didn’t make enough to send me to college but too much for aid, it was a financial burden & exhausting. After a heart wrenching decision, after my sophomore year, I dropped out. During that time, I’d met my soulmate so all wasn’t totally lost. We’d gotten married & I got a job, the typical 1st time jobs, waitress, then bank teller promoted to vault teller. We lived in OH & around our 5th year of marriage, OH was losing industry & we’d been given the opportunity to relocate to PA. We packed up hearth & home, our 2 toddler children & moved 400 miles away, it was hard leaving all our family behind but we had to go where the work was.


hose last 2 paragraphs may seem misplaced but it needed told so I could properly make my point, if you’re still reading, thx for sticking with me. I’m bringing it home, I promise. When we moved to PA, a suburb of Philly, we learned really quickly a single income would no longer cut it. In order to make ends meet, I had to enter the workplace. I got a job as a secretary to the GM of a printing company. Since he communicated a lot, the English & writing classes I completed in college helped secure the job. He was out of the office quite a bit so more & more, I had to become aware of how’d he respond b/c there were no cell phones, I had to make judgement calls. Quite often I spent time in his office, alone & it was never awkward. Apparently, I made the correct calls b/c within a year, I was promoted to CSR/ QC. He saw my potential & promoted me. I was grateful for the opportunity & made sure he wouldn’t regret it. The company closed and we couldn’t move back home, still no jobs so I needed to find another job. I was once again hired as a secretary in a different printing company. Same thing, the gentleman I worked for promoted me again. It kept happening, I never wanted anyone to regret their trust & confidence they’d placed in me. As I improved, so did my opportunities. I once interviewed with a woman who said w/o a degree, I’d never advance to management, I was pretty much as high as I’d go. In a unique anomaly for me, I didn’t get angry, I got motivated. After nearly 35 years in the same industry, I’ve been promoted from secretary to a wide variety of titles & I’m now the National Director of Procurement & Product Development.


tell you all of this for the expressed purpose of negating this BS that women aren’t given the same opportunities, men are oppressors, men need to step up & the #metoo shouldn’t be a barrier. What did these women think would happen? With each promotion came more interaction between myself and men. There was a time when I was the only woman at the table with 14 men for the off site President’s quarterly reporting meetings. Not bragging, just a fact. I wanted a seat at that table, I’d earned it & you can be dang sure they didn’t sugar coat or temper their language or behavior when I was there & I didn’t want them to. It was men who gave me the promotions & it was almost exclusively men who trained me. If they resented having to train a woman, they hid it well. If someone wants to believe I got there b/c of some quota, their wrong. No one hands over multi-million dollar accounts & a division to someone unless they can do the job, a nice suit & high heels will only get you so far and it won’t stand the test of time.


t frustrates me that we are in the 21st century and these movements push us back years, if not decades. It sends us back to a similar time when women first entered the workforce, only worse. The first time it happened, although some men may be sleazy, the overwhelming majority of men came to accept the new norm & willingly gave someone a shot when willing to earn it. Woman are bemoaning equality, demanding they be seen as equals yet want deference because they’re a woman. Regarding the workplace, we should be color blind & we should be gender blind. Have men inappropriately said or implied something to me over my decades in the work place? You betcha, I nipped it in the bud & the one time it was unmanageable, I went to HR. More importantly, here’s a little tidbit rarely mentioned, I’ve had more issues with fellow women, they can be petty, catty & tit for tat & I can assure you, I detested that more. I worked hard, really hard, to get where I am in hopes of making it easier for my daughter & granddaughters & I resent the women of today trying to turn us into fragile flowers that need tender gardening. If a man at work holds a door for me, I thank him. If we have a luncheon meeting and he wishes for me to order first or waits until the food arrives, that’s great - for the record, it’s not sexist, it’s manners & their momma taught them well. Work is just that, work. Don’t go looking for work to treat you differently just because you’re screaming equality. If someone does you wrong, male or female, call it out. One thing I learned, all by myself, if you want to get ahead & be respected, earn it. Don’t bitch till you get it, remember, the people you mistreat on your way up the ladder, they’ll be the same ones you see on your way down. Never do anything that will give anyone pleasure when you find yourself in a tough place, those tend to be the people you need to get you out of it. Thankfully, I learned that by observing others & I’ve lived by that rule my entire career.