The Main Character
Workplace hazing is actually a real thing. Have you ever felt it? To be honest, I have. It was like I was the main character in a soppy teen movie. Before you do a little smirk, let me explain.
I joined an organisation with a very different culture and yes a very “interesting” mindset towards leaders. This took a lot of getting used to and quite a bit of discussions with my mentors of whom many times I discussed the pro’s and con’s of staying in the job.
Challenges such as the team’s resistance to complete routine tasks, the removal of parking cone from the spot which had my position on it, to even questioning the legitimacy of me being in the leadership role in meetings that were completely outside of that discussion and yes snickers when I walked by.
There were many days that I wanted to quit and quite a few more days when I questioned the logics of the situation. With a staff rooted with an archaic mindset and resistant to change, a lot of work was needed. I took a step back, and tried to understand why I was being treated this way. It was FEAR. They were afraid and because of that, the power of the herd became apparent.
For me, understanding that they were afraid, was a breakthrough. I decided that I was not going to allow anyone to distract me from the leader that knew I was. Or the goals that I had for the department. I was not only doing this for myself, but for all the women and girls who saw me as an inspiration.
And I decided that I could go on. That I had the mental strength and intellectual capacity to do a mighty fine job. I had to dig very deep, especially since each day I started work walking very far to my office as I had no parking in the assigned area.
One of my mentors started a group for other female engineers who faced these kinds of toxicity and misogyny in the workplace. This was a tremendous outlet to not only share but to strategize on how to deal with the situations that were devised to break us. This support was the beginning of the victory.