Dear Amy: I grew up in a very progressive city. Gender equality always seemed like an historical issue that had been resolved. I never thought that being female would negatively impact my life.
Now, graduated from college and out in the real world, I finally get it. My supervisor and his manager had discussed promoting me, but in a 90 percent male company, they were concerned I would not be respected as a female in a higher position.
My disbelief was met by condescending assurances that they were protecting my best interests. I’ve been trying to think of how to address this.
What can I do to help bring equality and respect to women both in the workplace and in public?
Amy says: My mother (a farm wife who went to college late in life and eventually became a professor) rode the second wave of feminism. I surfed through on the third wave. Your generation is part of the fourth wave.
I highlight this so that you will understand that achieving gender equality is a process over 100 years in the making, and it will continue.
You (and others in your generation) should speak out, seek role models, become role models and work hard to enlighten, and/or work alongside, and/or eventually replace the people who are currently running the show. And when you are finally running things, use your power wisely and according to your values.
The fact that your overlords feel a sense of protection and condescension toward you translates into liking you. They have created an opening for you to communicate with them about advancement. Get in there, and “roar” (professionally) for yourself.
Taking up space
Dear Amy: My good friend and I live a considerable distance from each other.
Every two months, we meet at a restaurant that’s halfway between our homes, to eat and catch up. These gab fests last two to three hours.
We go to a place that’s not overly popular, and we go on off hours. There are plenty of available tables, so we’re not taking up space that someone else needs. But still, I feel guilty about “parking” at this restaurant. I know it’s a wait staff’s pet peeve.
I always leave a large (think 30 percent) tip. Would it be more appropriate to just tell our server when we arrive that we plan to be there a while and hand her some “rent” money upfront?
My friend thinks this is ridiculous, since there are very few other occupied tables during our stay. And aside from ordering dinner and dessert, we don’t ask for any other attention from our server.
What is your opinion?
Amy says: Back in the day, during my own brief career waiting tables during the lunch shift, late-lunch parties such as yours were a welcome relief from the craziness of the lunch rush.
Wait staff between the lunch and dinner shifts keep themselves busy preparing for the evening turnover. It is easy to do this and keep an eye on a quiet party of two who are lingering and enjoying themselves. If your waiter’s shift is ending, you can settle your check and continue to enjoy your coffee.
When the manager is looking for a place to seat you, say, “We plan to linger over our lunch. Perhaps you can stick us in a corner where we won’t get in the way.” This way the host can pair you with the appropriate waiter whose shift coincides with your visit.
If you visit this establishment regularly, they already know you. If you are a 30 percent tipper, they know you and value your business.
Don’t offer “rent” money to a server upfront.
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