>At work, apart from work

>The company finally decided to spend a li’l money on us apart from the measly monthly salary they give us (Salaries will always be measly. Otherwise, we’d be unambitious!). So there we were, 20 people from 10 cities converging for a conference in Goa. Making people work in Goa should be made a crime punishable by law. Making people sit through meetings from 10 in the morning to 7 in the evening in a sea-facing room with a view of the golden sunset on the beach should be made a bigger crime! But since it’s not, we could do little but use all our concentrated efforts to stay mentally within that room.

Outside the conference room, though, I was using all my concentrated efforts to fight something of a gender situation. Let me put it this way – I was the youngest member of the female sex present at the conference and the centre of unwanted male attention for reasons other than work. But how do you react to men – ranks senior in the official heirarchy – when they’re hitting on you? Do you react to them in the same spirit that you would react to harmless flirting outside the workplace? Or do you snub them, just like that?

Honestly, I was flummoxed. And I did neither. For most part, I ignored it, refusing to get pulled into even ‘harmless’ flirting. But I was super uncomfortable. I’ve realised that women, good-looking women if I may be immodest enough to say so, are forever being slotted as people who want to manipulate their looks to climb up the professional ladder, their good work be damned. But I want to be known for my work and not my looks, because I work my ass off to put something on the table that counts. And because I like to dress well and won’t land up at work in shapeless kurtas and the same pair of shoes every single day, doesn’t mean I don’t know my job. It also doesn’t mean that every man I talk to and share a laugh with at work is someone I’m flirting with. I hate being judged like that.

I won’t lie: like every woman, I like the attention from the opposite sex. But there’s a time and place for things. At work, I can appreciate a compliment, not a pick-up line.

Also, why is the onus of fending off the undue attention on the woman, I ask. I’m no Sita, and won’t have a trial by fire. Why can men not be responsible for respecting the Lakshman Rekha?

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17 responses »

  1. >Thats just disgusting, and i can so so understand your terrible frustration D. Don't let those stupid men get to you. i am not coming up eith advice, because I am sure you know all of them, and will use them when you think its needed or when you are comfortable doing it. But whatever, don't let these stupid guys get to you, really!

  2. >See our relationship was fine. You will publish something on the blog once in two weeks, I'll read it on my reader and the world was a nice place.Now though you have poked the elephant in the room with a barge pole. I like your writing but now I would want to insert pick up lines in the comments.Tch TchPS: Keep up the good work me not withstanding.

  3. >Very rightly put D! I think we all face this predicament at work place and try to ignore it till possible. The situation gets tough if the person in question is ur boss or a senior, repectable member. But, as u righty said, why the onus on us? I fume thinking abt it as well.

  4. >I went to Mumbai to cover an event. My hotel was facing Juhu beach and I didnt get to see sunset/sunrise. Beat thatAnd about that male thing. I hate working with females. Female bosses are horrible. Yes, some unkils are annoying

  5. >well… actually working in Goa should be made crime.. as for people thinking that good looking women have an easy way out, one tight slap to them… Losers such people are..

  6. >well I think every other women with attitude is facing this problem. I too ignore but had the same feeling as yours as you clearly expressed towards the ending note .. It sucks ..

  7. >hey i can wear the same pair of shoes everyday and shapeless kurtas, and the same frustrated souls would be paying the same amount of attention. unfortunately, such attitude does exist especially in desi males. slowly, however, we are getting past it. there is silver linihg.

  8. >I echo your concern. Men have to learn to give credit to women for the work they actually do, and not try to demean their efforts in the name of looks!! I struggle with that at my work too

  9. >@Goofy: You know what, I think it spurs me on to do better work!@crackfire: Oh well, something got you from the reader to the comments section!@Deepti: Thankfully, it wasn't a senior I am reporting to. So no stress that way.@Anon: I agree. Female bosses can be horrible. Male bosses are nice, but overly-nice is not so nice.

  10. >@Soulmate: I don't think people even realize they think that. It's conditioning, I believe.@Tara: I don't always feel like this. And I don't feel like this about all men.@roop: Exactly my point!@Dil Se: I agree.

  11. >I cannot begin to describe how much I love the way you write.. I happened to stumble upon your blog through a link that was posted on a friend's facebook wall.. You write brilliantly.. I can't wait to go back and read the rest of the posts!!

  12. >i totally agree with that last one.. guys should be held responsible for their flirting efforts. You did just the right thing by ignoring the whole thingie.. but its sad that you have to ignore it.. really is..

  13. >I find veering the conversation towards professional matters at hand helps — it gives the right message to the man unless he's a total dumb*ss and makes it clear that you like to keep professional relationships strictly professional. 🙂

  14. >@Peenuts: And if you find an answer, do let me know.@Arvind: Thank you! This is just what I needed 🙂 And who posted my post on their FB profile? And which post was this? Care to share the link?@sscribbles: I think a lot of romances blossom at the workplace. But work can't be subsituted with romance!@How do we know: Exactly! Why do I even have to begin to wonder what I should do and then end up ignoring it?!@Mystic: If it's a conversation, you can veer it. If it's a look, you can duck it. But the point is, why should I have to be doing all this at work?@Pesto: In place. They work.

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