{ Friday, October 18, 2002 }

Why I Quit.

I am not going back to my temp job.

It's a feminist issue really.

I sat down this morning and tried to decide what it was about that place that I hated so much. It finally came to me. It's the sexism. The place was a car dealership.

It was the subtle sexual harassment. It's that vibe that car salesmen give off. It was the casual teasing that made me uncomfortable. The men were too personable.

And then there was the idea of being "one of the girls in the office". I heard myself and my coworkers (a highly qualified middle aged woman who basically ran the back end of the place, an elderly woman, and a younger, single mother) referred to as "girls" one too many times. And then there was the question "Are you going to hire another girl for the office?"... And the term salesman. "I need to hire another salesman."

They were intentionally keeping the women in the back and the men on the floor. In the shops? The cashier, and two admins are female. The people working on cars? All male.

I can't operate like that. I can't work somewhere that there are "salesMEN" and "GIRLS in the office". I can't work somewhere that they set out to keep men and women in those roles. I can't work somewhere that subtle sexual harassment is normal. And I explained that to the agency. I think that the Career Manager thought I was overreacting and maybe isn't too eager to find me another job, but whatever.

I've been reading a lot lately. Cunt and Kiss My Tiara were both recent reads. I'm feeling a bit empowered right at the moment. And I am not going to work somewhere if they're going to keep the "girls" in the back working for barely fair wages and the "men" in sales with the comissions.

I'm not opposed to calling myself a "girl". I'm twenty-two years old. I shirk responsibility. Sure, I am financially independent of anyone else. I own body glitter. I still talk about "when I grow up". When I'm at home, when I'm with my friends, I'm a girl. But this was my job... and there were grown women there. Women who own their own homes, are raising their children and are adults. And that's what I really hate about that place.

Why did I feel compelled to lie? Why was I going to make up some crisis so no one would get mad at me? That's stupid. That's not going to fix things. I wasn't going to hate it any less on Monday. So, I told the truth. I don't like it and it's because I feel like a marginalized woman there. No reason not to just say so. My reasons are perfectly justifiable and who cares? Do I want to work for an agency or a business that doesn't agree with me? No. I don't. So I told the truth.

posted by mary ann 12:47 PM