Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Oprah Wars

Did you know that Oprah is offensive in my office?

I put her on the TV yesterday and joked to my boss that 4 - 5 would now be our office's self help hour and that it was mandatory that everyone come watch it. He laughed and confessed that he watched Oprah.

My other boss however was not amused and sent me an email reprimanding me that this was improper use of the TV and that it being on would convey the wrong message to our clients.

Two things that I should make clear before continuing. The first is that this was the first day the cable was up and running so it is not as if there has been some ongoing dictate that I went against.

Secondly, to say I work in an inappropriate, female hostile environment would be a gross understatement. I have CONTINUALLY listened to conversations that objectified women, engaged in debates where my boss told me that he believed in women's respect but not in women's rights (what does that mean?! Even after an hour of discussion I am confused), been told that men have more testosterone and thus are more likely to be aggressive and justified in violence than women (this was somehow a supporting argument to their theory that men, more than women, are the victims of emotional abuse) and that being attractive is as important as intellectual talents (actually MORE important) and a fair justification for career success.

Oh, and during the summer when they were ogling a potential hire, I was told to not worry, they talked about me the same way before I was hired (oh you men and your flattery! Of COURSE I was upset by their talk because I was WORRIED that they might think I am ugly, because that is the ONLY reason that could have possibly been offensive).
That being said, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised by the two emails I received from my bosses. Oprah is WAY offensive and may totally convey the message that we AREN'T an office of misogynistic misinformed idiots. No, we must uphold our image of being completely in line with the rantings of Rush Limbaugh and his Feminazi witch hunts (Damn women and their wish for equality, let them burn at the stake!).

And heaven forbid I cross the line with my joke about self help hour. I could make a joke about being a stripper, someone coming on my face or smoking crack in my office and no one would bat an eye at the impropriety of such things. The jokes they tell are far worse.

I am drowning in this environment. I am fed up with the way things work here. More than any place I've worked, I am made aware on a daily basis that I am a second class citizen. My words have no real weight (I guess unless they are attached to Oprah).

I wish that the whole TV issue was an isolated event of what makes working here so difficult but it's hardly the first thing that has sent me into near crying fits of frustration.

There is little appreciation for what I do. Do you know that my responsiblities include negotiating our health insurance and processing completed deals? Do you know that I coordinated our entire move by myself? That is just the tip of what I do. Do I get thanked or congratulated for these things? No, instead, my praise comes through ensuring that there is constantly a cold supply of fresca in the refrigerator. I get yelled if I fail to remind the office of a meeting we've had biweekly since our inception (even though that meeting is in everyone's outlook calendar, listed in a bound book of meeting schedules possessed by EVERY employee and is posted on a wall sized calendar in our workroom).

I am damned in every way. Sigh.

Can you blame me for my planned escape?

In times like this, I am at least comforted by my continued bed making committment. It's so much nicer collapsing into a made bed after a horrible horrible day!

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