Should I ever be important enough to warrant a biography, the poor sap attempting to make sense of it all might end up referring to this as my angry period. I don’t know how it works for you, but I think I probably spill anger, rather than vent, which is to say, there comes a point when a single drop can cause things to get me hot and bothered under the collar, and not much more can trigger it again very soon after.
So having said last week that something had caused me to get angry, it wasn’t long after that that another thing got me incredibly steamed up. So today, I’m going to tell you a story about Patrick. Patrick is a friend of mine. I’ve known Patrick for a while, not well, but our paths cross professionally from time to time and we’ve got some interests in common – slightly geeky ones, as you might expect. We both have gaps in our geekdom and we enjoy helping each other to sort this out. It’s also a delight when we get to slide in shared pop culture references into the conversation which takes us off at a tangent.
Speaking of tangents – Gary Larson, of ‘The Farside’, said in one of the annotated “Gallery” compendiums, that there was a guy who he wouldn’t hear from for ages, but who would occaisionally get in touch and say “I liked that one”. As a result, Larson would know immediately that he’d probably gone a bit too near the knuckle. The conversations I have with Patrick are nothing like that.
I heard from Patrick the other day; he was hacked off. Let me rephrase that: he was HACKED OFF. His boss had stopped him from going to an important conference, in an area where Patrick is an acknowledged leader of the field, on the basis that the specific conference wasn’t relevant to the current job role, didn’t add value to the team or the organisation as a whole and would need approval from a specialist group anyway. On short notice Patrick had to pull out of the conference.
As my friend Isa-Lee would say, “what’s that, hypothetical reader? Annoying yes, but surely not enough to get the mild mannered @breakerofthings boiling over?”. Well no. But Patrick is really Patricia, and she was told she couldn’t go to an International Women’s Day conference on the grounds that I specified above. The special group that needed to give approval was the local equality committee.
I cannot believe that I need to say this, but:
THIS IS NOT OK.
Did you know that there are more men called John leading FTSE 100 companies than there are women?
Did you know that in general the pay gap is getting worse not better?
Next year will be the 100th Anniversary of Women getting the vote in the UK. Except they didn’t, or at least not all of them. The same legislation that gave (some) women over the age of 30 the vote saw the voting age for men lowered to 21. Women would have to wait another 10 years for same rights to be afforded to them. And apparently we still haven’t learned anything from all of this.
So, yes, I’m angry. I get that there are corporate requirements, but when women will effectively work a number of days for free because of the pay gap, you can’t turn round and say it’s not fair when people look to address this.
But lets finish this on an equal footing: if you are a line manager, make sure you’re treating all your staff on the equally, as best as possible, on the basis of their skills, and their needs, and the effort that they are putting in.