'Can I speak to HIM please'

(50 Posts)
StickEmUp Thu 10-Oct-13 19:46:06

Just a little one. Answering Phones at work:

Me: Hello Stick Speaking
Him: Hello may I speak to the marketing manager?
Me: No I am afraid marketing are in a meeting, can I take a message?
Him: That's okay I can call back. When can I call to speak to HIM
Me: You can call and speak to HER when SHE is out of her meeting
Him: Okay great ..name please etc ...

At this point he did sound a nice man so I did give some contact for marketing.

The funny bit is I did actually emphasis the HER and SHE, but in a funny way not horrible as I have to be nice unless someone swears at me.

Thing is; I know he didnt really consciously thing, 'this person MUST be a man' that makes no sense. So I do not blame him personally.

But I do find, managers and people high up tend to be men, so he said wirthout thinking based on what years of having eyes must do to you wink

I also made a comment to my MD that most people who come to see us (we work with retailers) are all in ties (men).

We went on to have a nice conversation about the fact he sees more and more women in these management roles. (I am talking CEO and just below, not middle management, or he wasnt anyway)


PenguinsDontEatPancakes Thu 10-Oct-13 20:28:17

Infuriating isn't it?

On a more positive note, DD1 asked me very seriously the other day "Mummy, boys can be doctors too, can't they?" She seemed most unsure. We had a chat about Dr Ranj.

unfortunatedischarge Thu 10-Oct-13 20:56:55

You should have said, no He doesn't work here

comingalongnicely Thu 10-Oct-13 21:35:51

TBH if he didn't know who the marketing manager was he probably wasn't someone she needed to speak to!!

You'd honestly think that people would have twigged to say "can I speak to them" by now though wouldn't you....

Boosterseattheballcleaner Fri 11-Oct-13 17:33:45

I get it all the time, calls get put through and I hear "oh sorry, I'm looking to speak to the Operations Director"

Er, yes speaking!

StickEmUp Fri 11-Oct-13 19:12:23

Booster ! That's annoying!

YoureBeingADick Fri 11-Oct-13 19:14:42

I would have said "he who?" And waited til the penny dropped.

StickEmUp Fri 11-Oct-13 19:19:27

I kind of had to be nice though, I did do the sarcasm really well.

KaseyM Fri 11-Oct-13 19:25:32

Seriously, what's wrong with "them"?!!

StickEmUp Fri 11-Oct-13 19:26:43

I know! I've been saying that way before ever being a feminist LOL.

I was quick though wasn't I.

YoureBeingADick Fri 11-Oct-13 19:36:31

grin This has just reminded me of a call i took in the bank once a few years back. Man called asking to speak with branch manager. I said the branch manager with a client and could i take a message. NO! He wanted to speak with branch manager now and i should put the call through because once HE (manager) realised who he was speaking with he would be glad i had as he (customer) was sure HE (manager) would agree that customer and he were personal friends and would i like customer to have a word with my manager about HIS useless staff.

To this day i dont know how i didnt split in two with laughter as i responded " ok sir, i'll let karen know a personal friend wishes to speak with her urgently"

Thankfully karen backed me up entirely with customer and simply told him she was with another customer and would ring him back.

StickEmUp Fri 11-Oct-13 19:38:48

haha1 I just twigged! it's not a friend (I knew that anyway) and couldnt have been they didnt know what sex
I had to read it twice
good one!

Boosterseattheballcleaner Fri 11-Oct-13 19:42:03

Not as annoying as speaking to managers at other offices who insist on calling their administration team "the girls" gives me the rage.

YoureBeingADick Fri 11-Oct-13 19:44:51

Yes stick- i think i might have sniggered ever so slightly when he said that he was personal friends with HIM. grin My face drew some attention from the other staff in the office and by the time i got off the phone they were all on tenterhooks to hear what i was desperatly trying not to laugh at- but we did laugh- oh how we laughed grin

solveproblem Fri 11-Oct-13 19:45:25


We get accounts emails to work signed off by 'The (name of M&E company) Girls'.
Don't know whether to laugh or cry!

Boosterseattheballcleaner Fri 11-Oct-13 19:49:26

That's shite Solve, why would any professional woman want to do that?

solveproblem Fri 11-Oct-13 19:51:38


More than one apparently as it's in plural. I wonder if they write the emails together as a team. grin

Boosterseattheballcleaner Fri 11-Oct-13 19:55:21

Thats bloody bizarre. Could be smart though, if someone sent something they shouldn't how would they prove which "girl" sent it?

DanglingChillis Fri 11-Oct-13 20:07:24

I am so glad I'm in a job that is evenly balanced sex wise so this doesn't really happen, by the time I meet customers they've been through the sales and programme management teams that are predominantly female (this is in a very technical field). But I do still find the service engineers (Who are all male! Not that any of my colleagues would have a problem with a female, although I suspect I might well make a comment about her being the only female I'd met in that role which I'm sure would get tiring) still assume gender roles, I did get quite annoyed at one once about his assumption that I didn't know anything about the equipment I used every day and he's not done it since.

A good friend of mine (who is an MNer so hope she doesn't mind me sharing this) just started a new job. She has a PhD. Another new member of staff came into the office with a circular memo, and asked who he should give it to next. He was told "Dr P". So he walked straight up to the only other man in the office and handed it to him.

Said other man raised an eyebrow and said "I think you'll find she is over there."

But really? FFS....

StickEmUp Fri 11-Oct-13 20:15:46

Annie OMG. I thought mine was bad.

I don't think this is a conscious thing, but how social conditioning is so powerful.

And would a woman assume the man was the doc, or the marketing manager.
Maybe men only 'see' men.

Boosterseattheballcleaner Fri 11-Oct-13 20:17:14

Dangling we sound like we are in a similar situation, people constantly asking me which engineer is pro with which kit and Im sat there all hmm because I design the jobs and specify the kit they bloody use and how it needs to be installed where it needs to be installed what the limitations are etc etc

Sadly, StickEmUp, even I, as a rabid feminist, sometimes find myself doing it! It's so embarassing! Social conditioning is a hard thing to overcome, even when you're concious of it.

mermaidbutmytailfelloff Fri 11-Oct-13 20:20:08

"Let me speak to the man in charge"
"Sir I am the man in charge"

Follow stunned silence and barely stifled giggles round the office.

StickEmUp Fri 11-Oct-13 20:20:18

Let's face it, in a world where men are in charge, we expect them to be in charge. End of.

sashh Sat 12-Oct-13 08:25:32

My parents ran a business from home, my mum doesn't have many feminist tenancies, she believes it is easier for boys to learn to drive because they are mechanically minded - that sort of thing.

But if she answered the phone and someone asked to speak to her manager her answer was always, "I'm sorry there is no manager available, would you like to speak to a director?"

She would then wait, the person on the other end would wait for the sound of a cal being put through and eventually say "Er I thought you were putting me through to a director?"

"Yes I have, I am a director, what's the problem?"

MorrisZapp Sat 12-Oct-13 08:36:39

I have to make phone calls every day which begin by me saying 'may I speak to the duty manager please'. Sometimes I'm already speaking to them, usually I'm not. I think its fair to ask for the manager if that's who you need to speak to. The person answering can then say, yes its Sandra speaking, I am the manager, how can I help, or they can say hold on, putting you through or whatever.

I don't see any problem with not knowing the job status of somebody answering a phone.

I think you're missing the point, Morris. We're objecting to the assumption that the person in charge is a man. Hearing a female voice answer, not knowing what her role is and saying "May I speak to the duty manager please?" is fine.

However, hearing a female voice answer, assuming she's the receptionist and saying "I'm looking for the duty manager, could you put me through to him please?" is not fine.

Thants Sat 12-Oct-13 17:27:43

I hate this too op. Anyone in power is assumed to be a man. I hate letters addressed 'Dear Sirs', grrr!
Animals and toys are always boys too which is especially odd when talking about hens... It's weird that no one ever questions this.

WhentheRed Sat 12-Oct-13 17:52:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

clam Sat 12-Oct-13 18:11:26

My friend answered the phone to an elderly neighbour who asked to speak to "the man of the house." She asked what it was concerning, and he said it was about trimming the trees on their boundary. Friend said that that was her department, but neighbour said, no, he preferred to speak to her husband!
Tough luck, he was abroad at the time and anyway, my friend was so furious that she wouldn't have let her husband deal with it.

SplitHeadGirl Sat 12-Oct-13 18:26:44

What the hell??? WHY are people so unthinking?? I can't believe how NARROW so many people's lives are.

Portofino Sat 12-Oct-13 18:28:56

In my previous job I used to visit a lot of companies with my (male) junior bod. I reckon in about 90% of cases they assumed he was my boss. The fact he was older than probably didn't help. It used to give me the rage.

Portofino Sat 12-Oct-13 18:30:03

And in restaurants it annoys me that the default is to give the bill/credit card reader to dh.

jasminerose Sat 12-Oct-13 18:37:25

With the husband thing it does depend on how much you deal with the finances. Our council tax bills have always come as Mrs and Mr being that was round since we were 20. I didnt even request that its just once they know whose in charge they dont often speak to the other one.

SplitHeadGirl Sat 12-Oct-13 18:59:33

Will it change,do you think?? Will one day the norm be to think the WOMAN is the boss, or the breadwinner??

jasminerose Sat 12-Oct-13 19:16:42

It will be normal for your dds if you did it.

Portofino Sat 12-Oct-13 19:24:14

The norm should be to ASK not just assume.

I hope it will never be the norm to expect that the woman is the boss/breadwinner (realistically, I doubt it would ever happen - if we can't even achieve equality, we're rather unlikely to ever achieve superiority).

What I hope will happen is that no-one will make any assumptions about anyone based purely on their gender.

And I think it is (very, very slowly) happening.

jasminerose Sat 12-Oct-13 19:25:05

A lot of people do ask. Its not that common to assume except with the proper old schoolers.

(though the Kinder egg thread has me despairing)

Oinkypig Sun 13-Oct-13 20:06:14

I'm a dentist, this was the worst example I've had happen to me. I was doing an assessment for a general anaesthetic for a child, introduced myself as the dentist, took radiographs, discussed risks, advised what would happen on the day, how the child would be after. At the end the parent said 'thats fine when will the dentist be here
won't HE want to check the teeth that need to come out' this was only 3 years ago. I'm still not sure who the parent thought I was to be honest.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Sun 13-Oct-13 20:22:46

Oinky - angry

MsJupiterJones Sun 13-Oct-13 23:42:58

I've been lucky enough to work with several brilliant technical managers - who happen to be women. They put up with this on a daily basis (particularly the one with the androgynous name.)

As a manager I've also been doubted, on one occasion a customer insisted on speaking to my 'boss' - actually my deputy - as he hadn't got the answer he wanted. My deputy politely redirected him back to me and his face fell.

Oh and any emails addressed to Dear Sir/s get a reply addressed to Dear Ms Whoever. It's enjoyably passive aggressive.

Ms Jupiter I get a lot of 'Dear Sirs' emails for my job in Highways. I also respond with 'Dear Ms'! thlgrin

I had a bloke round quoting for work to the house - discussing the neighbours and whether it would affect them / he said (gesturing left) "he won't mind because xxxx" and (gesturing right) "he won't mind because xxx"

Both houses are owned by single women - one widow, one unmarried woman. I didn't give him the work because he patronised me throughout the discussion and that sentence made it quite clear why...

What actually is the correct way to address a 'Dear Sirs' letter?

MortifiedAdams Tue 15-Oct-13 09:27:35

I get this, "Can I speak to the Manager on Duty?" and I walk.out, only just over 5', under 30 and of course, female. Then when I help them fetch and carry stuff, "ooh, can you manage? Do you need me to find a man to help?" - "No thank you, this is 2013".

MsJupiterJones Tue 15-Oct-13 09:34:11

Dear Madam/Sir is fine... (or the other way round if you must!)

Dear CompanyName always sounds a bit 'generic sales email' to me but is a possibility.

If anyone was looking up the email address of my company they would be hard pressed to miss the name of the person they are trying to reach so they could just put that.

slug Tue 15-Oct-13 11:18:16

I manage a big IT system. I'm frequently asked if I can put through calls to my manager so he can sort out issues.

<<sigh>> My manager is also female, but she's my line manager, she knows next to nothing about the technicalities. All she ever does is redirect the calls back to me.

I also often see emails and letters addressed to "Dear Mr Slug's-first-name" I have an obviously female name. My full name and my bloody picture are on the website, which will have been where they got my email address from. I reply with Dear Ms as well.

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