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To be irked at Chairman's question?

(72 Posts)
Blankiefan Wed 17-Dec-14 21:57:05

I was making polite chat today in the Christmas Lunch queue with the chairman of our company. Have never met him before and he doesn't know me. I'm a senior manager but not senior enough to be on his radar.

Chatting about Xmas and I mentioned having had a baby last year so had to be organised this year. Later in the chat he asked "so, where's the baby whilst you're at work?".

Clearly he wouldn't ask a bloke that. I'm irked - nothing more; but definitely irked... AIBU?

DoubleValiumLattePlease Wed 17-Dec-14 21:59:05

I'd have about a zillion things on my 'annoyed about' list before I got to this.

Whooshtheyweregone Wed 17-Dec-14 21:59:30

YABU - he was making conversation and may well have asked a man the same question.

WorraLiberty Wed 17-Dec-14 22:01:53

I'm quite sure he didn't actually care and was just making polite conversation.

Hassled Wed 17-Dec-14 22:03:45

I don't think there's a cat's chance in hell that he would have asked you that question had you been a man. I'm irked on your behalf.

DoubleValiumLattePlease Wed 17-Dec-14 22:04:24

Not as though he asked you to fetch him a sausage roll and a cup of tea whilst patting your bottom was it grin

AlpacaYourThings Wed 17-Dec-14 22:05:09

<Meh> Sounds like polite chit chat to me.

whooshbangprettycolours Wed 17-Dec-14 22:05:13

I get what you mean. To a man he may have asked, does your wife work, because like it or not woman at home/part time is the norm.

SamCroClaus Wed 17-Dec-14 22:06:26

blimey poor man he can't even ask after a baby

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Wed 17-Dec-14 22:06:34

I'm sure he was just checking you hadn't left it in the filing cabinet while you popped out for lunch.

Or maybe, he was trying to make small talk with someone he didn't know very well. Or maybe he was very interested in having a childminder vs nusery debate?

If he'd asked "what does your husband think about you going back to work?" or said "you're not planning another one are you?!" I'd be standing next to you on the rampart.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Wed 17-Dec-14 22:07:56

So... where is the baby whilst you're at work? wink


skylark2 Wed 17-Dec-14 22:07:59

I think it's just polite conversation - and one I've seen men having too, if a preschooler comes up in the discussion. I mean, I'm not the chairman of the company or anything, but I've absolutely discussed choosing nurseries and childminders with male colleagues. (My only female+mother colleague's kids are looked after by her DH, so as it happens I've only talked about choosing childcare with men!)

Blankiefan Wed 17-Dec-14 22:13:17

grin grin grin. DH also suggested I may have left her in my desk drawer.

He's older and v posh so his childcare debate perhaps would've stretched to "is your nanny live in or live out"?

It was definitely (slightly awkward) polite chit chat. It's by no means the most sexist comment ever made (especially in our business) but in maintaining my irk.... I'll accept I may be being a bit unreasonable smile

MidniteScribbler Wed 17-Dec-14 22:13:57

It's called 'small talk'. He didn't know you, didn't know anything about you, you told him that you had a baby, and he then discussed the only thing he knows about you.

Primafacie Wed 17-Dec-14 22:14:39

I'm with you OP, that is completely inappropriate and sexist. I am in management and I would definitely pull someone over that type of comment. In fact, I have done so today! Ignore those who say it's just normal chit chat/polite conversation - so was pinching bottoms a few years ago. You know it's wrong, I hope you find the right way to channel that message within your workplace.

LuckyLopez Wed 17-Dec-14 22:16:35

Well you raised the baby issue. I can't imagine my DH saying 'i have a young baby so need to be organised this year'. He was just following on from that surely...

Icimoi Wed 17-Dec-14 22:17:01

Does anyone think it occurred to the Chairman for one moment that, say, the baby's father could be looking after him?

Hassled Wed 17-Dec-14 22:18:04

The more I think about this the more irked I feel. I get that it was polite Christmas chitchat, but it would not have been the polite chitchat he'd have engaged in had you been male. There's no way he'd have asked a man about childcare arrangements.

I want to say I've asked my DH and he agrees (I have and he does) but that's slightly undermining my irkedness, isn't it grin?

lessonsintightropes Wed 17-Dec-14 22:18:39

I think YABU a bit. Our Chairman is in his 70s and to all intents and purposes a bit unreconstructed - but told me the day he stepped down that I was the one of our senior team he pegged for next CEO. Neither of the other two people who would be considered for that role are women of a childbearing age. I think he was just making chit chat.

iamusuallybeingunreasonable Wed 17-Dec-14 22:20:51

Why would that irk someone?! He was being polite... Some people worry too much

Primafacie Wed 17-Dec-14 22:21:17

Really Lucky? Your DH would never mention that? Why is that?

Primafacie Wed 17-Dec-14 22:24:59

To those who don't find it irksome, can I ask - genuinely - are you in a management position?

AgentProvocateur Wed 17-Dec-14 22:25:43

You brought it up - fair game for small talk after you've raised the subject.

lessonsintightropes Wed 17-Dec-14 22:29:14

Primafacie Director level role.

HandMini Wed 17-Dec-14 22:29:50

I had the same opening conversation with our Chairman a few weeks back.

I told him a few things about how my childcare worked. He seemed interested. He asked questions. He told me about his (admittedly quite different) experiences when he had young children. It was a nice chat.

How is this not a good conversation to have? He gets a bit of insight into a different generation's childcare experience / his employees' childcare experience.

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