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Ask the nearest woman

(7 Posts)
thecolonelbumminganugget Mon 13-Mar-17 10:04:58

I sit in an office with 4 other people, all of us are heads of department apart from the team PA who sits across the partition from me (I have a private office but I don't like to sit in it when I'm not on calls or in meetings as I find it quite isolating). Team PA is on annual leave today, I've been in the office an hour and a half and so far three men have wandered in seen she isn't here and so asked me to, cancel a hotel, do their expenses, and book a meeting room respectively. I have said politely 'sorry, I can't help with that, PA will be back in tomorrow' expenses guy went off in a huff, meeting room guy was nice, hotel guy then looked at the other two in the office, ignored the male head of property and asked the female head of accounting if she could do it.

Not bothered about people asking, in the same situation i would ask the nearst person too. 'Is x not in today? Do you know if there is someone else who could help me with x?' I don't mind helping someone if i can (although on this one i can't - not a scooby about any of those) It's the assumption that woman = person who does admin that's annoying.

AIBU to just retreat into my office for the rest of the day? It feels like cowardice but I can't think of a polite way of telling people to fuck off. Any suggestions welcome!

Trifleorbust Mon 13-Mar-17 10:07:52

How bloody rude.

Bundesliga Mon 13-Mar-17 10:09:26

YANBU. I had exactly the same work experience except I was the only woman and the PA was male. I spent years fielding tea requests, etc.

I did just end up hiding out in my office in isolation as I got bitterly fed up with it. I also used to just get up and walk about when certain repeat offenders would come in.

It didn't help that we had a conference room on our floor kind of in our area so if I sat in the "bull pen" (open area) I would be asked to make rounds of coffee occasionally.

Sonders Mon 13-Mar-17 10:11:07

Do these guys know your position? I'd find this infuriating (been there myself) and would probably start asking why they thought I was best placed to help.

thecolonelbumminganugget Mon 13-Mar-17 10:21:38

I don't have a job role on my name plate and have one of those jobs that is quite specialist in the business so not many people come into contact with me. Maybe a quick 'I'm sorry, I'm a advisor on x so it's not my area I'm afraid' to as many people as I can stand, then retreat into my hollow.

EBearhug Mon 13-Mar-17 10:25:58

I'd ask why they are making assumptions about a woman's role in the office and point out I am a unis sys admin and ask if they'be completed the compulsory unconscious bias training yet. But I am sick of the low-level sexism in the office at the moment and have no interest in being tactful, because they don't notice if you try to get them to realise in a subtle way. My approach may not be the most career-enhancing way, but as things currently are, there's not much career to enhance, so I don't have much to lose.

KinkyAfro Mon 13-Mar-17 10:28:20

Yup I know what you mean, office full of people, most junior to me but I was the one asked to brew up for a meeting being the only woman.

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