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Trying to make some sense of my negative reaction to this

(5 Posts)
neepsntatties Fri 10-Jun-11 10:04:32

I am on maternity at the moment and will be returning part time. I have just found out that the other part of the job has been given to a man and I have had a really negative reaction to it which I am trying to make sense of.

The dept I work in is a new one that I set up and even though I have yet to even meet this person I just feel that because it is a man he will try to take over and dominate. I don't feel that I will be able to connect with him in the same way as I would a female. I also think he will be taken more seriously (I have experienced some sexism in this job). I am not happy that this is the way I feel, it's unfair, I haven't even met him and what on earth does that say about me? I didn't expect that I would have this reaction. I just feel a deep sense of unease over it and it is really making me question myself.

I am assuming that other women wouldn't feel this way so where is it coming from for me? Is it because I am reading lots of feminist stuff here and books and my perception of things has shifted? Perhaps it is because I have had some very negative experiences with men in the past? Has anyone else experienced anything similar?

snowmama Fri 10-Jun-11 10:26:26

Neep, I think there are lots of things going on here some are reasonable some may be less so -but actually whether they are or not is fairly irrelevant.

Firstly, you are good at what you do - you set up this department.

Forearmed, is forwarned - he may be a dominating twat, he may be useful ally, prepare for either eventuality. You may or may not have connected better with a female colleague

Make sure that when you meet, you are clear in your head about what your career objectives are and what you want out of this role.

Set up objectives with each other agree:
- how roles and responsibilities work and will be shared
- how others should communicate with you both (ie cc'ing you information)
- communication points
- what needs joint agreement/ or just informing each other
- be friendly, neutral and clear in your attitude that you expect this relationship to work and that it is non problemenatic to you

Ensure your managers and colleagues are aware of the 'rules of the road' as well.

All this advice ignores the fact that you say that you have already experienced some sexisim in this job - what was it and how was it addressed?

neepsntatties Fri 10-Jun-11 10:34:57

Thanks, that's a really good response! I am sure he will be lovely, I just have had a really strong response to it for some reason.

In the past I have been refused certain things and I believe it is because they management see me as 'just a girl'. For example I was told I couldn't do a certain training course because it involved heavy lifting even though the people who ran the course said lots of women did it. I didn't actually do anything at the time, I was new in the job and didn't want to rock the boat although I regret that now.

My line manager is very good luckily and I am sure she has made a good choice, I am just struggling to shake the negative feeling I have. Perhaps I am just not good at change in general.

snowmama Fri 10-Jun-11 11:08:43

Change is hard, as is returning from maternity be kind to yourself and think through what is worrying you so you can prepare.

I was all over the place before returning from maternity leave ! the actual event was much better than thinking about it...

neepsntatties Fri 10-Jun-11 17:32:32

Thanks, I feel better having just posted about it actually. I think I am anxious about returning in general and I am probably fixating on this guy who is coming in.

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