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Boss using "Mr" unnecessarily

(33 Posts)
greentomatos Thu 26-Mar-20 16:47:54

I work in financial services. Team DoD about 30. About 75% men.

The boss is ex private school and ex oxford. I think he went to an all boys school.

He frequently refers to male team members as "Mr surname" rather than just using their first name. He refers to female colleagues using their first name.

I find it infuriating as it is like working in some sort of old boys club.

WIBU to say something? How do I bring it up?

greentomatos Thu 26-Mar-20 16:48:54

That should be "team is"

No idea what dod is.. silly phone.

HappyHammy Thu 26-Mar-20 16:49:35

Ask him to address you by your preferred name and title

greentomatos Thu 26-Mar-20 16:54:40

It isn't me he is addressing, I'm a woman. He calls me by my first name.

He calls all the men by Mr and then their surname.

It's just so antiquated and feels like we are working in an old boys club sad

forkfun Thu 26-Mar-20 16:57:34

Tell him to call you Mrs Greentomatoes. It's not respectful to address you more informally than the men.

HollowTalk Thu 26-Mar-20 16:59:37

You could say, "Don't you mean Miss Jones?" and give him a hard look.

OverMy Thu 26-Mar-20 17:22:21

Yeah I’d call that out, say you have noticed that men are addressed by title and women by first name, so is he going to call everyone by title or first name?

Then wait. And don’t say anything in the uncomfortable space.

Freespeecher Thu 26-Mar-20 18:55:40

I had a manager who used to do that. Assumed he thought he was in the Navy or that he was Captain Kirk.

Mockerswithnoknockers Thu 26-Mar-20 18:58:44

He probably thinks he's doing the right thing.

The captain of the new aircraft carrier, the one who was sacked for fiddling his petrol allowance for the company car, was shown on a TV documentary saying goodbye to his officers. He addressed the one female as "a rose among thorns," which she looked as if she'd rather be treated the same as everyone else.

As said above, men from a certain background, etc.

Lucked Thu 26-Mar-20 19:08:32

Yeah call him out. Maybe when he refers to one of the other women on the team. “Why do you do that?” Then I would just say “can you please be consistent with this”

Or in his presence refer to the women as Ms and the men by there first names and see if he picks up in it.

fascinated Thu 26-Mar-20 19:53:21

Surprised it isn’t just surname for the men - that is what our private / boys’ school types do.

TreestumpsAndTrampolines Thu 26-Mar-20 19:56:20

Or in his presence refer to the women as Ms and the men by there first names and see if he picks up in it.

He won't I'd think, but it would satisfy me immensely if this were me, to do this. Especially if I had enough force of personality (or some fellow conspirators) that others would start doing it too.

greentomatos Thu 26-Mar-20 20:10:09

🤣 yes I may need to see who else I can recruit to the cause and start doing that.

I think it would be too subtle for him to notice, at least for a while.

pinkyredrose Thu 26-Mar-20 20:22:45

Ask him why he does it?

PegasusReturns Thu 26-Mar-20 20:26:19

I’ve noticed it’s very often used as a term of endearment: the better you know someone the more likely you are to refer to them as “Mr. Smith” rather than Bob.

MaybeDoctor Thu 26-Mar-20 20:34:06

I think it’s just a public school thing.

Then again, I also watched a documentary about a US prison and they called all the inmates Mr and Ms.

Perhaps mention that? wink

TheBewildernessisWeetabix Thu 26-Mar-20 21:28:01

If you want to be as passive aggressive as your sexist boss you can start referring to all the women in the work force as Mzzz whoozit and the men as Mr watzit. The women and the boss will get it even if it flies over the men's head.

EmpressAlexandra Thu 26-Mar-20 21:38:40

I too have noticed - in my work - that this is a semi-affectionate form of address used by men who know each other well. It happens at my workplace between men who have warm working relationships. And as I’ve got to know & like my male colleagues over the years I’ve found I am often referred to by them as ‘Miss Empress’, and in turn I sometimes address the men I’m better friends with as ‘Mr X’. So I don’t worry about it.

DidoLamenting Thu 26-Mar-20 23:15:24

I've seen that too Miss Empress. I'm 'Miss Lamenting' so far as certain, close colleagues.

MissMarks Thu 26-Mar-20 23:20:23

In boys private schools they often refer to each other entirely by their surnames. Probably a habit.

Yeahsurewhatever Thu 26-Mar-20 23:30:10

I definitely wouldn’t bring it up personally
Hell just think you’re overreacting and will remember how awkward you made him feel when it comes to future opportunities at work.

I obviously do not think this is fair or correct and if you want to tell him he’s being a sexist pig, even if it is, best case scenario, a micro aggression with no conscious ill intent, that is your right and I couldn’t fault you.
I just don’t think it’ll achieve anything.

I would personally make a joke of it
Or start calling everyone including women by surnames.

It is just a sign of familiarity and respect, but as it’s not granted to the women, and is automatically granted to the men, it’s rude.

Tartyflette Thu 26-Mar-20 23:32:25

I get that using the formal way to address someone can be sort of affectionate/jokey.
As in, for example, "Mr Smith is kindly going to give us the benefit of his expertise in xx," but if it's jokey the person doing it almost certainly calls Mr Smith by his first name too. Probably most of the time.
It would definitely not be usual to always refer to him as Mr Smith. It sounds excessively formal and a bit precious or mannered, in a fuddy-duddy, old-school way.

Tartyflette Thu 26-Mar-20 23:46:29

And if he is a bit of a fuddy-duddy the fact that he only first-names the women IS disrespectful and sexist. He should not be differentiating between women and men in this way in a professional setting.
I don't see why you can't speak HR and ask them to give him a heads-up about it.
(Your office sounds like the Grace Brothers store In the old sitcom Are You Being Served, btw.)

AngryTruckDriver Fri 27-Mar-20 00:26:55

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

BoomBoomsCousin Fri 27-Mar-20 02:59:42

If it’s simply a matter that it’s an affectionate way of referring to people he’s close to it’s even more worrying that he manages to be close to the 75% of his reports that are male but none of his reports who are female.

Since it’s a largish team ir seems unlikely that he’s actually close to all the men and more that he uses it as a way to try to form a bond with the men but since he doesn’t have a similar way to types and form a bond with people on his team who are female the effect of this will be sexist.

Not sure what the best way of tackling it is, though. If you have a reasonable relationship with him and he seems generally well disposed to the idea of trying to treat people equally then there may be an opportunity to bring it up. If not I would look to outside opportunities- surveys, anonymous reporting, etc. or possibly support or networking group for women in you company, to feel out how worthwhile it is.

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