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Feminism: Sex and gender discussions

erm, sorry, he is NOT my boss!

8 replies

JustinBoobie · 04/10/2011 14:15

There is a man in my office, who I see outside of the office quite a bit. He gets on well with my DH and we now share some friends etc. He is lovely. We are the same age and have same aged kids.

Now, whenever people refer to him they say 'your boss'. Sometimes even after I've corrected them.

I hold a higher position than him in the office, always have. The assumption is now making me angry. Especially after the repeated corrections.

How do I handle it? Should I be bothered, really? And why am I bothered??

Why do people do this!!!!!!???? Angry

OP posts:
HazleNutt · 04/10/2011 14:22

Of course you should be bothered.

I am thinking about hiring a male assistant just to correct people who assume that if a man and woman are working together, he must be the boss and she is the assistant.

Portofino · 04/10/2011 14:28

Oh I used to get this going on business trips with junior colleague. It didn't help that he was older than me either. I used to correct them with a smile and seethe inwardly. It's the Patriarchy, init? Everyone is pre-programmed to assume that men are senior to women.

One of my colleagues at work (different dept.) once asked me to order some sandwiches for a meeting he was organising and that I would attend. He didn't try that again....Grin

JustinBoobie · 04/10/2011 17:29


Well, if nothing else, your posts made me grin...

Love it!!!

OP posts:
Portofino · 04/10/2011 19:40

Actually I can think of something worse. At one point I travelled a lot with my male boss. He was atrociously rude. We would go to Burger King at the motorway services, and have dinner and breakfast together in hotels. He never failed to find fault with everything and barked commands at the staff etc. This was mortifying enough, but one day a friend of mine helpfully pointed out that probably all these people thought I was his Wife! Blush Angry Shock

WilsonFrickett · 04/10/2011 20:01

Of course you should be bothered! I find that referring to the person as 'X, my subordinate' gets the message across.

It once happened to me in a business meeting where the internal client talked only to my colleague. Brilliant colleague then started every single sentence with 'Wilson, my boss'.. 'that's a good point mr customer, why don't you ask Wilson, my boss, what she thinks'. Grin

TCOB · 04/10/2011 20:06

When I was pregnant I went on a work trip. A member of staff at the place we visited said to me 'oh you must be the manager's wife.' I went berserk (hormones Smile ) and asked what the assumption was based on. Answer there came none. I am the manager. I find this over and over again - people still assume that a man must be the boss. I do find myself having to labour the point over and over again though even with nice intelligent people. I am bothered too. Maybe just as outright 'why do you think he is the boss?'

SuchProspects · 04/10/2011 23:28

Justine I think TCOB is right. You've tried correcting them, but info like that often goes in one ear and out the other (because they don't really care what your work relationship is, they've just slung you into their neat preconfigured boxes in their heads). So make it more personal and ask them why they think he's your boss, you can do it in a light-hearted and amused way if you want to keep it low key, though more serious will probably have more impact. Because then they have to think about those boxes in their heads and that might help them start rearranging them a little.

It's unlikely that it's mean spirited but it's still an assumption that you must be subordinate to him simply because of your sex. It denies your natural talents and your personal effort and achievement in a dismissive way. Why wouldn't that bother you?

I'm assuming here that your colleague isn't doing anything to encourage the misconception, otherwise it's a completely different issue.

JustinBoobie · 05/10/2011 11:00

such no, he would never. He refers to me as the person who holds everything together for everyone in our office. He totally respects my position, as I do his.

I will definately do as TCOB suggests; I often realise, rather than quietly seeeeeeeth inside, be outright and ask the question! But, I feel, rather than be lighthearted, the next person who says "what's your boss's name again" will get a kick in the front.

And porto Shock that is worse!!!

Why wouldn't it be easier to refer to anyone you work with as 'colleague' FFS?? GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR See that would have no effect on me whatsoever. I know my position, and wouldn't feel the need to say 'actually, xx is beneath me, I rule the world don't you know'.

Oh I don't know! I'll get back to you with the result, if it happens again...

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