When Me Too Becomes an Obstacle



Dear Dharma,

I, like pretty much everyone else, have been watching the Me Too movement unfold over the last several months, and have seen allegations surface regarding the conduct of one powerful man after another. It saddens me, but unfortunately does not surprise me. While I know there may be women out there who make false allegations, for the most part, I believe the ones who come forward.

Being a woman with a lot of male colleagues and friends, I’ve also heard the anxiety the movement creates in their minds about being accused of harassment or misconduct. I like to forward them this fun link to remind them that it’s fairly easy to avoid in most cases. It usually makes them laugh and understand my point of view better.

But the one person I have continual issues with is actually my boss. He continuously makes jokes about the Me Too movement, saying he has to be careful around me (the only woman on our team) because he doesn’t want to end up a statistic of the movement. Or he talks about how it’s a woman’s world now, and powerful men are actually powerless.

It bugs the crap out of me, and I’m not sure sending him my tongue in cheek link would help the situation. But I’m having trouble biting my tongue when he goes on these rants in front of our team and the feminist part of me wants to say SOMETHING while the practical part of me says I kind of need my job…

Is there a way to call him on this without jeopardizing my position?


Dear Frustrated,

Gah.  How annoying.

As much as it would be tempting to call him out on this in front of everyone, I don’t think that would be the best idea.

However, approaching your boss offline and in private is definitely something to consider.

Wait – first I have to ask… does your company have an HR department?  Because if they do, that is where I would start…

And the message (either to HR or directly to your boss) doesn’t have to be specifically about the Me Too movement.  Rather, it’s about feeling uncomfortable when you are routinely being singled out in front of your colleagues.

You’re there to do a job, and that’s what the focus needs to be on, period.  Whether you’re male or female, black, white or turquoise, you’ve got a job to do and none of this makes it any easier to do what you need to do.

You want to continue being a high performing employee and would appreciate the opportunity to do so in an environment that promotes cohesiveness amongst the staff. And isn’t that what the brass wants too?  High performing employees?

I think they do, so that’s the message they need to get.  That you want to do your job, and you want to do it well, so in that spirit you would appreciate if everyone could move away from topics that aim to isolate and instead, focus on building a strong team.



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