The second hardest thing to write about. If you know me personally then you know I feel strongly about equality in all aspects in life and I will speak up about it, and I hope to raise two young people that won’t have to fight for equality, because it will exist.
10 years ago, I used to think that I got emotional a lot because of the loss of my late mum and I was, however something was brewing, something that I didn’t understand until recently.
I had a great job, I got the right promotions, I had a fantastic male boss, everything was going so well, I ended up in a fantastic department, had everything lined up for the next promotion. Occasionally I wondered where all the females over 30s were working, but I was determined to stick with it.
Then I got pregnant.
And that changed everything.
I went on mat leave with my female boss jokingly begging me to hurry back ‘just hide the baby in the draw’ I felt appreciated and supported. Happy.
Fast forward a year.
I return to a department that everyone secretly knew was the department people got put on before they got the push, but me being me I did what I loved and went for it, committed 100% and gave it my all. After an email send late at night which included a new male boss I got complimented on working so late. ‘Really? What is so good about that?' I thought.
I noticed I wasn’t invited to the nights out anymore, I did not find the invitations my younger, blonder, female colleagues got from the male MUCH older boss ‘I am out with the 'boys' (boys all over 50), you can get changed at my place, I have a hotel room’ very appealing and wasn’t too upset that at that point I was no longer part of the girls. I felt ashamed for their acceptance that that was the way it was if you wanted a promotion. One girl bleached her hair blond, I jokingly said ‘you after a promotion then, he loves the blonds’. A week later she got promoted. We were run by a dinosaur, a white middle aged man stuck in the 'way we used to run businesses', men run the show, girls look pretty. Bit like the start of Benny Hill. There are too many ieky stories, and I am lucky that I was pregnant, old and got left alone.
I exceeded in a project and was told ‘you really deserve special credit for this work’.
The next morning, I called into a room and was offered redundancy.
Returning after baby one I very quickly noticed that in this world mums weren’t welcome, no flexibility, no part time options, nasty comments when leaving on time, refused to apply for promotions, it got very nasty. So I decided that family was the best thing anyway and planned the second child, milking it and hopefully getting made redundant so I can walk away with some extra cash. I learned all I could in my time there and I appreciate all the support I got while times were good.
The plan worked, I felt relieved and apart from 2 close friends deleted all phone numbers of former colleagues. Yet my self confidence was gone,why was this happening to me?
This was before the #metoo campaigns, the fantastic ‘work like a woman’ book by Mary Portas and all the encouraging words and support from Holly Tucker. I applaud all these ladies that say enough is enough, and everyone out there suffering thinking they have to get through it, believe me you don't have to, leaving is incredibly freeing and there are plenty of non dinosaurs out there!
I struggled to find my identity for a long time as it was taken away from me, I knew that I wasn’t ‘just a mum’ I was me and I wanted to be me again. I just didn’t know how to find the confidence to start looking for happiness again.
I will write more about how I got out of it in the next blog, but it is essential that we all stand up for ourselves and the days were wives stay at home, men go hunting are gone. I feel sorry for the dinosaurs out there, it must be a confusing time for you all, but don't worry you should all be extinct soon.