Whatever the reason, it’s your fault.

Via Theresa Kaminski on Twitter (@KaminskiTheresa), we find this McSweeney’s article, “Reasons You Were Not Promoted That Are Totally Unrelated to Gender” by Homa Mojtabai  To wit:

You’re abrasive, for example that time when you asked for a raise. It was awkward and you made the men on the senior leadership team uncomfortable.

You don’t speak up. We’d really like to see you take on more of a leadership role before we pay you for being a leader.

You’re sloppy. Like when you sent that email with a typo. You need to proofread your work.

You’re too focused on details. Leaders need to take the 50,000-foot fighter pilot view. No, I never served in the armed forces, what’s your point?

You’re not seasoned. Oh, wait, you’re 35? Well, you look young. Maybe if you were more mature, like if you were married or had kids (why don’t you have kids, by the way? We’re all a little curious) then we could envision you as being a leader in this organization.

Oh, you do have kids? Well, we’re concerned about your ability to balance everything and you look really tired all the time and I feel guilty asking you to stay late so I just ask good old Tom who’s a great guy and simple and easy to talk to.

You’re argumentative. For example, right now you’re upset that you didn’t get a promotion and you’re asking for concrete examples of what you can do better. I really don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty and you should trust my judgment anyways.

The whole thing is worth reading.  Homa Mojtabai (@homagod) you’re my new favorite writer!  See also this brilliance, “An Open Letter to the Men Who Ask Me Where I’m From as a Means of Initiating a Romance.”

So many friends of mine have complained about this (and some have even married their interrogators!)  I’m white and speak with a sanded-down midwestern American accent, so I don’t get asked this very often (and never with the follow up, “no, really, where are you from?”).  Once I was asked  by a college classmate where I was from, and I responded “Toledo,” which is a city in the neighboring state to where I went to school.  She the said, “Oh, your English is so good!”  But that’s the kind of sophisticated women I went to school with:  being from Toledo in Spain was more plausible than being from Toledo, Ohio.

6 thoughts on “Whatever the reason, it’s your fault.

  1. Ha ha. I read that column after you directed us to McSweeny’s on childbirth. Both of Homa Mojtabai’s pieces there are excellent.

    Folks here in my new southern hemisphere home ask if I’m from Canada. I reply “thanks, but no…” Many people here don’t much care for “Americans” so I take this as the polite question to ask.

    Few people here have a problem understanding my accent. I assume this is because US tee vee shows are everywhere.

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  2. Susan: you said it! Today I was at a meeting of department chairs on how to promote collegiality in departments, and one of them said we should be thinking about it in the hiring process, that if we just hire people because of their credentials we were going to get people who can’t get along with others. There’s something to that, of course, and someone in the group cited The No Asshole Rule. But there didn’t seem to be any awareness of how “collegiality” can be used to exclude People Who Are Not Like Us.

    Things used to be a lot easier, didn’t they, when we could all just go out for a drink together after work because our wives were picking up the kids and making dinner?

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  3. “sanded-down midwestern American accent”

    That is not in any way how I would characterize your accent. Although I don’t know jacke fucken dicke about accents other than Brooklyn versus Bronx versus Philly versus Jersey versus Long Island versus Staten Island. All that other fucken shittio all sounds the same to me, but I can parse out the neighborhood.

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