Inappropiate boss.

I recently landed my first IT position and have been at it for a month. It is a 2 month contract with not a lot of hands on experience- primarily inventory and assigning a security level for machines at various health care clinics.First I would like to emphasize that my boss is VERY supportive. He is giving me valuable advice on building my skills, has helped me with my resume, and is giving me GREAT reviews to the company I work for. He is giving me more and more responsibility and training me on different applications.That being said, he is not the most professional guy in the world. He talks about his "smoking hot wife", his girlfriends in high school and their physical features, etc. He sometimes calls me "hunny". On the first day on the job, he mentioned how he believes there needs to be more females in IT but most of them that he has worked with have been incompetent. I am not easily offended and can let like that roll off my back, but it is an issue. How do I address this? This is the first time I have worked in a male-dominated industry and I have some concerns about being an outlier. I don't want to resign myself to believing that I will always deal with some stuff like that. I previously worked in social work and education where I was surrounded by females.Advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Comments

  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Posts: 2,297Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Welcome to IT! Yes is dominated by males and you need to have thick skin to make it. I have worked with women that had a worse potty mouth than most men. That said, this is a new experience for you and it is not the norm. It just happened that your boss is someone with many years in IT or this company specifically and has a comfort zone in terms of how he reacts. Also, it depends on the company culture and the organization. I have worked in big companies where addressing women in that manner was considered harassment and I have worked in relaxed laid back environments where women thru the F word around more than guys. I do not mean to promote the way he is referring to you or what he is doing is right but I would try to maybe talk to talk to him first or stay there for the duration of your contract and find a better environment if you do not feel comfortable.
  • bloodshotbettybloodshotbetty Posts: 215Member
    This is good advice, thank you. I am one of those girls who can be crass and vulgar, but- I have been talked to about professionalism in previous positions and am trying to take measures in improving that area of my work performance. I think I have to find a balance between going above and beyond to be taken seriously as a female and not being the "stick in the mud" of the office. (I am usually the fun one, damnit!!)

    I totally work for Michael Scott.

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  • KrusaderKrusader Posts: 109Member
    Tell him about your smoking hot boyfriend, it will probably shut him up
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  • bloodshotbettybloodshotbetty Posts: 215Member
    Krusader wrote: »
    Tell him about your smoking hot boyfriend, it will probably shut him up

    HAHA! Here is the kicker- he used to work with my husband on projects! I knew I had a chance of running into someone who knew my husband as he used to work at these clinics, but was NOT expecting to work directly with one of his cohorts. He adores my husband, and this may a contributing factor as to why he feels comfortable talking like that around me.

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  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    Some people don't know how to conduct themselves in a professional environment. It's not something specific to IT. Just like any other job, you can talk to him. If that doesn't work then go to HR.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Posts: 1,773Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    If the contract is not extended beyond the two months I would not address it at all. Your just there for the experience.

    With that said I see lots of IT guys that act the same way. However they should be able to censor themselves when in mixed company. Most people do this by themselves but others never seem to get it.

    Good Luck!
  • tt0000tt0000 Posts: 15Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    As someone else mentioned. You are going to need to have thick skin to endure it and you cannot let the slightest things offend you. You can respond back with that is nice or ok or flip the subject or say something like I have something important to take care of right now & walk away Keep doing something similar to that and they will get the hint. Never do HR as it tends to make matters worse, I have seen it first hand with other females.
  • cshkurucshkuru Posts: 232Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    This is a tough one. If there was no past connection between the two of you I would be saying document everything and if it persists let HR know, but there is and so there may be a misplaced sense of personal relationship. It sounds like he is trying to impress your husband through you. Doesn't make it right but it may mean he isn't a total jerk, just completely misread a situation and needs to be steered back to the professional path. I know this differs from what tt0000 said but the fact of the matter is that to protect yourself you have to have paper on file with HR.
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,117Mod Mod
    I think he's just having a level of comfort with you. If he was discriminating against you or making comments about your body or you in particular, I would say something but it doesn't sound like that's an issue. Just sounds like he has a degree of comfort around that you may not be particularly at ease with but it doesn't sound like he means you any harm. I get bugged when guys call me "honey" because it sounds condescending to me but I think a lot of guys don't think about it or don't intend it to be in that way I interpret it.

    Being another female in this industry, I tend to think of it like this: If they aren't making the comments about me or discriminating against me, I don't let it get to me. I may not agree with them always but if it's not towards my coworkers or me, I couldn't care less what some guy wants to do with <insert his wife's name>
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  • E Double UE Double U Posts: 1,556Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Hopefully your skin gets a lot thicker before you start working in a NOC with a bunch of guys. The group that I worked with was offensive in every way imaginable. Those were the days. :D
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  • bloodshotbettybloodshotbetty Posts: 215Member
    My skin really isn't as thin around him as I maybe made it out to be- just a minor annoyance. Like I said, he is INCREDIBLY supportive and caring. I just don't know when it crosses the line and when I should speak up. I wouldn't take it to HR- I think that would make it a WAY bigger deal than it is.

    Eh. Whatever. I think as long as he is willing to give me extra responsibility and help with my skills I can ignore it. It's not discrimination, it's just...ignorance, I suppose.

    Thanks everyone!

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  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Posts: 2,013Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    I totally work for Michael Scott.

    There's a bunch of those in the industry. Most of them mean no harm. As others mentioned, has a lot to do w/ culture and people trying not to be bored at work and think they're lightening up the office atmosphere w/ informality. Or when you get further up the ladder, simply a lack of soft skills and emotional intelligence. A lot of people who make it high up in specialized positions got there for their technical expertise, and could be people who neglected their soft skills in order to build that technical knowledge.

    It's up to you to determine exactly where the line is. Once you've done that, either steer the convos and interactions to staying on the correct side of the line, or explicitly state where the line is if needed.
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  • twodogs62twodogs62 Posts: 393Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    That is good one!!! @ krusader
  • twodogs62twodogs62 Posts: 393Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    My first job out of college was business department on govt contract.

    The F word and references to the P word were thrown around all over the place. The men were bad, but the women were just as bad. To fit in, I'd occasionally the F word, but not really the F word. Just said the F word. One time we were running late from lunch and then we got stopped by train. I let the real F word out and everyone just cracked up. I never lived down that slip.

    i've moved on and have never ran into that kind of language or sexual references like we're in that business department.

    i have seen things that creeped me out. A young girl, possibly under 20 having 50 year old UGLY SOB manager stand behind her stroking her hair as he was discussing her assigned tasks. Totally inappropriate.

    in same area saw lots of inappropriate files on computers. One guy had lots of bad porno photos and a greasy keyboard. I took my own keyboard when I worked on his computer. Ughhhh!!!
  • Nafe92014Nafe92014 Posts: 278Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    @twodogs62, him stroking her hair should have been taken to HR and possibly the police. Where I work, any inappropriate touching, threatening, etc results in immediate termination.
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  • twodogs62twodogs62 Posts: 393Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I agree too. But I was young and scared. I was working in govt setting and was not even working in my area. This was a manager that I didn't know, etc... I was doing desktop support at the time. And unfortunately I sometimes saw things. with my experience now, I would have found out who I needed to report it to. I was a subcontractor, so dangerous to report something without having correct data or proof to back what was observed. This was a high level manager who was govt employee and not contractor like me.
  • kiki162kiki162 Posts: 635Member
    Unfortunately, this is a male dominated field, and being female I've come across MANY idiots like that. But I've also worked with a lot of professional guys that were great to work with and never had any issues. For this is a 2 month contract, so you only have a few weeks to go. Really the only thing you need is experience, and a reference in the future, so in a way consider yourself lucky. Just ignore him, make contacts and references with other people around you if you can.

    I've come across several females working in IT that are guarded, and don't put up with the BS that gets thrown at them by other men. For me, I do respect and understand the mentality.

    Believe it or not but in my place of work, I have the upper hand on the education/cert side of the house, in my area. Overall, I seem to get a lot more respect outside of my work place, especially when I'm on interviews.

    I know there are a few girls that roam the boards here, and I'm sure some will chime in. I think Iris has had this discussion a while back too.
  • ChadiusChadius Posts: 313Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    This topic reminded me of last nights VEEP episode.
  • GreaterNinjaGreaterNinja Posts: 271Member
    It sounds to me that this person is trying to fraternize or in other words be your Bro friend. He wants to treat you like one of the dudes. This can be a semi unbecoming for a manager as they should always show more professionalism than their subordinates. OTOH, person-ability can work very well for a manager as well if they know how to read people properly.

    In your case I think you should directly and tactfully let him know of certain things that make you feel uncomfortable. Then document it. This recommendation aligns with sexual harassment laws. You have to let the individual know its unwelcome behavior. Running to HR right now is too premature.

    In IT you have to be highly tolerant of other ladies, men, customers and management. If you know something violates HR policy, then document it well and think about the repercussions. Weigh the ends vs the means because ones actions can plant a seed in an individual's head toward future relationships. Those that can play nice in the sandbox without throwing sand will thrive.
  • ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Posts: 2,008Member
    People are weird. I've never once had the urge to call someone honey or stroke their hair. WTH?
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  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,117Mod Mod
    Just you shush, honey. *strokes Zartanasaurus' hair*
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  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,844Mod Mod
    I get that urge at work every single day, but I refrain from taking action because I really like my job and want to avoid being named when the sexual harassment lawsuit comes through. Plus my wife frowns upon that icon_smile.gif
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Posts: 3,277Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    cyberguypr wrote: »
    Plus my wife frowns upon that icon_smile.gif

    Wives... always taking the fun out of things
  • nsternster Posts: 231Member
    I don't think it is IT, I think it is a "bro" comfort level he has around you that he probably carried over from knowing your husband. This can happen anywhere, but even more so in industry where professionalism or formal attitude are not required. Don't try to hide that you don't like certain things he does, if he does some of those things, just momentarily lose any enthusiasm you had or make a face or something. If he doesn't get social physical cues, you can go verbal.

    Since he seems so comfortable around you, I doubt he'll react to it badly. Saying something like "pfffff don't call me honey, not even [insert name of your husband] is allowed to call me that" or "oh please spare me the details" can be easier to say if you want.
  • E Double UE Double U Posts: 1,556Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    cyberguypr wrote: »
    Plus my wife frowns upon that icon_smile.gif

    Which one more: the lawsuit or the harassment? :D
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  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,844Mod Mod
    Of course the lawsuit, because lawyer fees severely affect the travel and entertainment fund. LOL!
  • olaHaloolaHalo Posts: 748Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    You'd consider quitting over being called honey and a boss talking about his wife in a positive way?
    Like someone else said he is just comfortable around you and means no harm.
  • beadsbeads Posts: 1,442Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Have to agree with the comment relating back to the comfort level with your husband. Larger question is does your supervisor treat other women in the office the same way or have you been put on some sort of (wait for it) Special High Intensity Training list? If you have been separated for any reason you have a legitimate HR complaint. Depending on how serious the pain inflicted. That is does the behavior have a material or direct impact on your work? If not then its probably not worth fretting over - at least this time around. A more permanent role - likely.

    Depending on how discreet your husband can be in handling such situations, he may be the best bet in smoothing some of this behavior. May backfire as well. You know the situation much better than this board will so proceed with caution.

    As far as females in IT, its still around 11-15 percent. Overall IT people don't generally care as much about who you are, sex, orientation, creed, color, religion or that you like polka-dots. As an industry are harder on skill based learning than anything else. That is, can you help me accomplish my job? If not we have no use for you. Can you be trained in a reasonable amount of time to help me do my job and not be a burden while doing so. Better, we can work with you. Everything else is a shade therein.

    Women in security are even more rare - about 3 percent. Security takes crap for this all the time. Same reason as above but add even worse hours. The additional continuing education load, lack of family friendliness, and our overall nastiness as an industry group of people. Ever meet a nice auditor?

    Come to think about it. I haven't worked directly with a female in my department since the late 90s. Obviously, other departments but not in security. I have meet females in security from other companies before so its not that I have any ingrained prejudice toward females in the industry - just a statistical anomaly on my part. By the way. I hired that individual - twice! The second time she asked me for a position with my then new employer. But I never called her hun, or honey. She'd probably drop kick me into next week if I had.

    - b/eads
  • bloodshotbettybloodshotbetty Posts: 215Member
    olaHalo wrote: »
    You'd consider quitting over being called honey and a boss talking about his wife in a positive way?
    Like someone else said he is just comfortable around you and means no harm.

    Never said anything about quitting- it's a 2 month contract. But regardless, those things are definitely inappropriate in the work place.

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  • ratbuddyratbuddy Posts: 665Member
    Wow, yes, very inappropriate. Anyone who doesn't 'get' that this behavior is a problem will find themselves having an un-fun conversation with HR (or worse) sooner or later.
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