It is 2010. Women have been active members in the work force for over 50 years. The reality that women just stay at home with children and no paying job is far and few between. Women have grown to be more visible in business and higher management positions. While there are leaps and bounds to go before we can say we live in an equal rights nation, there has been progress in the work force....(I hesitate at my last statement because although women have moved forward there are so many other things play into holding us back i.e. perception of women in advertising, women and fashion, gendering of toys and child's literature, curriculum that is taught in school....you get the picture but I digress to other topics). Okay, where was I going with that? I encountered something that I have in the past but it honestly has been a while. I am the General Manager of a restaurant. I am good at my job and have grown to be a trusted and valued employee. I work hard and enjoy being in the leadership role. I was put in the charge of calling companies to quote a new A/C unit. Every company I called to set up times for inspection only had my name as the contact person. There were two gentlemen for company X. They walked in and up to the counter grinning like fools and I approached them because I knew why they were there. They asked, "is the manager available?" "That's me, I'm the manager," I replied with a smile. "You are? Really?" they said with a shitty little grin. "Yes, is there a problem with that?" I said still smiling.
Now, you may think that maybe my response was a little defensive. When I first started in this position, I encountered that kind of reaction a lot. I understand that I look younger than I am. I understand that I am hard to point out in the crowd of employees because I don't wear a manager polo everyday (not that it matters). I used to just let is go, roll with it, inform the person, who was eating their foot, that I was new in the position....but that was when I was new at it. I was learning. I didn't always want the responsibility of my title. Sometimes I wanted to hide. I am sure that men and women alike have felt that way when they have been promoted from a lower position to a higher one, but that isn't how I feel anymore. I love the challenges of my position. I enjoy the extra responsibility and I am proud of it. I don't like the shocked look on people's faces anymore. I want them to take me seriously. They should take me seriously. If the other manager of the store had approached these gentlemen in the same way, they would not have asked him "really." They would have taken his word and moved on. So defensive? No. I have been doing what I am doing for 7 years now. Before my downtown store closed, I served the same people everyday for two years....toward the end of my store, these regulars were still surprised when they found out that I was the person running that show. Why? There shouldn't be shock. They watched me boss everyone else around. I answered their questions. So why is there shock? It is an irritating response. I bite my tongue often when I get it. Just smile and say, yes I am...but if I am calling your company to give you business...come on dude! Don't ask really!