Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Speaking of Things That Shouldn't Still Be Happening to Women in 2024

Ad for Pitney-Bowes postage meter, 1953. So easy that even a woman stenographer with "no mechanical aptitude" can operate it! (Apparently, the title a "joking" argument that it should be okay to kill her, if she can't?)

I'll get to the reason for posting this old ad in a bit, but first  ...

So I took a little break from blogging to self-examine and reflect on some things.  As you may recall, the last time I wrote, it was just after the new transcriptionist job went South. 

For those unaware, the company itself was awesome, one of the best  large companies I've ever worked for; however, my direct boss asked me to provide a voice sample to test a new AI product for internal-meeting use only, then sold it to a client, to use to say any old thing they like, without my permission or compensation - and he lied about it.

Then, when I politely questioned him about it, he threatened my job and belittled me (after previously praising me daily). 

So, I quit and left a letter to HR, to avoid retaliation, as well as to avoid creating a bunch of drama in my work environment, which probably wouldn't end in my favor anyway. (I was a woman versus a man, a new employee versus a manager.)

I went back to my old job, full-time. I hadn't left, actually, I had just gone to "spillover" status only.  Though the work pays on production and has been slow, I adore my boss and can trust her, which is invaluable to me.  

And yet was feeling a little down, after it all.  

No worries, nothing serious, just felt like being quieter, that's all  😊

I've also been focusing on my physical and mental health, to include indoor biking and eating healthier after the holidays, as well as doing my January deep-clean/organization of my house, practicing mindfulness as I do, as well as something I came up with myself, which is "intentional living." It's related to mindfulness, but goes further, as there are so many things we do every day out of habit and routine, while thinking about/worrying about other things, without really thinking about what we're doing in the moment, with intention. 

Additionally, I think I've lost a friend over this situation, a friend who works in AI, who didn't really seem to think that this was a big deal  - and my trying to explain what it meant to me in text, while upset, didn't help 😥

So in addition to being 55 and job prospects dwindling, with my job being replaced by AI in general already being very daunting, those who know me well know that having a voice - both physically and theoretically - is especially important to me.  

That is because once upon a time, when trapped in abusive situation, I nearly stopped speaking because it always caused trouble, if I did.  In fact, this is why I developed severe social anxiety.

So I've been reflecting on how much trouble my voice has caused me in life.  In this situation, even though I wasn't trapped in an abusive situation again, I felt nearly as powerless.  

So I initially came to the conclusion that no one wants to hear my voice anyway, unless I say exactly what they want me to say.  

There's some truth to that, actually.

I also went over and over anything I could've done differently, and though there were several options, like ultimatums, waiting and screwing him over some other way, those things really aren't me. I'm not very vindictive and not much of a Karen. I do still have a lawyer on standby to send a letter asking for them to destroy the voice file, but I halted that, because as I said, "How much trouble is my voice really worth anyway?" 

Plus it feels like people take what they want from me, and if I say no, there's trouble, and maybe that's just the way life goes for me and I should just accept it. 

At least this time, I didn't stay in it and send the message that it's okay and they can do it again, right?

Helping me feel better was my brother-in-law, who is a financial executive for a major broadcasting network in LA, who said that was the best way to do it - resign with a letter to HR.  It's the least amount of drama, but hopefully prevents it from happening again, or at least makes them aware, so that even if they don't believe me/protect him, it's not like they weren't warned if it happens again.  
He also said it's a Richard Branson company, and they are known for being employee-friendly, so he's in hopes the company will take it seriously.

And it would happen again to low-level employees working under him, and had I stayed, he would've done it again and worse if I'd stayed and let him think it was okay. .

Thank you, M 

I also remembered my own past words, sort of my mantra when other people have "done me wrong" in the past -  that it's not really about what happens to that person in justice -  focusing on that is a sure route to bitterness.

No, instead, it's about what happens to me, as a result of their actions - and that, I DO have a choice over.  

Because nothing can devastate me without my permission - and this situation does not have my permission, right?

Acknowledge, feel,  learn, heal, move forward - in that order.

Thanks to another friend who said:
"Yeah, but this time, you're not trapped.  You're not being punched, kicked, or your head banged against the wall.  You're not trapped in a hotel room or locked in a closet, or all the phones weren't taken away so you can't tell anyone, gaslighted if you told anyone.  He didn't literally remove your voice, he just stole it for his own use and profit.  which means, now you're shutting your voice down yourself, continuing their power abuse ... on yourself."

Wow. True. Thank you, different M 😊

And finally, thank you to the last friend who wrote me just last night and essentially said: 
"The most important people in your life listen to your voice.  Get up, dust yourself off, and move forward."

This reminded me of a bible verse, Matthew 10:14: 

"And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet." 

Amen 😊

Also true - but then again, I'm not preaching the gospel, just using my voice in general, but it's still a good rule of thumb in general, yes?

Thank you to you, too, C 

Hugs all around 

Okay, so finally getting to the point of my title.

(As my Pap would say, I went round Robin Hood's barn to get here, whatever that means 😆), 

So I thought my first post should be about this stupid commercial I saw for SpyFocus home security cameras.

I can't find the actual ad - they may have pulled it because apparently, I wasn't the only one that wrote them.

Anyway, the ad says "Easy to use, whether you're a CEO or a housewife with no electrical experience."

Worse, the woman in the ad is lounging on a chair with a glass of wine, "cheersing" to the camera, as if that's what "housewives" do all day!


Is this 1953?!?

(Thus, the reason for the ad at the top of the page.)

Okay, so first of all, I've worked for a male doctor who couldn't pump his own gas, he had to be walked through it.  

Secondly, I know women with Master's degrees in electrical engineering that took breaks from work to raise their small children. Also, I know tons of single moms who know more than most men about how to set up electronics. 

Thirdly, if that "housewife" IS lounging about and drinking wine all day, then she's either clinically depressed or some other mental  ailment, as well as possibly addicted, and thus needs treatment - OR she IS lazy and likely robbing you blind, probably also doing some shit you don't even want to know about (the best case scenario being addiction to online shopping, gambling, or gaming, and the worst case scenario would be catfishing people online out of boredom, or both).  

Lastly, I'm no electrical whiz personally, but I have been the one to do the initial set up all electronic devices in our home.  And to this day, I am the one that has to reset the digital clocks on our microwave and regular oven with time changes, because my husband with a Master's degree in IT doesn't care to take the time to know how.

(That is not a critique of my husband, he's obviously very intelligent, he just doesn't have the patience for certain things.  I'm the same way with products that are tightly packaged in plastic. I know how to get them off, of course, I just lack the patience 😖 😆)

And having been a single mom and my own IT tech for years, as a remote medical transcriptionist, he swears that I'm a better IT tech than most and that I should look at jobs in that field, but I have no official work experience, just know-how from having to be my own tech for a couple of decades.  If there was an aptitude test, I could probably pass it, but they just look at resumes, so ... no.

Regardless, I wrote a brief, polite letter that they had my attention until that line.

They just wrote me back today that they were aware of the issue and are replacing the ad with a new commercial and hoped to earn our trust back.

Nope,  no thank you. 

Not unless you hire women techs who can show you how much "electrical experience" they have, and perhaps you can start with single moms who have no one to do these things for them - does that count as "experience?"

Apparently, you need them - because the reviews on your product suck - which, by the way, were all left by men, talking about how difficult it is to set up and link to their phone!  😆😆😆

How's THAT for using my voice again? 😆

Perhaps some would like it to go back in the box, and I'm quite sure no one that I mentioned above was talking about blogging - but blogging is how I first came out of my shell again after those experiences, so it's a start?

And if you don't like my voice, then don't read it or listen - but some do.  Even if no one does, I will use it just because I still have one.

And no worries, I was still polite, regardless 😊

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