The O’Female Factor

“The six people who had the biggest impact on my life were all women. Had I been sexist, my life would have been far less fulfilling.” – Zig Ziglar

In my thirty plus year working career I have had three female bosses, both very different from each other but both very effective in their own way.

I got out of college in the mid 1980’s. This was pre-word processor, voicemail, fax and email. All the department heads of the first big organization that I worked for had “a girl”, a secretary that answered their bosses phone, scheduled their appointments and typed their letters. When I started all the “bosses” were male but by the early 1990’s that had changed and so had the role and the need for “a girl” sitting at a desk guarding their bosses closed-door.

I worked in the sales department and we had three ladies that typed our letters. I would dictate my letter and within an hour or two it would appear on my desk. We burned through these ladies on a regular basis. It was a thankless job. They spent eight hours in a windowless office trying to decipher what a dozen sales rep were talking about on a headset. It would have driven me crazy and apparently, given the turnover we experienced, it drove everyone we hired crazy too.

When I started, the General Sales Manager, who was the department head, the Local Sales Manager, who was my boss and the National Sales Manager were all males. These three guys did the hiring and they had a particular “look” of lady they went for. Those of us that depended on these ladies to get our work-out realized that the “look” didn’t always translate into the “skill” of doing the job. As pretty as some of these ladies may have been to look at I remember feeling very uncomfortable about what was happening and why they were being hired.

I watched this companies culture shift because of two things, more females in positions of authority and technology. My immediate boss was fired and replaced with a lady who had risen through the sales ranks. She was a tough, no-nonsense, hard charging, cuss like a sailor lady who changed the culture of gender bias in our department almost overnight. People were hired based on skill rather than how they looked in a short skirt. More female sales reps were added which changed the “boys club” mentality and also put some of the older guys on notice, get busy or get the hell out.

In a matter of two years her influence had transformed our department into a lean and very profitable machine and corporate took notice. She was promoted to another market and replaced by another lady who continued the good things she had started.

I know that sexism and racism are still prevalent in many organizations. Honestly we don’t have to look any further than our own Presidents cabinet. But as the father of daughters and the uncle of seven nieces I hope that we will continue to make inroads and understand the brain power we have and are dismissing. I hope dinosaurs like Donald Trump, Roger Ailes, and Bill O’Reilly will become extinct and the next generation of males will understand and appreciate the value and perspectives that all matters of people bring to the table. At least, that is my hope.


About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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8 Responses to The O’Female Factor

  1. William Tell says:

    I worked for twenty years (1985-2005) as a legal secretary, doing work exactly like that of most of the women you describe. Fortunately, most of the contexts I worked in were more (Dare I say it?) progressive than you describe. All other considerations quite aside, high turnover usually indicates bad management.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you would you consider only hiring 20 year old blondes, with big boobs in short skirts as bad management. I sure did.


      • William Tell says:

        It becomes a question of how those staff are TREATED. I realize that may be a non-PC statement. But if Barbie is my co-worker, that’s that, and I want her to be so treated as to optimize motivation and performance — not be out the door within weeks. It sounds as if a lot of the girly-dolls that firm hired were abused, and not necessarily via sexual harassment.
        One firm stands out in my background: the work there was very hard. Very, very hard. But not once was my character or work ethic ever questioned. Other places had less work but lots of “drama,” and there one wanted to leave.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Nan says:

      I notice in the article (no doubt elsewhere as well) that O’Reilly called the claims that resulted in his departure from Fox News “unfounded.”

      Well of course he would! There’s a certain element of our male society that sees absolutely nothing wrong with “complimenting” women on their boobs and other female attributes … or to intimate they wouldn’t mind spending a few hours with them in a hotel room. To them, it’s all perfectly acceptable … in fact a compliment!

      Fortunately, this type of behavior is being spotlighted for what it is and is becoming less prominent. But I doubt it will ever go away. There will always be those who let testosterone rule their brains and vocal chords.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I was growing up, disrespecting women was simply not an option. I lived in a multi-generation household comprised of 5 strapping, strong willed women and skinny grandpa and puny me. Sass and disrespect didn’t stand a chance. When Grandma at 5 foot 11 and 255 lbs with arms bigger than Schwarzeneger told me to keep it zipped and in my pants on a date…well, you damn sure better believe I listened. Ironically, my first true love was a strapping 6″1″ and weighed in at 185. She slapped the beJesus out of me when I accidentally touched her boob. Sorry about my side trip to 1954….what were you talking about?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am with you Larry, my four foot two great grandmother used to make me cut my own switch to beat my ass with. If it broke mid-ass beating she would just find a stick to finish the job with. Yes, women scare me, and I created two more of them! They win and I am okay with that.

      Liked by 1 person

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