Okay, ladies, pull up a chair. I need to tell you something important about bad behavior at work.
You know that one guy you worked with that was kind of a creep? The one who ignored your contributions? Who interrupted you and talked down to you in meetings? The guy you never ever wanted to be alone with because you didn’t trust him. You knew if “something” happened, your word wouldn’t mean much against his.
Maybe you were warned by another woman in the office. Perhaps you pulled another woman aside to warn her about him. “Don’t have dinner with him on a business trip,” you said. “He’s not to be trusted.”
Women Watch Men’s Behavior
The guy thinks he is getting by with his behavior because he has too much power for you to call him out. Maybe other men don’t see it, but the women know what he’s up to. Why? We’ve been studying his actions, not his words. We watch all the men at work this way, Who can we trust? Who is downright dangerous?
Get a clear picture of him in your mind, even if it’s uncomfortable. Because I need to tell you something.
Here’s the Truth
Black and brown people have similar conversations about us, the wh*te women in the office. They see us when we erase, ignore, and sideline them. They document their conversations with us in case “something” happens. Our colleagues keep tabs on who is a true ally… and who isn’t. You may think you’re getting by with your behavior because you haven’t been called out. But your Black and brown colleagues what you’re up to. Because they’ve been watching your behavior, more than your words.
If you want people to trust you, be the ally you claim to be. Your actions over time —your pattern of behavior— determine the story others tell about you. Choose them wisely.