Posted by: Daisy | February 12, 2008

Success in workplace washrooms

Go ahead. Laugh.

Well, this may be difficult to understand for the men, but I’m going to have fun writing it anyway!

I finished up one meeting with Max (see Oct 31st post for more about Max), and we were supposed to meet in his office for another meeting. He said “I’ll meet you there”. He disappeared, and didn’t show up for quite a while. Luckily for me, I had my laptop with me, and continued to work while I waited. When he finally showed up, he indicated that he got stuck in a conversation with someone else while taking a washroom break. I told him that women were at an extreme disadvantage in this company/organization because of this. He looked at me with disbelief and asked me to explain it.

I work for a male dominated industry/company/organization. Many men in the organization have trouble with women in certain male-dominated roles, and the women have to prove themselves a touch more than the men. Many a decision has been made while in the washroom (I assume while hand-washing or when the business is done). And it is difficult as a woman to compete at this level. How do you informally get the same informal advantages? It’s nearly impossible. The benefits of the washroom include being able to nail down someone you’ve been trying to reach, getting answers, getting buy-in and the general networking is priceless.

When Max asked me if women chatted in the washroom, I laughed. 1) Generally, we’re talking about other things, 2) And male-dominated companies means the decision-makers are in the other washroom.

Max just doesn’t begin to understand.

I’ll just have to think about how I can turn this into an advantage.


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