Should a woman quit her job after being sexually harassed?
Recently Trump stirred up some media controversy when he said that if his daughter Ivanka was sexually harassed at work “I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case.”
This of course created a storm because it wasn’t the correct answer that states that a woman shouldn’t have to upend or disrupt her career because a male colleague is a jerk and an idiot. However, the idea of changing jobs isn’t something a woman should rule out or feel bad about. It can be the best decision.
After you report what happened, you know your company’s response. Hopefully, they will take it seriously and take the appropriate action. There are plenty of good men out there with values and morals. They have wives and daughters in the workplace and have no tolerance for harassment. It is important to know who these men are in your workplace even if they aren’t in your direct reporting line because they can help you.
However, there are still many workplaces that just want to make the issue go away. They ignore it. Or they “address it” by having with a “confidential conversation” with the offender and you know nothing will change. The offender now knows “what not to say,” but the attitude remains. You know there will always be an excuse as to why you don’t get the recognition you deserve or the subsequent new opportunities to advance your career.
It makes you feel angry and hurt and frustrated.
You want them to apologize. You want them to recognize what you do. You want to force them to change.
You then begin listening to outside commentary. They say you can’t let men get away with it. They have to pay! You need to sue! They tell you to fight on and get justice for yourself.
But this is where you have a choice.
This is where you feel your empowerment.
You get to decide how you want to expend your energy.
You can spend a lot of time and energy trying to fix your workplace. But to what end? Your career still won’t advance, your colleagues will be uncomfortable around you and you will dread going to work.
Is it your duty and responsibility to all other women in workplaces everywhere to fight on? Is there going to be a special place in Hell for you if you don’t?
If you don’t take a stand then will the company continue to harass and discriminate against women?
But maybe they won’t be hiring any more women…or men, because their business is declining.
Before you put you make the big decision on how to react, make a honest and realistic assessment of your workplace. Are they growing, stagnating or declining?
I’ve found that a workplace that allows women to be harassed has a slew of other problems as well. The same culture that believes men are superior also creates problems with clients, customers and other business relationships. It creates performance problems. My guess is that they aren’t a thriving and growing company. They aren’t the industry leader. If you make an honest assessment you will probably find yourself on a sinking ship.
So why stay with a sinking ship?
Why rescue a sinking ship?
Instead of expending your energy trying to fix your workplace, would your energy be better directed on yourself? Can you find a new job where your talents are recognized and rewarded?
What we don’t tell women enough is that we have the right to reject their workplace. We don’t have to make them see our value, we can tell them they aren’t worthy of our energy and efforts.
This is what men do. If they are mistreated, or not given opportunities they think they deserve they move on. So take a look around, are the men unhappy? Are the best men leaving?
My advice to any woman who is in a declining or stagnant backward workplace is to start looking for new opportunities. You don’t have to quit your job right away. Take your time. Find the right new job. It may take a year or two.
Contrary to what we are told by people who are zealous to make men pay, there is nothing wrong with prioritizing yourself ahead of your workplace. You aren’t upending your career; you are taking positive steps to move yourself forward. The sexual harassment may have just been the eye opening wake-up call you needed to make some changes.
What is ultimately most important in this situation is that we maintain our positive energy. By staying and fighting we attract and absorb negative energy which makes us angry, stressed and miserable. Are they worth it? Is the situation worth it? Can you make a point by having a group of people write negative comments on Glassdoor?
Only you can answer that.
Just remember your goal is to invest your energy in yourself and your future. It takes courage and strength to stand up for yourself, move yourself forward, and leave them far behind in the dust. That is what being empowered is really about.
Empowered Women Can Choose to Leave a Bad Situation
For more articles on harassment and discrimination go to The Ugly Stuff article category
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