Story on Confrontation
City: Los Angeles
I will not be belittled because of my sex.
When I was younger, I was super shy and non-confrontational, giving people endless chances to prove themselves as good people. Now that I'm older, I've become more confident in myself and, therefore, more assertive. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It means I now actually stand up for myself, but it also means dealing with the fallout of being a strong voice, and especially a strong female voice in the workplace.
As a woman in the workplace, people sometimes mistake me as someone who will be easily pushed around. I am extremely nice and friendly but make no mistake, I will not be condescended or belittled because of my sex.
This week, while trying to schedule a meeting with a producer, one of my male coworkers hit "reply all" instead of "reply" and accidentally CC'd the producer's assistant in an email exchange that was meant only for me. In the email – which was supposed to be for my eyes only – he very brashly told me not to give the assistant so many options. I sent my coworker a private text message pointing out the mistake and, in the email chain, tried to remedy my coworker's mistake in the very entertainment-industry-assistant way of taking blame and saying there must be a calendar issue: "My apologies, I didn't realize the calendar wasn't completely up to date. Would you mind confirming what dates do work for you? Thank you!"
Embarrassed by his mistake and unable to take responsibility, he called me dramatic and hypersensitive, and started ranting to me via text. Before I could even respond, he sent me an email touting how professional he was and crucifying me for "airing his dirty laundry" about his calendar. First, I stood up for myself by explaining the actions I took and that I would not like to be spoken to in that way. Next, I de-escalated the situation by telling him we could discuss in person at a later date, as everything sounds worse over email. Then, I took the email and text exchange to my superiors.
My philosophy is it's important to stand up for yourself, because no one else will take that first step for you, but you don’t have to be alone in every fight. Most importantly, NEVER write anything rude in an email, because it might get forwarded to your boss… ;)