I went on the second jog earlier. It went fine. My motivation is obviously still fairly high as I’m quite enjoying the exercise. And because I have to write about it. I couldn’t face going into the office today, though. My anxieties get really bad at work – when I get home in the afternoon and shut the front door I feel a real sense of relief. The stress surrounding the job really gets to me, and the people are quite inpenetrable.
On my first day I was in two of my male colleagues discussed getting a stripper to come into the office as it was another male colleague’s birthday. I felt very uncomfortable with this, and, after twenty minutes of trying to work out what I should do in an office where I had no authority, I emailed a fairly friendly seeming female colleague, and told her I would leave the building when the stripper arrived, and asked if she wouldn’t mind texting or calling me on my mobile phone once she had left. She wrote back saying that it was unlikely they’d get anything organised, and in the end they didn’t, and just went to the pub.
I felt totally helpless to voice the problems I had with their behaviour, however, and spent most of my time in the first weeks of my job trying to work out just what sort of an organisation I was working for. Part of their remit is working with women’s rights groups in Africa. Yet they thought it was acceptable to bring a British stripper into the workplace, a woman who was statistically likely to have suffered sexual abuse in childhood, not to mention the concept of professionalism. Even now, several months into the job, sexist comments are regularly made in the office, and no women sit on the senior board, despite the fact that almost all administrators and lower level positions are held by women. I find the office an incredibly uncomfortable place to be in due to this, and due to the fact that despite my having asked on numerous occasions, they still haven’t got a contract for me to sign, to say I legally work there. This makes me even more reluctant to say anything, as if I am sacked I will not be able to prove I even worked there. It won’t be forever, though, only till the end of August, when my course at uni finishes and my partner and I will move back to London.
It’s opened my eyes a lot to the endemic sexism experienced by so many people in so many organisations. I hope you lot have better luck with work!