Saturday, 24 May 2008

Weekend Working

It's Saturday, and I'm at work. To be honest, I don't mind so much. Saturday working for me could more accurately described as "watching other people work". This weekend we're changing furniture configurations in one of our offices, which means taking the desking apart, moving floorboxes, putting the desks back together. Basically I just let them get on with it, unless something goes wrong. We've already had the "What? We have to do that bit too?" palaver so that should be out of the way now.

When things do go wrong on these jobs, they tend to be spectacularly wrong - such as not having the correct bits for the new configurations, or realising the plan you've been working to wasn't scaled properly and all of your floorboxes are wrong and your furniture won't fit unless your office has miraculously turned into the tardis. Or people just not showing up. Or the guys getting into a punch-up for whatever reason.

Being the only woman in these situations can be funny as well - some of the guys really don't know how to deal with a female project manager. Last week one construction guy tried to tell me that a door that was patently hung the wrong way (the hook was on the outside for gods sake!) was in fact correct and he really got the hump when I wouldn't accept it. This morning 2 of the furniture lads blushed and apologised when they saw me - I have no idea what they were saying but I would assume it wasn't complimentary to women generally.

The guys who work for me also apologise for swearing, which I find bizarre. It's a bit of an English thing, I guess, that men shouldn't swear in front of women, and I wonder if it's a bit of a class thing as well - most of these guys are working class and technically as a manager I suppose I'm not, though being Canadian I tend to fall somewhat outside the class continuum. Never mind that with a decade of being on construction sites I can swear like the proverbial sailor - but then that's seldom the point of this behavior.

After a full day of "supervising" I'll be heading out to thrill, scoff, and generally be amazed at how low we humans will go at this years Eurovision Song Contest. Chances are I will probably drink quite a lot of wine as well - the situation demands it really!


Geosomin said...

It's strange being in "a man's world".
I noticed the lack of swearing thing when I worked in the water lab a while back...all the guys who ran the water purification plant kept not swearing ot apologising around me (the only girl there...ever)...I'd just snicker, as no grown, self respecting man says "fiddle dee dee" when he hits his thumb with a hammer :). *I* don't say fiddle dee dee when I hit my thumb witha hammer. I told them I'd let them know if they offended me and to not worry about it otherwise. Having grown up with my Dad showing me how to fix things, they'd often be in awe of a "woman" using tools whenever I'd have to fix something...Really wierd to i had to prove my skills.

It still took about 4 months before things got "normal" and after a year or so, they sort of forgot I was a girl...which was fine by me really. They still tried not to make my ears red, but it happened occasionally. I learned a rather pirate-like vocabulary...which it took me a whle to shed when I went back to a research lab with students. It made it a lot more fun to work around the guys when they weren't trying to be who they weren't.