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Tag Archives: work

When you buy a muffin from Tim Hortons, a blueberry muffin specifically, were ever disappointed by the number of blueberries in the muffins? So many it was too-blueberry or so few it was all cake? Were you ever mad that the one you were eating didn’t have the same number of blueberries in it that the previous one had?

Me neither.

Now how about when you picked up a newspaper: Were you ever upset that one story was longer than the other, that all the stories weren’t exactly the same length.

Me neither.

Now let me take you to a staff meeting from a few months ago.

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Early to work this morning and sitting at his desk, drinking coffee is a pale-skinned, red-headed colleague of mine who is a rarity: a journalism “lifer”.

In the business for 20-some-odd years, he’s worked at newsrooms across Canada, everyone of them, almost without exceptions, dysfunctional messes, he went on to tell me.
I’m not sure how much longer I can put up with THIS place, I told him.
He gave me a pep talk – something he has done for almost every journalist in this place. He’s that kind of guy.

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I’m invoking the P-word for this post. Patriarchy.

Because working in an office arranged around the father-knows-best and father-is-the-law ideology is as damaging for worker morale and for workplace productivity (the biz term for making sure lots of work gets done so the company can make lots of money and enough profit to keep you in a job).

And it is the kind of workplace in which I have landed.

I’m a creative, go-by-my-gut, everything-will-get-done-if-I-don’t-have-to-slow-down-for-bureaucratic-details, passionate, part-time contrarian. Which isn’t a good fit for this workplace.

Things I have recently been reprimanded for:

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It’s the end of the work day. I am writing my final story when my editor approaches. He has a copy of another story I have written in his hand. When he had asked to see a copy of it, I honestly didn’t expect to see it again. That’s the way he works.

This time he stops by my desk and drops a heavily penned copy of the story on my desk. Briefly he bends toward me and explains why he has made the corrections. He does not look me in the eyes: he has been somewhat intimidated by me since I realized that many women’s fallback position of “smile and be nice” doesn’t get me anywhere in this particular relationship. He shuffles away and I look at the paper briefly and put it aside without much thought; he has done much worse to other stories for less reason. A colleague of mine whom I don’t know very well; much younger, male and restless, leans toward me.

“What a misogynist,” he says. “He only does that to women.”