As I discussed these men with my supervisor one time, he told me I had three problems:
- You are female
- You are smart
- You are educated
"Those things make people not like you," he explained. "And, you're getting more education, which people don't like about you!"
There were really four things the men didn't like about me. Those are supposed to be positive attributes in humanity.
That was hard to hear and digest but I handled it. There isn't anything I can do to change any of those things. I could have stopped the master's program. That wasn't even a consideration in my mind. It was a goal and I was going to achieve it.
There were male engineers in that plant who were working on MBAs. Why would I be viewed any differently than them?
Whoever those men were, they weren't worth worrying about. They would either figure it out or die jealous, bitter, and resentful. It was their choice. I continued to be nice and professional.
During my exit interview, the same manager blurted, "I'll never hire another good looking, female engineer! It causes too much disruption on the factory floor!"
I was stunned by those statements. I had replaced a good looking, female engineer! Never had I detected any disruptions because of my looks. I don't consider myself that good looking either. We had a contractor in often who caused some minor delays with work because she was beautiful. Me, not so much.
There is a lot more to this plant than met the naked eye. I think a number of the men were struggling with women period.