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My boss: Is he discriminating, or just clueless?

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Question: “I work in an office with all men. My boss is wonderful except he forgets that I’m part of the team, too. For example, he recently gave all the guys a hooded sweatshirt with the company logo, but he failed to give me one. I don't want to sound selfish, but I’d like to have one. What’s the best way to handle this situation without sounding greedy?"  -- A team member, too

Comments

If your boss is wonderful as you say, then just tell him that you felt left out of the team when sweatshirts were given.

Well, the best way to ask is by asking. I always opt for humor, but here are a few suggestions. Something along the lines of Boss, did you forget me and then smile (your best smile), or you could take a more humorous approach like oh no, I didn't want one; forget about the woman in the office. If your not comfortable with any of those suggestions, you could always just say I thought those sweat shirts you gave to the guys were really nice and wait and see if he notices that he didn't give you one. Remember, it’s not good to talk alot, but if you don't talk you'll never be heard.

Depends on the boss and atmosphere. I had that situation here with a prior supervisor. I handled the situation by joking around with him... (i.e. - "guess that didn't come in my size, eh?")

This reminds me of one clueless female supervisor at a company I worked with years ago who went on vacation in the Caribbean. She brought back souvenir bottles of suntan lotion for the white women she supervised and nothing for the black women because they didn't NEED a tan. That was the end of HER career, and deservedly so. Show this message to your nincompoop boss and offer to show it to HIS supervisor if he doesn't mend his ways....

I agree, humor makes both parties more comfortable. I like, the "guess that didn't come in my size, eh?". Very lighthearted and he will definetly get the clue with very little conversation on your part.

First flatter then ask. "Those were really great looking company sweatshirts -- great taste. Can all employees get one or were they just meant for the men?" If you get one, be sure to thank him for including you as part of the team; chances are he won't forget again.

I think your boss is clueless. If he is really a great boss he just didn't think about you being interested in a sweatshirt. Ask yourself if you want it only because you didn't get it and/or do you really want to be one of the guys? I work for a great boss and I would never do anything to jepordize that. A sweatshirt isn't worth the embarassment it would cause him if he is totally innocent in this and is the great boss you say he is. I think commenting on how nice the sweatshirts are, in his presence, will let him know you are interested in the shirts. Give him a chance to come up with the idea on his own. Good luck!

Just a thought:
Since this sounds like it's coming one month after "Administrative Professionals Day," perhaps your boss is acknowledging the rest of the staff--while (and I recognize that I'm totally assuming this) he acknowledged only you last month. NOTE: I understand that you did say "he forgets that I'm part of the team" and "For example." So I could be way off base with the above information.

Communication is always the key. Real working relationships are built on sound communication. Just talk to your boss. Interestingly enough, even bosses admire and respect people who are confident enough to just talk to them or communicate. It does not have to be some formal, close the door or get on the calendar thing – just passing conversation or a pull to the side.

Are you the only support person in your group? I suspect that the boss, great as he may be, does not consider support staff to be part of the team. I would start out by using the joke approach mentioned by KNL above. Then, when you have a chance to talk to him privately, maybe when you get your performance review, you can talk about who is and who is not part of the team.

Are you the only support person in your group? I suspect that the boss, great as he may be, does not consider support staff to be part of the team. I would start out by using the joke approach mentioned by KNL above. Then, when you have a chance to talk to him privately, maybe when you get your performance review, you can talk about who is and who is not part of the team.

ask him

Possibly it was because he was uncomfortable asking a woman what her size is. I think making an offhand remark of how wonderful the shirts are would be okay. Or just asking that the next time that he places an order, could he include her.

Thank you for being considerate and not getting me a SWEATshirt. I'll take a gift certificate for a SPA PEDICURE, though.

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