Gay In A Gay Workplace, Yet Feel Left Out!

Question:

I work in retail. I found out my boss is gay. Well so am I. She thinks she is above all; it’s all about her. I am very private and to myself. My girl works for the same company, but not here. I keep her out of the picture, but they did meet one day. My boss talks like we are good friends. I listen. She is very open about gay life: she has a picture of her and her other.

Most of the workers in that store are gay, yet I feel I don’t fit in. My boss treats me differently. I’m just down to earth and shy. She talks down to me. One gal said I remind the boss of her x who comes in sometimes. Another said she likes me. Well I’ve spoken to her about talking down to me. She said she was sorry, but it’s started all over. I’ve never had this happen before. It’s hard to get transferred out. I have never been rude to her. She is in higher rank than I, but I am older. Some day I may lose it. You’d think this person would wise up.

Signed,

Shy and Gay


Answer:

Dear Shy and Gay:

Personal matters such as sexual orientation should have nothing to do with business. Talking about such is not talking about business–how to cut costs, make customers happy, and make the store attractive.

Bosses should speak to subordinates respectfully, addressing them by name, proposing assignment of tasks, asking for feedback, listening, inviting opinions about how to improve the store operations, gently but firmly correcting mistakes, and most of all expressing thanks for good work. Some bosses, apparently yours, has not learned the rules of good manners and how to manage without abrupt or tough talk. Can you change her or can you cope with her ways? You spoke up about her rudeness, and although it may have helped, she has returned to her rude ways. Long established patterns of bossing do not change easily.

What can you do about that? You have at least two choices: 1. Each time she behaves rudely, say, “When you speak to me politely, I am much more anxious to do what you ask.” Or

2. If you feel mistreated, you can muster all your courage and tell her that since she continues to boss rudely, you want to schedule a meeting with her boss or with the store’s Human Resources Manager. Large retail stores have HR departments. Smaller ones don’t.

To prepare to speak up either to her and/or to her boss or HR, make a list of your boss’s rude remarks, when and where. Also make a list of the ways you would like her to speak to you, make assignments, and to let you know when something is well done or needs correction.

Regarding your feeling of being on the outside of an inner circle, my advice is to simply do the best work you can, to be pleasant, thanking those who are helpful and offering to help make other’s work a bit easier. Do not sulk to yourself about not being liked.

Find your social life outside the workplace. Focus your mind on the positive things you see. Work with those who need help, such as reading to the blind or assisting the aged. Join groups that are doing things you enjoy–singing in a choir, dancing, walking or working out, taking a course of two that will increase your job skills or just for fun. Remind yourself that self-improvement is your special job–to be a happy, kind, and thoughtful person.

WEGO begins with self-improvement. Joining with others who are enjoy life helps that special project.

William Gorden