Friday, September 05, 2008

How "Sarah Palin" Made My Life At Work a Living Hell!

Yesterday’s post talked about women in the workplace, who are similar to GOP Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin. My expressed beef with her is how this woman was pulled out of nowhere and has had her qualifications for the number two job in the country hyped up as if no one can see that her resume is being exaggerated. Having worked with women like Sarah Palin, I wanted to talk about two of them, and how they fundamentally changed the lives of African-Americans at my workplace.

Sarah Palin #1: This “Sarah” was sold to everyone as the next big thing. I remember my supervisor saying, “Boy, she’s really with it!” She said this as she was snapping her fingers. Even before she started, we heard all these great things about her. Yet, from day one until about the next 3 months, all this woman had to do was show up for work. Literally! You see, this woman was supposed to be so damned good at her job that my employers hired her during a dry spell in our government contracts. This meant that they hired her knowing they had nothing for her to do. But, they wanted her really badly and were afraid someone else would snatch her up.

Long story short, I watched this woman plan her wedding—with permission—for almost 3 months straight. She was paid about $25-$28 per hour to sit at her desk and browse through wedding magazines, work on her wedding to do list, etc.

And, when she finally got her first assignment as a Senior Account Executive, it turned out the chick didn’t know what the hell she was doing. In fact, she’d never performed the work she was hired to do and it turned out that she was not a quick study. I remember a coworker (White) asking me, “Who did she f*ck to get this job.” Another coworker (White) asked me, “Is it just me or is she stupid?”

These types of comments became so pervasive that my supervisor said to me, “You know, people think she’s dumb, but she’s really not. She’s got it together.” But, I’ll tell you…if you have to say it, it just ain’t so!

This woman proceeded to mismanage every project she worked on and to blame me and anyone she worked with for the problems. She was the most unaccountable person I’ve ever worked with. Everything she touched required a senior manager to come in and clean up. She had problems working with several Black women, including myself. We were all suddenly being told that we were:

• “not nice”
• “moody”
• “snippy”
• “rude”
• “mean”

You see, all “Sarah” had to do was make these complaints to our managers and her remarks were taken as gospel. Because “Sarah” was the next great thing. So, we ended up with comments that originated from “Sarah” and only “Sarah” ending up in our yearly performance evaluations. We’d get comments that we needed to make improvement in some “delineated areas of concern” that came out of “Sarah’s” imagination.

This was despite the fact that “Sarah” was initially denied a promotion because some managers thought SHE had communication issues and project management issues. None of that impacted anyone’s decision to believe or disbelieve what she said. Knowing that “Sarah” had communication issues didn’t seem to raise red flags about any of the Black women “Sarah” complained about.

In fact, my former employer, to this day, is using “Sarah” as a weapon against me in their written responses to an outside investigatory agency! Ain’t that some s*it!

Sarah Palin #2: There was another White woman, I’ve previously blogged about, who started as a Senior Conference Manager. Several quick promotions later, she ended as the director of a department with anywhere from 15-20 staff at any given time. She was 26 years old and had never managed a large group of people, including senior managers with many more years of experience than she had.

Long story short, she ran that department into the ground with straight up mismanagement. She couldn’t stop siding with her friends, showed overt favoritism, and was just winging it with her day-to-day responsibilities.

In the end, when a race-based incident came up, all hell broke loose because this unqualified “Sarah” had no clue about the Federal laws concerning anti-discrimination, harassment and retaliation policies. She had no clue how to tell her friend, who was causing the problems, that she was wrong. And, “Sarah” decided to escalate the racial problems in order to defend her friend from any sort of reprimand, such as suspension, termination, training, or even making an apology to rectify the situation. “Sarah” began to make false accusations against the Black worker, began to get false statements from BLACK staff against this worker, and began to isolate the complaining Black worker from other staff. To defend her friend, “Sarah” was ready to break the law. And, she did!

As a result of this “Sarah” our employer was found guilty of retaliation by the Office of Human Rights in our state.

“Sarah” resigned before our employer was found guilty. But, after the complaining Black worker was forced out of her job (constructive termination), “Sarah” was rehired!! I guess that made all right in the world, for my former employer!

Have you worked with a Sarah Palin type? Tell us about it!

Monday’s post will provide strategies you can use to defend yourself and tips for documenting a person like this.

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Anonymous DiosaNegra1967 said...

i've worked with them several times in my career...and, in fact, this latest incident has caused me to re-think my career path entirely!

here's something that might make your head spin, though...imagine, if you will, a sarah palin...only black.

i've experienced THAT too...and I'M black....

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Isista said...

Loved the article! I totally agree with this article as well as the previous one. There are tons of "Sarah" -like individuals out there, but they tend to come in all shades and colors and are not gender specific, as I have met many.In terms of Sarah Palin, I do not see what the "hype" is all about and find it quite hilarious as how people have hyped her up so well that even she belives it (the hype) too. So funny!

6:15 AM  
Blogger SjP said...

Can't wait till Monday...I'll be back! Much obliged!

12:34 PM  
Anonymous twocanpete said...

Great post. I thought it was just us 40'something old white guys who had been burned by 'Sarah'. My 'Sarah' destroyed an education program that had been doing great things in a state prison for over 35 years. All because she was mad at a couple of the people she had been put in charge of. No problem for 'Sarah' though, she's moved on to bigger and better things last I heard.

4:36 PM  
Anonymous walt235 said...

Yet more nigger bullshit!

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got both a Sarah and a George W. for ya. First, with Sarah. Sarah was a white single mother, smoked weed, high school drop out, ran several non-profit programs to the ground, a walking disaster. I a black female, university educated, single mother, no drugs, stellar work performance - worked as an oncall crisis care worker. A full time position came up. We both applied. Both interviewed. Sarah got the position. I had to train her. Sarah did not show up for work for the next three months, asking me to cover for her each time. I covered, because more shifts meant more money. When I asked why I did not get the position, I was told that it was a close mark as both Sarah and I had the same education. Talk about insult! Sarah got into a car crash after being into a druken stupor, 2 other colleagues were severly injured. Sarah, still has her job. I quit.

Now for George W. he was a receptionist for a financial institution. He got the job because the branch manager gave it to him and his mother is a VP at a partnered mortgage firm. George W. was stupid, lacked qualifications, gave wrong information to clients, lazy and cruised Facebook. The branch manager turned a blind eye to it all. Now George W. is the Director of Marketing and Education.

10:56 AM  

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