Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Awkwardness! :P

I went to work this morning and my boss asked me to call someone at one of our vendors.  After a 10 minute phone call, he offered to email some documentation.

The email never came, and eventually me and my boss continued research on our own.  I was sitting in my boss's office when the vendor called him.  He had tried calling me, but we had not heard the phone in my office.

Listening to my boss's side of the call, it was obvious the email had come back undeliverable. "It's shannon.blah@blah.com" my boss said.

I knew what had happened right away.  On the phone people mishear Shannon, as Sharon all the time.  The boss corrected him, giving my real email, with my actual androgynous name, rather than the unquestionably female name Sharon, but he dodged using pronouns in discussing me for the entire conversation.

Was the boss just looking out for my feelings by leaving his impression of my gender or was he dodging an awkward correction?

He forwarded the email to my boss with the original wording, addressed and written to Sharon.

He really didn't seem too bothered by the whole thing and we worked the rest of the day without incident.

I'm still always flattered when I get evidence that people I talk to on the phone properly ascertain my gender...even when the circumstances are a little less than ideal.

Guess the time is coming for me to talk to my boss.  Everyone knows I think, but opening the conversation is of course my responsibility.  Just a matter of how and when and I suppose I'll think it out over vacation.


Leslie Ann said...

Yep, I'd say the time is nigh, now that you're wearing full makeup to work! I suspect the boss is eager to discuss it, but hasn't a clue what to say (or really, what not to say). He doesn't seem to be having much trouble with it, but he could use some direction from you as to how he should handle things like that email.

Keep giving us good news, girlfriend!

Caroline said...

I used to have a bottle of champagne handy as a prise for the first person to confront me with "the" question, nobody ever did which was a shame since that was to be my cue to open up to the world!

I have been on a six week coming out tour, sounds dramatic but shrugs is about as dramatic a reaction as I got and believe me this old lady looks a mess compared to the beauty you post.

We are our own worst judges, wish you luck when it happens.

Caroline xxx

Amy K. said...

Well, Sharon -- uhhh, Shandy, I would think from everything you've written thus far, that everything will turn out okay. My employees (and manager) were really pleased when I told them, and they were all, "It's about time! We just HAD to know what was going on with you." They thought I was gay, they thought I was trans and in denial, etc., etc., etc. You see, I started going to work in much the same manner that you are now. "Done up," but with the male work clothes. Coming out not only allowed me to wear the clothes I'd always wanted to wear to work, but it showed me just how supportive everyone can be, and how fantastic it can be to just be me, and enjoy being me, with no hiding and no reservations. Oops, I think that was a run-on sentence. I can't wait to hear your coming-out experience. I'm right there with you in spirit!!!

Two Auntees said...

I would still say to arrange with your therapist and the HR person if they know and are accepting to be available if your Boss is stumbling over how to follow through.

Well done though and keep your chin up and shoulders back walk proud.

lisalisa said...

It sounds to me like he knows and does not really have a problem.
It is not surprising he hasent mentioned anything to you just in case there is a small chance he is wrong.
It really is up to us to make that announcement I think but I really dont think it will be a surprise. In fact I am sure he will be glad it is then out in the open.
Your voice is obviously excellent becuase telephones are not very forgiving in gendering people. That is a bit of an acid test!

ms.shandy said...

@lisa You are right. It is definitely up to us to make that announcement. It's my move definitely, though I'll probably just wait a bit longer and make sure my facial hair issues get sufficiently resolved. I'mm still a little self conscious, especially toward the end of the day.

@Sarah That is extremely good advice on HR and the therapist. My situation is a bit unusual though. My company doesn't have an HR department, and the closet thing is actually finance of all things. And my therapist is three and a half hours away. I may ask her whether she would mind my sharing her phone number though. Thanks for the suggestion. :)

@Amy I doubt there are many books or articles that suggest what I am doing and what you did, but it really does seem to work. I guess it depends on who you are and who is around you. Guess it just goes to show that on something with as many variables as transition, planning only goes so far, and beyond that you have to follow your intuition and live it from moment to moment. So glad things went well for you. Stories like that are just inspirational to me. Hope I have similar luck! :)

@Caroline Your comment about the lack of drama made me smile. Seems like I always expect this movie like dramatic struggle eery time I move forward, and instead, everything just moves steadily along. There has been stress and conflict, but serious drama has been scarce, thank goodness. Hopefully it stays that way. :)

@Leslie I hope you are right about my boss. He is a great guy, but he has an extremely conservative nature and I've always assumed he'd have a hard time accepting me. Something like that call and email has to be awkward, with me still presenting male at work.

I'm still hoping I can address things in the next few moths and that it makes things a little easier for those working with me.