The past few days have seen an insurgence of these two words on social media. Two little words were typed on Sunday night. Their impact has been immense. Every social media outlet I utilize has been flooded with the same two words. These aren’t just actresses and socialites posting: these are my friends posting those two tiny words.
This is me typing them. This is me hoping that my daughter will never have to type them. This is me teaching my son to never be the reason someone types those two words.
I’d like to say that I only have one story behind those two words. Sadly, I don’t. In my 38 years, there are too many instances to count. The most ridiculous seem to be the ones that stick out.
Twelve years ago I worked in pharmaceutical sales. I remember wanting to break into the industry so badly. All those fancy dinners, and seemingly beautiful sales people couldn’t have a downside, right? Well, it did. And I’m not talking about the days schlepping lunches and being a glorified UPS driver. That, my friend, is a whole other story.
I landed my dream pharma job in the spring of 2004. The first year was like that amazing little honeymoon period. It was all sunshine and rainbows. I was newly single and couldn’t volunteer to take our docs out enough. In January of 2005, our company realigned and I picked up some new physicians to call on.
One was notoriously hard to get in to see. His office manager controlled who came in to see him, and who was banished to the land of no samples/no signatures. Luckily for me, she had taken a liking to one of my counterparts. I started joining my counterpart when she brought in lunch. Eventually, the office manager let me schedule lunch without my counterpart.
I don’t remember if the comments started the first lunch or later. I guess it really doesn’t matter. This guy was extremely well liked by his patients, and his staff, but he had balls. The comments weren’t saved for just me.
I received a call one day from the office manager asking me to come in. Stupidly, I thought they needed samples (I mean that was my job). I get there and am summoned into the break room and the manager closes the door behind her. She asks me what my Thanksgiving plans were. Why do you need to shut the door to ask me this? Weird. I tell her I’m heading home to my parent’s house.
She then asks me if the doctor can come home with me.
Did I mentioned this guy was married?
See what I mean? Serious balls.
I decline stating that he’s married and it would be a line I wasn’t willing to cross due to our working relationship.
Yeah, it wasn’t ever going to be crossed working relationship or not.
A little more than a month later, I’m having lunch and another team member of mine has joined me. Innocently, during the lunch she asks doc what he wants for Christmas. He looks right at me, points, and then says “Her. Wrapped in a black teddy and nothing else.”
Oh, and did I forget to mention his 5 staff members were also sitting with us?
Not one person called him out on his ridiculousness. He had his office manager assist in the harassment, and wasn’t afraid to say anything in front of his staff. Clearly, the guy was used to getting what he wants and saying anything and everything.
When I brought this up to my team and management, they told me to take one for the team. His words are harmless. The team needed his numbers so they could qualify for a trip.
So, as a good team player, I did. My entire team went on that trip, but me. I missed going by $200 in sales. Taking one for the team got me continually harassed and no trip.
Gross, right? I’d like to say it’s never happened since, but that would be a lie. There’s been the sales manager that multiple times tried to get me to come into his room at a sales meeting, and then called me a frigid bitch for saying no. Or the doctor who repeatedly asks my preference for lube as I’m demoing a scope.
My boobs didn’t hand me my career. I worked hard to get where I am, and I shouldn’t be punished for having them. I should never have to take one for the team. Words aren’t always harmless.
For now, I can teach my daughter to say something. Don’t let anyone get away with harassing you. I want her to grow up and never have to say me too.