Suppose you are in a staff meeting filled with engineers and technicians working on projects. Now, suppose two engineers, vying for a promotional position, clash over a problem project in front of a new leading director.
The problem project managing engineer, upset over having an independent engineer review his work, lashes out at the independent engineer. The independent engineer stands up for his comments regarding the problems with the project. The managing engineer later follows up with emails to the new director. The independent engineer offers to meet and discuss the problems in the project, but he is ignored.
Now, suppose you know that a junior technician had asked the independent engineer to review the managing engineer’s project because the technician’s concerns were not being heard or addressed by the problem project managing engineer. Suppose, instead, the managing engineer accused the independent engineer of overstepping his position. Suppose that the new director did not do a review of the problem project. Later, the problems, not being addressed, do indeed affect the project negatively. The independent engineer’s comments would have resolved problems and saved the project.
In this scenario, do you side with the independent engineer? The independent engineer was attempting to help a concerned technician communicate problems that would derail the project. The independent engineer is the HERO, right? Did the director show good leadership judgment by letting the managing engineer not address the problems and review the project?
Now imagine that the independent engineer is a female and of a higher level than the problem project managing engineer and equally likely to get the promotional position. Who is the hero now? It should still be the independent engineer whom attempted to solve constructability problems and save a project, shouldn’t it?
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. And, as a matter of fact, this exact scenario happened to me. A junior, male engineer lashed out at me during a staff meeting with a new director for speaking up regarding problems in his project which his engineering technician presented to him and was ignored. The managing engineer made a scene. But, was I considered a HERO? No, the new director considered me “unprofessional” because I stated my professional opinion that the project had problems. I have to wonder, on #InternationalWomensDay, would I have been the project hero if I was a man? I think so.
Until we resolve these gender disparities and discrimination, we will continue to suffer problems!
Post Script. The problems in the project were not discussed or resolved. The problem project manager did not get promoted. He eventually retired and moved overseas. The problem project engineer and I have resolved our differences and respect each other. I also did not get the position. I resigned to pursue better opportunities.
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