I terminated my position over 4 months ago and I'm still not able to apply for jobs. I'm frustrated with my inability to move on from the previous toxic work environments. My background is in a male dominated field and there was always something either insensitive, sexist or racist said in all my previous workplaces. I feel, I know I'm going to be met with some sort of comment in my next work place and I no longer want to put myself in those situations anymore. I don't know how I'll react, I feel like I may explode if I hear another ignorant phrase.
I want to be able to make money. People say I must not have liked what I did very much if I wasn't able to put up with the comments. Other people say that that's just how the world is, "get used to it!" I've also heard that I'm just going to have to wait for change because drastic/fast pace change causes recoil. All of these comments literally tell me to suck it up and allow the same rhetoric to propagate. And, of course, all of this has been told to me by white men, those who aren't effected by the comments said to me.
Things that have happened to me or that were said to me:
- Smile more
- I'm too soft spoken/nice
- I'm too aggressive
- "Do you want to fix your hair?"
- A project manager bought me hair product, I didn't ask. I have curly hair and it took me a long time to love my curls, but it's seen as "unprofessional"
- A Director was staring at my hair throughout an entire interview
- "I'll put you up there" when the males were talking about strip clubs
- "Why are women crazy?"
- I've been kissed on my face and told "if only I met you before my wife"... never had a fucking conversation outside work with this person. I didn't even speak to him more than once a week!
- "We were surprised that you and Mohammad spoke English". Both me and Mohammad were born and raised in the United States. When I responded with "Why did you guys think that?" they conveniently stumbled and changed the subject.
... Many more things happened, but require too much context.
I just don't get it. Am I suppose to let ALL these things slide? Am I suppose to hold empathy for people who don't have empathy for me? Who don't empathize with me and how what they have said may have made me feel? Should I forgive people who would rather hide the fact that they said something rather than apologize? (And yes, I filed reports for some of these comments/experiences and the rhetoric was "She got X fired", not "X's own behavior got them fired".)
And more importantly, how do I move on from this knowing that it's going to happen again? The last job had the most amount of sexism in it. The thing about sexism (and racism) is that it's meant to make you feel devalued, and shocker, I felt devalued. It took me so long to gain my self confidence back. And I want so badly to protect myself. I never want to feel those feelings again. But the world is still sexist and racist and homophobic and xenophobic... all the phobics. And how do I tell my next work place that the reason why I left and why I took a break from working was to deal with the emotional repercussions from a very toxic/sexist work environment (when workplaces see whistle blowers as a red flag)? And how to I prepare my little sister who is in college studying a male dominated field knowing that she'll have to deal with the same things I went through?
It's been 4 months and I'm still angry and still jobless. I've grown to hate social interactions for fear of someone saying some ignorant shit. I've grown a distrust of all people. I hate how much this thing has affected me, how belittled I feel and how I can't move on from this. I feel emotionally paralyzed and money is running out and jobs are hard to come by especially because I'm not white nor am I a male and my hair isn't straight Billie Holiday - I Love My Man.
I'm tired of confusing people with how my looks don't match my attitude/personality that they've been conditionally taught to think it was like. I'm tired of confusing people with how unashamed I am of my existence.