The Swamp of Discrimination


Are alligators in your swamp?


I’m angry. What were they thinking? The recent SAE event should awaken us to unkind realities, not just at a college party, but in corporate America. Today I heard one of the ringleaders came from Jesuit High School, an excellent school in Dallas.  He knew better. They all knew better. Why? Why? Why?

Discrimination Affects All of Us

Discrimination is a serious issue. Whether we are old, young, married, unmarried, people of color or freckled, we experience discrimination periodically. Is there anyone reading this who has not experienced discrimination?

alligator in water

There’s one!

Possible Solutions

What can we do about it? Ranting doesn’t seem to help. For decades I’ve coached people to consider alternative careers. I’ve heard incredible stories of discrimination. I’ve listened to a number of stories from women who experienced discrimination and reported it. When the layoff came, they were terminated.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? How has discrimination truly changed over the years? I’m not sure it’s much better than it used to be.

Stories of Woe

Long ago, working for a major company, I quit rather than work for the HR Manager who interviewed someone, telling me, “I liked her.” My response, “Why?” Her bright, bouncy attitude exuded confidence, but I couldn’t grasp why he liked her better than the others. “She’s married.” What??? The manager has a Master’s degree in Human Resources. Married? How did that factor into hiring her? He said, “She’d be more settled than a single woman.” What???

This week I heard from yet another technical female who reported inappropriate behavior from a co-worker who referred to women’s body parts in a derogatory manner. Should she try to change careers?

Recently I’ve read a number of articles about women in technology abandoning their dreams. What are women to do? Ignore it? I’ve heard too many stories like that.

Possible Problems

Maybe she’s a trouble-maker.

Maybe her skills aren’t as “valuable” as the transgressor.

Maybe she looks like the manager’s mother and he never liked his mother.

Maybe the company can afford lawyers if she decides to sue.

Handling a Hostile Swamp

  • Don’t over-react the first time.
  • Let your body language register surprise and distaste.
  • Sense of humor; “You can’t mean that!”
  • Quietly talk in private with the individual about your boundaries. Ask and tell the manager you expect harassment to stop. No difference…go to next step.
  • Talk with the department manager; lethargy or hostility…go to next step
  • Report it to HR; see if they handle it appropriately; if situation remains…go to next step
  • Update your resume and begin looking for a new job!


I don’t want to be tarred and feathered for the next statement, but do not share your story with the next possible employer. You want a fresh start. Words, kind and unkind, travel fast. You do not want to be known as a trouble-maker. You can read ways to state why you are leaving, such as “It’s time for a change” or “I’ve heard good things about your company. Your opportunity fits my career plans.”

Should I Leave the Swamp

Some feel they can’t afford to leave. If the situation disgusts and degrades, you can’t afford to stay.  Your emotional health is critical. You don’t deserve to be harassed .

If you are a manager, do not allow bad behavior from anyone in your group. You don’t want to be taken to court! It can cost your company millions. And I’m not just saying that! Be sure to watch this video.  Ignore the commercial.  The video is important!

Thanks to the anonymous lady who encouraged me to write this article!

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