Yesterday I got fed up with my boss's vague, incomplete, ever-changing, sometimes contradictory instructions, especially when she took to scolding me for not following a particular set of instructions she had not given.
Oh, as an unrelated side note, if Blackberries are as unreliable for sending emails as multiple Blackberry-using bosses I've had have claimed, why is anyone still using a Blackberry? And how is it that only the useful emails fall through the cracks, but the bitchy ones always seem to reach me?
Back to my story. At the height of my anger yesterday, and after having received a couple of email scoldings, I was called into my boss's office, and I was ready to tell her to shove it.
But she was all chipper and cheerful and that just made me madder, so I gave her a piece of my mind. (My job, though busy and frustrating, does not require a lot of brain power, so I could afford to lose a piece of my mind.) She responded calmly with a lot of BS, including a game of and "my problems are bigger than your problems" and "my health is worse than your health." Which is probably true, but doesn't excuse poor behavior. In fact, if it's true that her health problem causes cognitive defects, then she probably shouldn't be in charge of safety (among other things).
After that, she then semi-hesitantly told me that she needed to talk to me about a "sensitive subject." You see, apparently, allegedly, multiple male coworkers have complained that I've been flashing my high beams and it makes them uncomfortable. Ah, not literally flashing them, as in exposing them, but that my gigantic mutant nipples are visible through my clothes in our very cold office. And there was this one particular blue sweater that they wouldn't shut up about. (I do have one blue sweater that I wore once, several weeks ago.)
It would be different if we were at a party, ha-ha, the coworkers allegedly said, but this is an office.
My boss claims that she was outraged on my behalf but felt that she should tell me to cover up, in the interest of workplace decorum. (This workplace where people play obnoxious youtube videos at full volume to "entertain" the staff. Hello, some of us are actually working.)
I asked my female coworker, who also reports to this woman, what she thought of this claim. Like me, she thought it was more likely that either our boss had a personal problem with it, or she was just playing mind games with me as punishment for being uppity. Seems she made a similar comment to one of my predecessors, that her clothes made male coworkers "uncomfortable."
There have been three people with my job in the last 1.5 years, including me. (Not including the consultant, a man who worked offsite.) All three were women. She's made these comments to two out of three. Remarkable. (The other one was apparently a saint; boss won't shut up about about how great she was.)
I'm working in an extremely sexist industry, and it's true that my perkiness is sometimes visible, so my boss's claim is not entirely implausible. However, I don't think I'm unusually indiscreet, and most of the time my clothes are not only modest, but frumpy. And I actually do cover up when I'm aware of a problem. In any case, no one should be looking at my chest if it makes them uncomfortable. In fact, it's pretty rare that they can even see it, since I spend very little time away from my desk.
So I'm not upset if someone saw my twins making a point, and I'm not going to throw away the blue sweater or buy special extra-thick bras to hide my shame. But I am upset that my boss is full of shit. Which is silly, because I already knew that.