Transgender Workplace Diversity Network

Staying Employed - More About Tactics that can be used against you at Work

In my previous post, I outlined a few of the tactics that are used against trans workers. I promised that if there was interest, I would follow up with another post. There did seem some interest, so this is that followup post. I probably should have posted this a long time ago, but I've had more than a few things on my plate.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there are two basic issues that these posts are designed to discuss -

1) Identifying typical tactics used to create hostile working conditions which are employed to drive trans workers out of their jobs

2) Developing strategies to cope with these tactics, fight back, and find support

Let's remember, how crucial working can be in this culture.
It's hard to underestimate it's importance; it provides money to pay for essentials, like food and housing, things no one can live without, but it often provides more, like relationships and networking possibilities, which can be critical in aiding you in growing your support systems, both personal and professional.

Here's two more tactics that are often employed against trans workers to drive them out of their employment:

Sour the Milk - The Lack of Work Technique
Sabotage - Being Setup to Fail

Sour the Milk

As I use the phrase, "sour the milk", work is the "milk", and your hope of being allowed to work, to contribute at the same level as anyone else, is "soured" or discouraged by Managment's intent to assure you won't be allowed to contribute at the same level as others on your team.

Suffice to say that if you find that you're not getting assignments or projects at work, not getting substantive work, or have found that the work you've been assigned does not match what others in your team has been assigned, and the issue of your gender has come up at work in some form or fashion, chances are you've been targeted by what I call the "sour the milk" technique.

Your employer, i.e., your manager, is communicating to you that as long as you're there, you wont' get work, or the work you'll get won't be the same as others on your team. Essentially, you're being invited to quit. Sometimes they try to bore you into quitting, other times it's just an attempt to discourage you into quitting.

Once your employer has decided that your gender is an issue at work, and they have decided they want you out, this is often the first technique used. It's a "softer" technique, but beware, it can often be employed with other techniques and make your time at work hell.

This technique was employed against me at a major retailer I worked at a few years ago. I kept sending e-mails to my Manager asking for work, yet not getting any. While others on the team were busy, I had nothing to do. And nothing to do despite the e-mails. This went on for months. The temptation to just browse the Internet was very attractive. I suspected something was wrong, so I parked my browser on the company web site and stayed within work guidelines for the workplace.

Another form of this Tactic was identified by Maria, who responded to my original post a few months back, it might be worth reviewing her response to get additional information about how this tactic can be employed against you.

Sabotage - Being Setup to Fail

This tactic can often be the follow-up tactic if "sour the milk" fails, and you're still at work.

In some sense, a definition of this tactic is relatively simple; you're setup to fail. But sometimes it becomes so blatant, I am dumbfounded that Employers really think they can get away with it.

Take this example, for instance: you are assigned a new project, something you've never done before, that you have no experience with. Your Manager tells you to not prepare , that a co-worker will be there with you to perform the task. Comes time to perform the task, a task you know nothing about, a task that you have no experience with, and your co-worker is not there and your Manager won't assign anyone else to help you. Naturally, because you are unprepared, the experience is horrible, a total fiasco. And of course, that's the intent: to communicate to you that you are not wanted, that you will not get help, that you will be sabotaged, at any cost whatsoever.

Now, there are more subtle forms of this tactic. That was one more extreme example. I'm pretty sure that this tactic, sabotage, is pretty well understood by most of you.

So, I'm betting most of you are wondering, what do you do when you hit these kinds of tactics that are used against you at work? Well, that will be the substance of my next post, as in "Staying Employed - What To Do", and I promise I'll post my thoughts on what you can do to protect yourself next week.

I hope that you all find these posts helpful.

NEXT - Staying Employed - What To Do

Views: 214

Comment by Cheryl Cristello on July 16, 2009 at 12:51pm
I hope that people will take your points to heart. My employer told me that they would totally support me during my transition. Later when issues came up such as being paid as sick leave when I had my GRS they stated "you should have known that we would take care of you". Turns out that my fears were real - after 29 years working for this one employer, I was fired ostensibly due to ROF due to lack of work. Now at 63 my perspective of finding a new position are doubtful.
Being fired was upsetting, demoralizing, depressing but I know the truth and so do they.


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