On Being a Woman Working in a Man's World
Most of us have experienced discrimination and/or racism in some way during our lifetime. I am no exception. I will describe one small snippet of time during my previous work career.
I worked as a substance use counselor and prevention specialist for a dual diagnosis treatment agency for a number of years. During these years I successfully created and ran a one-person program for this agency in a public middle school setting in a cooperative arrangement, with very little help. During these years I must have interacted with well over 1,500 young students going through a very difficult age -12-14 years old - and I was well liked by the students.
I am also a good student and test-taker. For a while, my supervisor asked me to help other agency employees who were struggling to pass the needed credentialing exams. I happily agreed to do this on my own time. I remember one gentleman who had taken and failed the written exam at least seven times before studying with me. I observed him taking practice test questions, and was able to pinpoint why he was failing the exam. After a few weeks of practice, he took the test and passed!
I came to find out that he was working in a position at about my level (or even lower), but he was getting paid considerably more money than I was.
Did I feel discriminated against? You betcha
Lesson learned: Change the things you can, don't worry about the rest, and don't compromise your integrity and self-love just because others demean you.
— D. Poppendieck, PhD