toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

November 11, 2012

the big end of town guys

Hillary is a savvy business executive, divorced with two teenagers at home. Her work brings her into contact with the big boys in town, and she never ceases to be amazed at how blatantly some of them try to manipulate her.

"You've got to be a survivor to do what I do for a living," laughs Hillary. "And you've got to be aware at all times that they're going to use and abuse your femininity to clinch a deal."

"I outsmart them all the time by acting like a woman, but thinking like a man," says Hillary. "Sex is what guys think about all the time -- whether they're uptown or downtown guys -- and their biggest mistake is to think sex is what women think about all the time, too."

"If a blatant pass misses the mark," says Hillary, "then they can get really nasty."

"Sure, I date and sleep with clients and guys from work," laughs Hillary. "What's wrong with that? Everyone does it. Where else am I supposed to find guys?"

"Because of my position, though, I am highly selective and I have to be careful," says Hillary. "My work involves a lot of business lunches and dinners and most guys treat this sort of thing as a date. It is in a way, but I never lose sight of the deal I'm there to clinch."

"It's the guys I don't sleep with who cause me trouble, and that's just about all of them."

"One of the more common manipulative tricks, in business or in any aspect of life," says Hillary, "is the one where a guy puts you on the spot and wants to seal an arrangement or close a deal as quickly as possible."

According to Hillary, they do this to deny you the opportunity of thinking things out and discovering something they don't want you to find out.

"If you feel uncomfortable about being put on the spot, then you're being screwed," says Hillary, "and when this happens to me I always say 'no thank you', and walk away."

Another common manipulative trick is to be ushered into somebody's home or office and requested to sit down, and then the guy stands over you.

"The guy does this to gain the advantage of a seemingly powerful position over you," explains Hillary. "You're looking 'up' at him and he's looking 'down' on you. People who do this may also be telling you that they consider you to be inferior to them, and women executives get that sort of treatment all the time."

"When this happens to me I request that the guy sits down, or I just jump up and stand next to him!"

Similar to this is someone who places a barrier such as a table between you in order to gain the advantage of a position of power over you - or to hide something from you.

"Try picking up your chair and placing it by the side of the table, next to him," laughs Hillary. "It always startles them when I do this!".

And then there's the 'I didn't receive your letter or email' screw.

Hillary maintains that this always seems to happen when she writes something really important and forgets the golden anti-screw rule: always certify or register an important letter.

Another facet of this is the 'you forgot to send page 3' screw when you write a letter with all the important details on page 3.

Although Hillary is a particularly savvy business executive even she got screwed by a client who played this trick on her when she had rebuffed his amorous attentions!

"He claimed that he had only received two pages of my three page letter," says Hillary, "and I had no way of knowing whether or not my secretary had indeed missed sending him the third page. It was his way of getting even, regaining his masculine pride after I had rebuffed him."

Hillary now circumvents this screw by cultivating brevity and sending one page letters. She doesn’t think that numbering the pages 1of 3, 2 of 3 and 3 of 3 would help much, and thinks that e-mail solves this manipulative trick nicely just as long as you keep a copy of everything you send.

"Someone who passes the buck or blames someone else for whatever he or she has done is a typical screwer," says Hillary, "and so is someone who wangles a 'my word against yours' situation."

"I always take a colleague with me to important meetings, and I also use a concealed tape recorder to verify what took place."

Hillary says that excesses of any kind - excessive generosity, talk, drunkenness, etc - are sometimes signs of excessive opposite behavior to follow.

"Typical is a man who showers you with presents, then turns into a cheapskate," laughs Hillary. "I meet plenty of men like that in the business world. They date like they're doing a business deal where the object is to literally screw you."

"A lie is always a sign of a screw, and so is a trick," says Hillary. "They start off with little lies and practical jokes to test your gullibility, and then build up to perpetrate some abominable lies and practical jokes on you."

"Basically, I never take anyone on face value," says Hillary, "and especially not a joker."

"Never trust a joker," laughs Hillary. "Someone who can't talk straight, even to family members, has something very wrong with them."

"I'm very straightforward and believe that honesty is the best policy in all of my dealings with men - business and dating, " says Hillary, "but I'm afraid that very few guys operate similarly. Men tend to be far more into manipulation and power games than women are - and I am aware at all times that the big guys in town, even the small ones, secretly, if not overtly, consider me a pushover because I'm a woman."

"Actually," laughs Hillary, "that sort of mindset is their downfall because I use it to my advantage. When people underestimate their opponents, they always get their comeuppance and I love giving it to them."

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