Sara Jo Chipps appeared in my social media flow the other day, tweeting about sexual and racist jokes in the workplace. I've saved her string of tweets as a blog post below because I have three daughters who have to navigate work centres where they might not control the demeanour of those places.
"Something happens when you are the only woman on a team or you're a minority member.
"Someone on the team tells a sexist or racist joke (something they deem innocuous) and the entire team looks to you for your reaction to see if you 'are cool or not'.
"Something that is lost on these people is that you actually have no choice. If you react to the offensive joke you are at high risk of losing your job and killing your career. You will be dubbed as 'uptight' and 'not a fun person to work with', your work will be scrutinized and every mistake will be magnified by the fact that you 'aren't a team player'.
"So you do what you have to, you laugh along. Maybe you joke back, if you want to endear yourself.
"But the consequences of this are long lasting, the jokes get worse, you lose a little of your soul each time, and you are driven either to leave or draw an arbitrary line and complain.
"Once that happens, your job is over.
"I'm in management now. One thing I appreciate is that fact that you can set a culture of that not being okay early on. I say this because even though the person on your team laughs along or "seems cool" the reality is they have no choice. I experienced this on every engineering team I was ever a part of. I laughed along each time, and although it helped my career, it ultimately hurt me as a person.
"I'd like a world where this doesn't have to be an issue".