“…we need you to work more hours until we get this project back on track,” my then project manager said coolly. His eyes said nothing. I tried reading his body language; aside from a short flip of his hair his remarks were pretty candid and dismissive all at once.
I, on the other hand, was not so contained. I sat across from him in his small office with little beads of sweat accumulating on my forehead and a baby bump on my lap – I was 6 months pregnant.
Can Women Really Have It All?
“I’m already putting in almost 50 hours, Todd,” I was exhausted.
“The system requirements are done and short of developing the application myself, there really isn’t much else I can do until we’re ready to test.”
He knew I was right; there wasn’t physically anything else the management staff could do. He wanted me to babysit the client. I thought that decision was a poor project move – all we had to do was deliver on time. Truth is those long work days were emotionally and physically taxing for the entire team. In my mind, I didn’t see what I personally needed to do necessitated longer hours in the office. I could surely log in from home and respond to email from there, right?
Wrong! Todd was fixated on face time in the office.
“No we need you here, we’re thinking 12-hour shifts for everyone until the development work is done,” he responded.
I thought about how much I’ve already sacrificed for the company, neglecting my health, neglecting my family and neglecting my career on this and other poorly ran projects.
“No, that won’t work for me,” I said as evenly as I could. “I-I have a family Todd and….”
Did I just say that?
“Aren’t you married?” he snapped. He seemed offended.
“Couldn’t your husband, step up at home until the project is . . . . ”
I remember distinctively how I felt at that moment. I was anxious, afraid and angry all at the same time. I saw his lips move but I couldn’t hear a word. All I kept thinking was: what would I say next . . . .
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