Pam or “Ma’am?”

Today’s crankiness could be attributed to the fact that it’s Monday and some Mondays are extra Monday-ish, (like this one.) It’s also a million degrees outside with 150% humidity and I may or may not be menopausal, but whoa… I’ve really disliked being called, “Ma’am” on this particular day.

Argh.

I visited just two places and at both locations, I was addressed multiple times by the moniker that sometimes, makes me shudder;

  • MA’AM, your prescription can’t be filled today.” (Pharmacy staff)
  • “Polly’s prescription is ready for you, MA’AM.” (Vet staff)
  • MA’AM, do you want to put your rewards number in?” (Cashier)
  • “Pardon me, MA’AM… (Customer sharing the aisle with me)
  • “MA’AM? MA’AM? MA’AM?!” (Pharmacy staff trying to get my attention)

Sometimes, I really don’t mind being addressed this way. Today, it was different. It happened so many times in a period of about 60 minutes.

I do know some women who are downright offended by the term AT ABSOLUTELY ALL TIMES, because it somehow makes them feel old; but really, isn’t it a polite term of respect more than age?

Please discuss and do let me know your thoughts. I’m genuinely curious!

Look, I don’t care much about age, so whether or not someone thinks I’m old doesn’t matter to me. What bugged me most about today is that I felt like “ma’am” put a type of formal distance between me and the human beings who were addressing me. I’m a person who really likes to get to know other people.

So, yeah… it’s my problem. If other people feel more comfy calling me, “Ma’am,” (cringe) I’ll have to be okay with it. I can’t envision myself correcting someone when in actuality, they’re pretty correct. I probably am a “ma’am.” I’m a “ma’am” named Pam. Speaking of which…

don’t eeeeeee-ven get me started on how “Ma’am” rhymes with my name. I often think people who know me are calling out my name when in fact, they’re really saying, “ma’am.”

This minor quibble definitely falls into the high-class kvetch category. Also, on a brighter note, it would be even tougher if I was a man named, “Adam” and I thought people were calling me, “Madam.” 🙂

P.S. I haven’t yet made it to “MADAM/MADAME” status unless I’m at a French restaurant which of course, I frequently dine at. I love French doigt de pied-fou.

Le Yum.

Really, no matter what the moniker du jour, One thing I continuously remind myself is that even when I’m cranky over silly things such as this, I’m a very lucky Pam

and sometimes, “Ma’am.”

Pam or “Ma’am?”

The Icky Shtick of an “Inclusive” Clique

I will always be a student and I like that about me. I may even be addicted to learning new things, including, but not limited to learning new things about myself. (The good, the bad and the ugly.)

For as long as I have been a sponge for learning, I have been especially invested in social justice and human rights. (Even before I knew what they were called, or the endless lesson plans that accompany human rights.)

Over the years and lately, I have had the good fortune to hear (and learn), a great deal about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Even though I had ample training on it, my learning AND my questions have really skyrocketed in the past few months.

While in “Inclusion School,” I have also had an opportunity to tour some of the hottest Chicago tech companies who pride themselves, and maybe even boast a little, on superior workplace diversity and inclusion.

Some of these companies are, by a long shot, the finest working environments I have ever seen. The physical spaces are welcoming, comfy and designed for collaboration.

YUM.

Here is the bad news, and the reason why I haven’t mentioned any specific companies or actual people I am learning from…

I am hard-pressed to find my population. Yes, I’ve seen plenty of women, but what I can’t seem to find in these tech companies, and I am looking EVERYWHERE, are women above 50 years of age. To be honest, in one company, I don’t think I saw any men over 50 either and if we are really going to get into the nitty gritty, I can’t be sure if I saw ANY women over 40 years of age.

Look, I am not getting down on tech companies. I love tech companies.

I am, however, interested in where women over 50 years of age are within these hot tech companies. I am even more fascinated with the external corporate messaging of infallible dedication to workplace diversity and inclusion and yet, where are women like me?

There are no accusations here on these very successful tech companies, but I sure would like to review the actual diversity data from corporations who tout diversity and inclusion in their workplace. Perhaps their 50 and 60-somethings are working remotely or are in a less public place, but I doubt the latter as the work-spaces I have toured are wide open.

As you may or may not know, I believe ageism is myopically immature and downright wrong.

I realize that we all have biases. I do too, but, if you pride yourself on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, or within social justice for that matter, please take a long, honest look. If you can’t seem to find women like me, or care about the rights of women like me… check yourself and your actual commitment to inclusion and diversity.

Plus, I have no doubt that real diversity and inclusion, with a smorgasbord of different ages, races, religions, genders, socioeconomic statuses, etc. just has to be the best place to work AND the best place to be a lifelong student.

 

 

 

 

Ageism is Myopically Immature

This week, I spent Monday morning with 96-year-old, Dyna Wise and her grandson, Lawrence Burley. The time I spent with these two extraordinary human beings, was not only the highlight of my week, but one of the most significant experiences of my entire nonprofit career.

Before I go any further, I’d like to provide a few initial facts that will make my story shorter. (I can almost hear your applause): Continue reading “Ageism is Myopically Immature”

Jake Lawler

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