I was at an "off site" today in a meeting of the minds to try to solve our brand's problem (you know, the one that we haven't been able to advertise in nine months because we can't make an ad that people like or that makes them want to buy the product.) There were ten people in the room, including two SVPs (Senior Vice President), one EVP (Executive Vice President), on Vice President, two Directors, one Associate Director (me), two Managers, and one Consultant. The folks in this six-hour meeting probably are worth $4-5 million in salaries and bonuses a year....big bucks, big minds, and yes, big egos. (By the way, I was the only female in the room. Usually, this is not the case, but I think that it's because there were so many senior executives in the room. It's an interesting part of business life.There are no other Associate Directors who are female and only one Director who is female in my division of 200 people. I hope that the glass ceiling can be shattered soon.)
The morning started out with a lot of pointing fingers and defensiveness. It was a bit ugly. But, I think it had to all get out on the table so that we could get past it and be productive. And, five hours later, we were productive.
With free-flowing Diet Coke and water, you can bet that I had to make a few bathroom breaks during the day. After getting directions to the bathroom from one of my collegues the first time. I could only find a men's bathroom and a unisex handicapped bathroom. So, I used the handicapped bathroom. The second time, I asked an employee of the hotel and was told that there were no women's bathrooms on that floor and I should just use the handicapped bathroom. The floor of this hotel is the "executive board room" floor, where there were SIX meeting rooms for 10-20 people in each room. How old-school is the hotel (which was built three years ago) to think that they would only have men in these board rooms??
The third time I went to the bathroom, there was someone cleaning the handicapped bathroom, so I waited patiently outside. I knew that there was only one potty and one sink in there and it wouldn't take too long to clean. The woman cleaning the bathroom glanced up and saw me waiting. She said "I'm sorry, these bathrooms are for the board rooms only." I told her that I was meeting in one of the board rooms. She said, "no, I mean the executive board rooms down the hall." Yes, I told her, I'm meeting in the Amish room. "Are you sure?" she asked. I finally said, "Yes, I'm an executive from XXX company meeting in the Amish board room. May I please use the bathroom." "Oh, I'm so sorry" she replied and hustled out so I could do my business. I guess that because I'm not a fifty-year old man in a suit, I couldn't be an executive!