I don’t live in a very corporate world, in fact I live mostly in a coffee shop and my bed (#freelancerlyfe), but I like to think I’m across what is happening in the real working world.
I talk to lots of people, I’m across social media and my husband comes home from Corporate Land every evening and little bits of his day rub off on me. The thing is sometimes he asks me to step into this corporate world with him into an environment that is so very different to my everyday life I’m not quite sure I belong.
The thought of entering this world can be a little daunting, it’s easy to feel anonymous when you join a group of people who all who know each other and where your identity almost doesn’t exist.
But I was convinced that most people, even in my husband’s world, understood that we no longer live in the 1950s and that feminism had made its mark and brought, at least the idea of equality, to the man on the street.
Listen: Tracey Spicer, on why the sexist 1950s corporate culture is still embedded in Australian media today. Post continues after audio.
I was sure that in most good company my input would be valued as highly my husband’s.
That is until recently, when we went to a swanky dinner event full of people from his world of work. It was a charity fundraiser so, to some extent, you could forgive us being involved in this ostentatious show of eating a meal.
We were making a donation to charity – at least that’s what I told myself when I got a spray tan and put on high heels to go for dinner on a Sunday evening when I would far rather have been at home scrambling an egg in my pyjamas.
The dinner was attended by around 200 people which necessitated sitting at really long tables; the kind of arrangement that makes an introvert like me want to inhale happy gas just to pretend I am somewhere else. I knew three people at the table including my husband.
And it got worse.
Because it was impossible to talk to everyone at the table (I thought this was a good thing), the person hosting this bunch of strangers suggested that at set points during the evening the men stand and move two seats to the left.
Basically he was turning the table into what seemed like a game of speed dating.
I was a bit anxious about starting up conversations with strangers but I’m 49 years old and a competent and knowledgeable woman, current affairs are my thing and I actually like listening to people and hearing about their lives – I could do this talking thing.