By Kit Goldman, President of Workplace Training Network, Inc.
Jackie: Supervisor at a fictional company
Rich: the sole male employee in her group
SCENE: Jackie’s office. She’s at her desk. Rich comes to her door.
J: Come on in, sweetie…
R: (enters, carrying file) Great. Glad you have some time.
J: I don’t. But we’ll do what we can. What’s up?
R: Two things: First: the quarterly sales report. I’ve got the draft for you to review and revise.
J: OK. What else?
R: I wondered if you’d decided about the team lead position. (she rubs her neck, winces) Are you OK?
J: It’s awful being a young spirit in an old body. Nasty crick in my neck. It’s killing me. Want to come over here and take a whack at it?
R: (Uncomfortable) Sure. (Goes behind her, rubs) How’s that?
J: Magic. You’ve got great hands. Thanks dear. That’s fine for now. (He sits) Any more and I’ll have to sneak into the lactation center for a snooze!
R: So, I was wondering if you’d made a decision about who’s going to be team lead…
J: Right. Coffee? Fresh pot.
R: Sounds great. I was up for most of the night.
J: Lucky ol’ you.
R: Sorry? (embarrassed when he gets innuendo ) I didn’t mean….I….(Indicates coffee pot) Should I just….?
J: Well, yes. The butler seems to have stepped out. (Gets coffee, starts to sit) Score some points with your boss and pour me a cup.
R: Sure. Of course. (returns to coffee. She opens aspirin bottle). Still hurting?
J: 5 aspirins and a gallon of coffee, I’ll be fine.
R: (gives her coffee) Hard night last night?
J: It was Morris’ and my 20th anniversary. Have you met Morris, my husband? If not, you will. After 2 decades, you think you know someone, right? Wrong. Morris is a classic geek. Even his fantasies are binary. Good thing I married him for his mind or these would have been 2 dismal, depressing decades.
R: (clearly uncomfortable) Happy anniversary. Anyway, regarding the team lead assignment…..
J: I don’t know what happened last night, Rich. My husband turned into an animal. Wowie.
You’re blushing. How sweet!
R: I’ve always been that way. Everyone can tell when I’m embarrassed
J: Embarrassed? By what? We’ve been married 20 years, for God’s sake. That’s what’s so amazing. He took me totally by surprise. (shows him book) His anniversary present to me. The Kama Sutra. He turns it here to page 8 (shows him) says “this is his specialty”. 20 years — I never knew he had a specialty! Thank the Lord for my yoga!
R: I know a good chiropractor…
J: Excellent. (laughs) See, you shouldn’t have asked about my night. (laughs) It must have been 3 in the morning, Morris is lounging in the bedroom doorway, not a thing on but his Rolex, his glass eye and his medic alert necklace – hairier than Bigfoot, everywhere but his head. He’s balding, right? You’ve had the good grace to shave your head. Morris has the classic sprayed down comb-over. Could impale someone in a stiff wind. Why do you men think that hides the fact you’re balding?
R: I don’t. Obviously.
J: Males and their plumage. And then there’s you. But then, you have a nicely shaped head.
R: Thank you. You know, Jackie, being a man around here’s a….pretty humbling experience.
J: Really? Well good. Men need humbling. It builds compassion.
R: I think I’m already pretty compassionate. That’s why I think I’d do so well as Team Lead. But, I have this feeling that…to be honest…. around here, month old road kill would get more respect and have more chance for advancement than a man.
J: What are you talking about? Everyone adores you! You can’t help being a man. Nobody blames you. Sorry if I embarrassed you. But in my (mumbles) years on the planet, I’ve met very few men who don’t get a kick out of women talking a little dirty, except for priests maybe. Or if you know how to sing “Over the Rainbow”, if you get my drift.
R: Are you asking if I’m gay?
J: No. I’m not allowed to anymore. But if you want to tell me, feel free.
R: I’m not gay. Would it make a difference if I was?
J: It might explain this super sensitivity.
R: Super sensitive? Jackie, I’ve been super tolerant. If I have to hear one more time what morons men are, how “good looking straight man” is an oxymoron”, which pantyhose to use which with whatever, I’m going to lose It! It would be different if I was getting somewhere. But I feel like I’m going nowhere! I’ve been passed over for Team Lead twice and for 4 project leader assignments. Everyone who got them was female. Face it, Jackie. Men are an inferior species around here. Maybe I should think about….
J: (interrupts) …Rich, be reasonable. Of course if you didn’t get it, it went to a woman. You’re the only man! Gender’s a non-issue for me. Each assignment has special needs. Your particular long suits, and there are many, weren’t a good match for anything yet. Hang in there. I honestly think something will develop that’s right for you in the next few quarters. You know, I think there’s something else going on here. Something we tend to overlook. Men have cycles too. We shouldn’t trivialize that. I only say that because you remind me of me when my hormones are raging.
R: I can’t believe you said that. People around here say and do the exact same things they say they hate men for.
J: Spare me the bleeding heart, Rich. Men have dished it out for millions of years. It’s our turn now. You guys will just have to stretch your pain threshold, learn to take it. No wonder it’s women who give birth. Rich, in the interests of time, let me give you the same advice my manager gave me in a similar situation back in pre-historic times when I started with this company. Suck it up.
R: I appreciate the advice. Right now I feel I should probably go to Human Resources, ask about a transfer……
J: (rises)…. Whoa. Slow down. What are you talking about “going to H.R.”? What do you think that will accomplish? That just gets everything in an uproar, make things a lot worse. We solve things internally in this group. When you requested the transfer into this department, I was very candid about the culture of this group. Remember?
R: Yes, that’s true.
J: You knew what you were getting in to. You assured me it wasn’t a problem, that you could go with the flow. I made it very clear how important the relaxed atmosphere was to our productivity.
R: Yes. I remember. And you’re right, it’s not fair for me to come into a situation, then ask for changes. That’s why I thought a transfer…..
J: Your requesting a transfer could prove embarrassing. HR will then be breathing down my neck. It’s going to put me in a bad light. Remember, Rich, I went to bat for you when everyone was dead set against bringing a man in here. Excuse me for just a minute. (interacts with audience about key issues, She starts to return to scene, stops, turns again to audience) I’m sorry, I know I’m supposed to be PC, but I’m a bottom line person. Always have been. That’s why I’ve succeeded here for 30 years. (to him) Rich, this is a reality check. You’ll want to listen to what I’m about to say. I want you here. I’ve got a lot invested in you. Now you’re questioning my leadership….
R: No, that’s not my intention at all, Jackie. I just…..
J: …I helped start this company. I’ve dedicated my life to making it one of the most respected, profitable companies in the industry. See those awards? True, I didn’t get them being Miss Congeniality, but I’m evenhanded and fair. You don’t want to take me on. Capiche? OK. Lecture over. (sits, turns back to him) I need to chill for a few minutes, let these aspirin kick in.
R: (rises) Fine. Now I have some advice for you, too. Remember what happened to the dinosaurs.
J: What the hell does that mean?
R: The dinosaurs. Think about it. They got too big, too arrogant….. and they perished.
J: (in his face) My, that’s deep. Thanks for sharing. Also wrong. They came back, remember? In Jurassic Park? And ate up all the people. (laughs) Rich, look, timing is everything. Yours couldn’t have been worse, I came in euphoric from last night and you broke the spell. Tell you what. Let’s go to a nice expensive lunch. My treat. We’ll talk it over, get things worked out like we always do.
R: Excuse me a moment (interacts with audience about what to do) Ok, I’ll go to lunch. But I want us to have an agenda, because we really need to….
J: (interrupts) Downstairs at 12:30. And Rich — on your way out — close the door. And lock it. (He stares at her a moment, exits)
This script is the copyrighted intellectual property of Workplace Training Network and may not be used for any purpose without the express permission of WTN, La Mesa CA