A Man Signed His Work Emails With A Female Name For 2 Weeks And His Life Sucked
Man confirms sexism exists, women everywhere say ‘No Sh*t’
If you think workplace sexism doesn’t exist, allow this man’s story to change your mind. Since we only listen to men about this stuff anyway, it’s a good thing he’s telling it.
Nicole Hallberg and her co-worker/friend Martin R. Schneider had an email mixup a few weeks ago: Martin’s email signature was somehow set to Nicole’s name. He noticed a client was treating him in a way he wasn’t accustomed to being treated: like shit. Nicole and Martin decided to switch signatures for a couple weeks as an experiment; to see how their professional lives would change.
Nicole wrote a post about the experience on Medium. “We switched signatures for a week. Nothing changed, except that our clients read me as male and Marty as female. I had one of the easiest weeks of my professional life. He… didn’t.” Essentially, Marty was abused by clients who usually treated him with respect. Nicole’s week was a breeze. Marty took to Twitter to explain exactly what happened.
It went viral, because of course it did. When a man co-signs that sexism exists, it makes news. When a women does it, it’s just another Monday.
“So here’s a little story of the time
@nickyknacks taught me how impossible it is for professional women to get the respect they deserve,” the story begins.
“So one day I’m emailing a client back-and-forth about his resume and he is just being IMPOSSIBLE. Rude, dismissive, ignoring my questions,” Martin writes. “Telling me his methods were the industry standards (they weren’t) and I couldn’t understand the terms he used (I could)… Anyway I was getting sick of his shit when I noticed something. Thanks to our shared inbox, I’d been signing all communications as ‘Nicole.'”
“It was Nicole he was being rude to, not me,” he explains. “So out of curiosity I said ‘Hey this is Martin, I’m taking over this project for Nicole.’ IMMEDIATE IMPROVEMENT. Positive reception, thanking me for suggestions, responds promptly, saying ‘great questions!’ Became a model client.”
“Note: My technique and advice never changed. The only difference was that I had a man’s name now,” Martin clarifies. That’s when they decided on the “experiment.” He writes,”For two weeks we switched names. I signed all client emails as Nicole. She signed as me.
Folks. It fucking sucked.”
Martin describes the week as “hell.” He was constantly second guessed, clients were condescending, and one even asked if he was single. As for Nicole? “Nicole had the most productive week of her career. I realized the reason she took longer is bc she had to convince clients to respect her.”
It’s frustrating as hell that it takes a man to point this out to make it a story. Let’s be clear, this isn’t Martin’s fault. Martin is what we call an “ally.” He’s not experiencing the injustice himself, but he’s calling it out. Allies are vital for any movement.
But wouldn’t it be great if we could say, “Hey, I’m an experienced, qualified, loyal worker — and you’re treating me like shit” and be taken as seriously as the man who just said it?
“We take this shit over and over and over again out of fear of the men in power, and it helps perpetuate it,” Nicole told The Huffington Post. “I’ll always be understanding of a woman who doesn’t want to or can’t afford to stick her neck out.”
You can read the whole viral Twitter thread below.
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