Posts Tagged ‘chip on shoulder’

Death by tutu

January 8, 2010

“It’s a very masculine world.” People say this to me when they learn that I’m gay and I work in an investment bank. There are a number of ways to be insulted by this:

  1. I may be gay but I’m still a man, I don’t flounce into work in floral prints and tutus (except, of course, on casual day when the tutu is virtually a uniform);
  2. last time I checked, the rest of the world was not a Utopia of mutual respect and gay rights, so I don’t think investment banking is any better or worse than most industries;
  3. since when did you base your opinion of a particularly industry on what you saw on television;
  4. masculine does not mean intolerent.

We have a gay network. It remains a gay network despite my determined attempts to turn it into a mafia, awarding promotions and favours to its most deserving members (i.e. me). This plan is hindered by a few pertinent facts:

  • None of the network/mafia are very important, so their ability to award favours – outside of a charming interior design advice – is very limited;
  • We are the worst gay stereotype and enormously bitchy (I can’t see any gay mafia lasting longer than a few days before an internal battle breaks out, marked by a vicious wave of assassinations, car-bombings and double-crossings, sparked by a suspected sleight over shoes);
  • The firm generally disapproves of a network called a mafia.

The chip-on-shoulder attitude of my fellow network members would be more understandable if they went through some genuine hardship. It’s not that the bank is remarkable forward looking – although it does seem to take the whole “people are our most important asset” thing a lot more seriously than it needs to – it’s just it doesn’t care. Or it does care: about the money.

I find it amazing to think of anyone as saying “don’t give that work to Ninja, he’s a shirt-lifter” because it’s missing the point: where’s the money? We all know how much banks care for money.

And that’s how I thought it was everywhere, except on a recent event run by a financial company (a consultancy) about general gayness (that was not the title, I hasten to add) they were remarkable frank about the whole “he’s a shirt-lifter so let’s not promote him” issue. These things make me angry, not because I’m a fierce defender of equality or my cause (is it really my cause?) but because there’s few things more annoying than genuine stupidity when it slaps you in the face.

“I was thinking about this project to maximise our revenue. Who do you think should run it?”
“It’s a tough call Mr Senior Director, but I have a suggestion.”
“Yes?”
“I was thinking of lowering our revenue, damaging our brand and product, putting the project at risk and making our management practices look questionable to our investors and clients.”
“You’re really selling it Mr Similarly Senior Director, what do we have to do?”
“Well the current plan is to give the project to Smith.”
“The one who wears the tutu?”
“That’s him. He’s a safe pair of hands, really knows his stuff and will deliver the project on time, under-budget and will maximise our bang-for-buck.”
“What do you suggest?”
“I was thinking of giving it to Jones.”
“Ah yes, the idiot responsible for Project Secret.”
“Yes, that’s the chap. You see, Smith is a shirt-lifter and I thought I’d let my own prejudices lead to spiralling costs and lack of delivery.”
“Good call, Mr Similarly Senior Director, let’s do it! We can’t have poofs maximising our profits.”
“I agree Mr Senior Director.” [Pause] “Was that a double entendre?”
“No.”
“Still disgusting though.”

The gay mafia do not agree (which is hardly surprising, as cordial agreement is not something which characterises our views). Perhaps it’s not the same in all organisations, or even in all parts of this organisation, but however hard-earned that chip-on-the-shoulder and Princess Diana eyeliner, they do not advance the cause. But then you can’t trust them with any work: they’re all a bunch of poofs.

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