This is another in a series of posts about a character I am developing for my novel-in-progress, Power of Boston. See the category with that title for more posts (and more questions) about the characters in that novel.
There are probably a dozen or so people in my history to whom I would assign the label “boss”. Of these individuals, perhaps the best manager I have known is a woman named Donna. Despite her obvious ability to manage projects and personnel, Donna was often burdened with the additional responsibility of planning our company social events.
It’s possible that this is simply a case of people who get things done being asked to do more, but my gut tells me that the real reason she was assigned this role was her gender. I never asked her how she felt about this, but I think the job was beneath her, and I think it was insulting.
When I think of Serafina, and the way she feels about the men with whom she works every day, I cannot help but think of Donna. Serafina began her career in personal and plant security, and did her job well. Somehow, she eventually found herself the job of personal bodyguard to Julian Nebo, the eight-year-old son of company president and owner Vance Nebo.
I’m sure that the elder Nebo is convinced that this decision was the right one for all the right reasons — Serafina is careful and focused, and well able to keep Julian safe. Some of her coworkers, however, would have seen her as nothing more than a glorified nanny, and that had to be insulting to her.
Twelve years later, Serafina is 34, and Julian has grown from a wild and irresponsible boy into a wild and irresponsible young man. She was promoted years ago to manager of personnel security, but somehow she finds herself pulled back into situations where her team can’t cope with him, and she ends up having to “babysit” him.
The question I have oustanding is whether or not it’s plausible for Serafina to continue to respect Vance Nebo because of his authority, even while thinking of his son as an irresponsible child. I also wonder how that would color her relationships with other coworkers, both within her department, and with her peer managers in other departments.
Ladies, here is your chance. Unwrap for me those times when you or your friends hit your heads on the glass ceiling. How did that effect your other work relationships? Is it just men who bear the stigma for disrespecting a woman like this, or do women do it to each other as well?