October 1, 2006

I wanna know!

Generally, this is a Mommy-Blog..... I say generally because sometimes family/work/life issues manage to slip in. In many cases, being a mother touches these issues too -- but it's just not really the focus of this space or why I began blogging to begin with.

That being said, today's post is strictly work-related..... I don't think there's anything mommy-centric here.

I work for a big, well-respected, Fortune 500 Company -- I have I guess what could be called an upper-middle management job. When I attend meetings, I'm often the lowest man on the totem pole, but that's okay because the room is full of the "big-cheeses"..... I'm kinda satisfied that they remember my name from week to week and if I can chime in with something intelligent from time to time -- well, then all the better.

I represent my division on a huge enterprise-wide project -- and on the project I have a colleague that I'll call "Chris" for the purposes of this post. Chris is extremely well thought of -- capable, adds value to every meeting. From what I hear through the grapevine, Chris holds several masters & advanced degrees from very prestigious schools...... yeah, there's a couple of Ivy League names on the old resume.

Here's my dilemma -- I have no idea if Chris is a man or a woman.

Could be a man trying to be a woman..... could be a woman who was just cursed with very man-like attributes.... could be a woman who used to be a man...... I just can't tell. Clearly Chris' current intent is to be a woman..... Chris wears womanly patterns/colors on a very man like build..... something north of 6 feet with broad shoulders, big feet and a deep voice. Ever wonder where these people manage to find women's clothes in men's sizes?

In the grand scheme of things, I suppose it doesn't matter -- Chris is very generous to me on this particular project -- has been helpful and supportive whenever I need him/her to be..... but I find the whole ambiguity somewhat distracting. I worry about saying something insensitive..... I mean, I'm sitting there with my big old pregnant belly and wondering what goes through Chris' head when I walk in the room....

This is not something you can ask around about? I mean -- this is a big company...... HR eats this shit for breakfast..... and even if I could, how could I do it tactfully -- "Hey Mindy, is Chris a really a dude?"

I did broach the topic with one colleague -- I work with him a lot..... I knew if I was vague, he'd know what I meant and be vague right back -- so I asked him

Mrs Big Dubya: Hey Tom, Ever work with Chris?
Tom: Not directly, but..... I know who you mean
Mrs Big Dubya: Oh, I was just wondering what the background was -- seems really accomplished
Tom: Yeah, lots of qualifications -- but I don't know what Chris' story is either.... sorry.

I never realized how attached to the label "man" or "woman" that I am...... I mean, Chris is doing a terrific job -- is more than qualified.....

Why am I so damn curious?


Sue said...

Darn that pesky HR dept! I wish I could help you out, but my solution (wildly inappropriate comments) would end up with me in HR also.

Sue said...

I did have another thought - see if you can find out which restroom Chris uses!

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