“We don’t talk about Bruno.”

“We don’t talk about Bruno.”

Let’s rethink NDAs.

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) have long been utilised as a legal tool to protect sensitive information, trade secrets, and proprietary knowledge. 

However, NDAs are also employed to silence victims and anyone else that has become aware of the incidents, and consequently, cover up the wrongdoing of ‘Bruno’.

‘Bruno’ may have lost his job as a result, but he is free to start elsewhere in the industry without his reputation following him. If he gets away with a warning, then given a few months or years of staff turnover, the only record of the incident will be hidden in the depths of his employee file.

The victims aren’t so lucky. Bruno’s behaviour stays with them, and in many cases has a significant and lasting impact. 

When an organisation says they have zero tolerance for certain behaviours, why then do they choose to maintain a culture of secrecy when such behaviour occurs? 

By not talking about ‘Bruno’ so we inadvertently enable a cycle of misconduct, harassment, discrimination, and other harmful actions to persist unchecked.

We may think it’s about protecting reputations, but we have priorities wrong. Rather than giving Bruno the opportunity to start afresh, we should be more concerned about the victims of Bruno’s behaviour including those who might not have come forward yet.

We should be recognising now, thanks to Grace Tame’s advocacy, that victims should be able to talk about ‘Bruno’ rather than try to repair themselves in silence.

Imagine if organisations took the bold step to say they won’t do NDAs. If findings of misconduct or other inappropriate behaviour are made, there will be an organisational-wide apology. The perpetrator, ‘Bruno’ will be named, additional victims will be encouraged to come forward, and the organisation will reinforce its position that breaches of conduct, and acts of harassment will not be tolerated.

That speaks of true ‘zero tolerance’.

Think of the impact on Bruno and other potential perpetrators. Maybe they would seriously reconsider their actions?

Think of the staff reading that email. All of a sudden, having too many drinks at a work function and then feeling up a colleague doesn’t seem as innocent. They stand to lose a lot if they don’t keep their behaviour in check.

Even if they think it’s consensual, maybe they would think twice if the other person is noticeably intoxicated, or maybe has impaired decision-making. Perhaps we’d be inclined to think let’s not act on this.

Do You Wipe The Seat?

Do You Wipe The Seat?

Speaking on behalf of most men, accidently peeing on a toilet seat happens often.

When this happens, you are faced with a decision – to clean it up or to move on and pretend it wasn’t you.

Hopefully you choose the former.

But evidence suggests that many of us choose the latter.

I would presume that when using a public toilet as opposed to one in your home, the chances increase that you will move on and pretend it wasn’t you. (I’m sure there’s a research paper in that).

Again, I point to evidence. Evidence that I’ve seen in public bathrooms.

Now what do you do when you see pee on the seat when you arrive?

Do you clean it or do your thing and leave it?

Those who make the latter choice may convince themselves that it wasn’t them so they have no responsibility to clean it up.

They count themselves lucky that it wasn’t a number 2.

Perhaps unconsciously, they thank their cis-male privilege that they don’t have to sit down to pee.

Our fellow (cis-female) humans do not have this privilege.

𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗼𝗻 𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗵 𝗮𝗺 𝗜 𝘁𝗮𝗹𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀?

Well, what do you do when you seen inequality within the system? Do you wipe the seat, or leave it for others to do it?

Any by ‘others’ I mean it will usually be a woman that has to do it, or perhaps a cleaner (let’s call them the DEI team).

You may not need the seat wiped in order for you to be ‘successful’ with what you are trying to do.

You probably notice ‘the pee’ but it doesn’t inconvenience you enough to do anything about it.

It may not have been you that put ‘the pee’ there in the first place.

But to walk past it and do nothing, only perpetuates the obstacles encountered by others, who don’t share your privilege.

It is much easier for us to do nothing, but that will only ever help people like us to ‘succeed’.

We have all left pee on the seat. Maybe it was ours. Someone else’s. A combination.

It is not someone else’s job to clean this up. And we shouldn’t only wipe the seat when it will serve us.

The reality is noone is going to call you a ‘champion of change’ for wiping the seat, but it’s the things that you do when no one else is looking that determines your level of commitment to making the system fairer for everyone.

Now, I’ve heard enough horror stories from female bathrooms to know that women can contribute to this problem as well (particularly in public bathrooms).

Speaking to the women, perhaps you have successful ‘squatted over’ the system. Well done you, but that doesn’t help the women that aren’t like you, or other genders.

Women who have succeeded in the system also have a responsibility to ‘wipe the seat’ for others, ensuring the system is fair for everyone, not just people like them.

Take a moment and look down.

Look down at the systems and processes that you’ve successfully worked through to get where you are.

There is plenty of pee to clean up.

No excuses. Wipe the seat.

“H-e-y-G-u-y-s” “Hey Everyone!”

“H-e-y-G-u-y-s” “Hey Everyone!”

I’ve been working on changing my go-to of referring to a group of people as “guys”.

It has NOT been easy.

There are, of course, plenty of people—including many people who aren’t men —who have no problem being addressed as “guys”, and have come to think that word has become entirely gender-neutral and don’t see a reason to change.

So what prompted me to change?

First, I noticed when and how I referred to groups of people as “guys”.

– a group of only men ➡️ “guys”, even sometimes “fellas”.

– a group of a majority of men ➡️ “guys”

– a group of about 25% men ➡️ “guys”

– a group with only 1 man or less than 10% men ➡️ still “guys” but I’m only now starting to notice that it maybe it’s not the best word.

– a group of only women ➡️ I’ve still referred occasionally to them as “guys” but I’m very conscious of the word coming out of my mouth. NB. I’ve never felt comfortable using the word “ladies”, even with a group of all-women.

What I noticed about the above is that even when there is a majority of non-men, this still doesn’t stop me. It’s only when there are no men or few men, that it becomes an unusual word to use.

Aren’t I therefore unknowingly confirming that groups or men or a majority of men is (or should be) the norm and that I’m only prompted to be inclusive to non-men when they far outnumber the men?

That’s not good. And it’s not helping to correct a system that favours men, it’s perpetuating it.

Side note, I was once a part of an email distribution list that included EAs, PAs and admin assistants. The emails all started with “Hi Ladies”. I wasn’t the only man on this list. It felt uncomfortable, but I never spoke up about it.

So – like everything – it’s been hard to rewire my brain. It’s the same rewiring that I’ve done with people’s correct pronouns.

It’s not easy, but it is important.

My discomfort is worth someone else’s comfort.

I’m trying and I’m still not getting it right all the time.

I’m also positive that none of my workshop groups has noticed. But that’s the whole point, we only notice when someone refers to us incorrectly.

Male privilege is not thinking twice about being referred to as a group of “guys”. But we would notice if (when) we are part of “ladies”.

Post below your thoughts and if you have been making the change.