Dear One Tough Muther,

I am between a rock and a hard place with my job.
I work in an predominantly male industry and over the last 6 years worked my way up from an administrative assistant to the top sales person. Yes, I currently have the 2 biggest accounts in the company which I, cold called and landed.
My dilemma, I get a third of the commission the guys get.
I was “started” in sales at a lower rate until I “proved” myself. That was 3 years ago and I’m still there. I have had numerous conversations with my supervisor about this asked him to speak to the owner to get me equal pay or to get me an appointment with the owner and nothing has transpired.
In the beginning, when I first bought in the accounts. I was told to hold off, on asking for more money until I proved my ability to manage such large accounts, however now he just tells me, now is not the time to discuss this.
Then to add insult to injury, I found out that the guys hosted a very large, all expenses paid, fabulously catered golf outing at a prestigious golf club for their top accounts and I was never informed about it or asked to invite my accounts. Again remember, my accounts are the largest accounts our company has. I am so damn mad.
The dilemma is I have 3 small children and I’m allowed to work from home most days. Working from home is a plus, but very difficult with three small children. Unlike the guys, I have no administrative assistant who does all the paper work and follow up and I must spend hours imputing the account data and producing everything I need for meetings, myself.
I must also have constant contact with my accounts to make sure everything runs like a clock and their needs are met.
And I do it all for a third of the commission.
Hey, I need my job, my husband is a union tradesman and gets layed off from time to time and working from home saves on daycare but I deserve to be treated equally as well. The guys take long client lunches that sometimes last all day. They brag about their drinking and dining endeavors. Then when they get back to the office they throw the paperwork on an admin’s desk and leave.
I love what I do and my clients but NOT this company. I definitely need the flexibility, but not the flack.
I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place please help.


Dear Stuck,

I hear and feel you loud and clear! I have spent almost the last 20 years in a predominantly male industry, loaded with testosterone and ego. I come from the sports industry and I am proud to report that the “good old boys club” is still a live and well. In fact, a few months ago a colleague thought nothing of explaining to our group while we ate lunch, in detail  his recent road trip and extra-curricular events. He respectfully finished his communication by looking at me and saying, “well you know, boys will be boys.”

Unfortunately “Stuck”, you may be just that, “STUCK”, if you aren’t willing or able to make a change. From what I read, you love the work, the flexibility of the job and need the money BUT the  “clerical” work load, secret private events and unequal pay, is just to unfair to overlook. I was of course going to suggest that you to request a direct meeting with the owner, however that too sounds like a long shot as far as coming to a resolution.

As women we’ve come all long way Baby, just not long enough.

At this point, if it were me I would exhaust all my resources. I would definitely request a meeting with the owner and document everything that is discussed. During our meeting, I’d address the owner in a clear, unemotional and professional manner. I’d remind him that the biggest accounts in the company were pursued and closed by me and I single-handedly service those accounts as well. I’d make sure the owner understands that I have every intention of continuing to provide excellent customer service for these valued accounts because that is the level of work I produce.  Then I’d explain that I have every intention of continuing to perform the clerical duties that these accounts require due to their spend level and value to the company. Finally I’d calmly look him straight in the eye and clearly and concisely announce that I have now “proven” myself and request that he compensates me at the same level of compensation that the other sales executives are receiving. Fair is Fair.

And I’ll  be honest, if by any chance the owner were to balk and toss me some excuse as to why he can’t compensate me equally and fairly, I would have to think long and hard about this job. A job with no opportunity for advancement and a sexes owner who treats female employees unfairly is not a place I’d be happy working. Remember Stuck, you spend the biggest part of your awake hours on the job so being treated unfairly will eventually get to you.

Stuck,  please weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision you can. Because doing the RIGHT thing, is not always the EASIEST thing to do.

Huge Muther Hugs,

One Tough Muther




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