Truckee & North Lake Tahoe's Independent Newspaper | Tahoe News | Tahoe Music | Tahoe Events

You Can Call Me Al

Reads 1146 Comments 0 Printer-friendly versionprint Send by emailemail

It wasn’t a deciding factor or anything, but one of the pros on the pro/con list for choosing my baby name was that Ally (not Allison or Alexandra, just Ally) yielded a gender neutral nickname — Al. Now, this was 1990, not the 1920s, but my parents still thought that having this option would allow me to be taken more seriously walking into a meeting, applying for a job, or standing up for something I believed in.

Oddly enough, I don’t really go by Al (but you can call me it) and I have been lucky enough to, for the most part, work at jobs where I feel equally respected with my male coworkers (see Women in Construction).

The first job I ever had, however, introduced 14-year-old me (Ally, not Al) to gender bias in the workplace. Not discrimination, but bias. The job title was launch driver, and the description said my time would be spent driving members of a yacht club to their moored sailboats in a dinghy.
Unfortunately, my job duties ended up being 50 percent scrubbing bird poop off the dock, 30 percent changing kegs and fetching liquor, 10 percent putting up and taking down what seemed like an excessive number of flags, and, finally, 10 percent actually driving the launch boat.
But I am not here to complain about the tasks associated with my job; I am here to talk about having a boss — my first boss — who didn’t quite know what to do with his new girl hire. I can’t say for certain but I think I was the first girl this crotchety, old-school yacht club bartender and grounds man had ever hired.

My first few days would be described as awkward.

“Would you mind scrubbing the dock?” he’d ask. To which I would think to myself, “Well, I would prefer not to spend my morning cleaning up poop, but this is my job, so no, I don’t mind.”

But in actuality, eager and new to the workforce, I wanted him to give me a list of daily tasks without hesitation. I was sure that’s what he had been doing with my male predecessors.

At first I was frustrated because I thought my boss was taking it too easy on me and I’m sure he wondered why the hell he hired a girl to do a man’s job. But, by the end of the summer, we developed a mutual respect for each other, and, while I did not return to the yacht club the following summer, I do know that he hired a girl again the next year.

By creating and using an account on Moonshine Ink, you are agreeing to our user terms and submissions policy. Read the complete terms and policy.

Don't Miss the Next Edition

Edition First-Round Deadline Drop-Dead Deadline
April 12 to May 9 March 23 March 30
May 10 to June 13 April 20 April 27

About News

Moonshine Ink brings you Tahoe news straight from the source. Our team of hardworking journalists uncovers North Tahoe and Truckee news stories with in-depth reporting and our authentic “for the community, by the community” spirit.

In our News section you’ll find the facts on everything from politics to the environment to local business. We’re your Tahoe newspaper, delivering stories you can trust.

Subscribe to the feed

Latest Tweets @moonshineink

  • In preparation for tonight's Democratic debate, we spoke with each candidate, asking them two questions: What solut… 1 month 3 weeks ago
  • Raley's grocery store development permit approved by the Town of Truckee Planning Commission this week. Info: 2 months 20 hours ago
  • Placer County voted Jan. 10 to support a grant application to help fund the 56-unit Schaffer’s Mill workforce housi… 2 months 1 week ago

Look for the latest Moonshine Ink issue on newsstands now.

Look for the latest issue in newsstands now.

Or subscribe and enjoy it hot off the press in your mailbox.

March 8, 2018