Door SignTwo things happened recently that relate to how my business partner is treated and reveals a subtle form of discrimination.  In the first, our landlord tried repeatedly to contact me because they lost the monthly lease payment check.  In the second, I offered my partner’s mentoring because I was going to be out of town.

I am officially the executive agent of our company meaning that the State of Washington recognizes me as the person of record that represents the company.  In reality, my business partner and I are interchangeable – both can write checks, sign contracts or deal with whoever needs to be dealt with.  We use this arrangement based on my experience that there should always be someone who can act for the organization – a lesson that was driven home to me when my younger son was born.  That’s a story for another time.

So, my wife and I took a week to get away into the wilds of British Columbia – my wife likes to get me away from everything and have some quiet time to ourselves.  I like these getaways because it gives me time to ponder what I’m doing and examine my priorities – more on that in a later post.  This getaway was a spur-of-the-moment thing, so we notified only the few people who really needed to know.

The week away came at the first of the month when the lease payment is due – I left that for Meredith to deal with which she did.  But our landlords have a chaotic office and they have lost our hand-delivered checks before – and they did again.  So, they called me, repeatedly and left voicemails.  I didn’t/couldn’t respond because I was in Canada with my cell phone turned off avoiding international roaming charges and I wasn’t at home to receive calls there.  It wasn’t until Meredith returned to the office a few days later that she was approached to resolve the situation which she did promptly.

The thing is that Meredith’s phone number is on our office door as well as mine!  Why didn’t the landlord call her?

Now our landlords are nice people – courtesies are always exchanged when we meet – but as one woodturning demonstrator put it, they’re “male, pale and stale.”  They have blind spots and one of them is thinking that young women can actually be a responsible person.

So, what’s the solution?

To be continued in the next post

A physicist by trade, author by choice, a born teacher, a retired veteran, and an adamant problem solver, Frank has helped the White House, federal agencies, military offices, historical museums, manufacturers, and over 250 technology startups get stuff done, communicate effectively, and find practical solutions that work for them. In his spare time, he makes sawdust and watches Godzilla movies.