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Nurses, Models, Actresses, Lawyers and Jobs That Require You to Tolerate Harassment

When Julia came to me, she was one of the many women I’ve talked to who was working as a nurse in a long-term elder care facility. Her supervisors had explained to her that they were really good at tolerating touching and inappropriate comments from patients, and they could teach her to tolerate it better. Julia was not interested in tolerating sexual harassment, and so she left her job.

Still, when Julia explained to me what happened, she blamed herself – as a nurse, maybe she was supposed to tolerate sexual harassment. Maybe that was just what the job required.

Unfortunately, that type of thinking is common in many professions. In the law, we justify harassment saying that lawyers have a harsh sense of humor and that we’re all jerks. In finance, there is often an attitude that people “just do what they have to” to work their way up. In construction, women have to “prove they can take it.”

When we buy into this thinking, women often leave jobs we are good at, losing money because we think our only other choice is to tolerate the harassment.