From C, Associate Mechanical Engineer:
At my job we have many hazardous operations (typically crane lifts of heavy equipment or hardware). The engineers lead the operation and technicians do the tasks and Quality Assurance (QA) observes and verifies we performed the steps correctly. The engineer has to give a safety briefing at the start of the hazardous operation.
Before this operation (first job out of college), I hadn’t been the lead on any ops yet – so I hadn’t performed a safety briefing, although I had listened to lots. For the unexperienced – you lay out the steps of the operation, state the jobs everyone has, and safety risks involved. So I go through the safety briefing, and it covers all of the required topics and at the end I asked if I missed anything. The QA perks up and sarcastically (my hair was almost a bird’s nest that day) says ‘And your hair looks lovely today’.
Flustered, I move on with the procedure and don’t process it until later, when I realize how annoyed I was and why it had annoyed me. I haven’t talked to the QA who said this yet (he went on vacation for the holidays before I got the chance to address it – but will soon). But I did talk with my male boss about it. My boss was awesome and supportive and encouraged me to talk with the QA about it and totally understood why it was inappropriate and distracting, and completely supported my feelings of disrespect. And that was pretty awesome.