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Chicks in tech May 31, 2007

Posted by andrea in thinky thinky.

Disclaimer: events, descriptions and ideas referred to herein are not meant to be a diatribe against the great men I work with…mostly. 😉 It’s not about you, it’s about our work-culture. Oh, and don’t dismiss it as over-sensitivity (or the ever-unspoken female cycle) either. That really gets me.

1999, dot-com boom. I joined a project team, and went into the meeting room for the first time. The client (young guy, mid-20’s) gasps and says “this is the first time we’ve had a lady on the team!”. Me: utterly gob-smacked, blush, don’t know what to say. No one says anything. I start my presentation, pitching my voice as low as possible.

2002, KPWGMED, major project in Boston. Technical architect (early 30’s, male) and I have been having discussions about an aspect of our project, quite technical in nature. I offer a suggestion on what we could maybe do, and he turns on me, yelling and pointing his finger “you will not ever talk to me like that! I make the rules! Shut up!” (literally seared into my memory). Again, I have no idea what to say.

Two of many examples where I personally feel really dumb for even trying to bang on the door of the boys’ treehouse club. I know I’m not alone. Every woman I talk to in this, or a related, field has their own “oh wait you gotta hear this!” story. Times being referred to as ‘the girl’, stuff like that.

It’s enough to drive you to a margarita and a manicure. 😉

There’s enough of us out there, now. I’m encouraged by things like Toronto Girl Geek Dinners, and by all the awesome women I know, all who are bringing something to the table.

The proverbial glass ceiling. We’re supposed to believe it doesn’t exist still, but it does. And I don’t put any blame on “who” is responsible for it – it’s just the way it’s always been.

Money: hard to ask for it, or even to believe we expect it, or a raise, or a promotion. It’s like being the tall-poppy…”who do you think you are?”. When I was much more used to “please sir, can I have some more?” My fear was always that if I asked for a raise, then not only would I not get it, but they’d take away what they were already paying me. Crazy.

Pride and Confidence (no, not Jane Austen 2.0): which for me, has been so closely related to bragging. And no one likes a braggart. But tons of braggarts fill the corner offices all over Toronto.

An interesting discussion from dinner with friends last night, where we talked about the “good guy” phenomenon. How you can work your ass off, and produce really really good work; while the slack guy (you know, the one at the pub) gets promoted ’cause he’s, well, a “good guy”. In this case, it’s not so much squeaky wheel gets the grease, it’s greasy wheel makes the machine go faster, I guess.

I apologize (no I don’t) – this post has no real point, no beginning, end, or major arguments to make. Just meandering thoughts…kind of like today, when I wondered how club DJs get gigs. Do they do resumes, reels, bring in sales figures (door take, number of patrons, for example), rely on a network? A lot of DJs are guys, too. What does a female DJ do, if success is based on a network, and not results?



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