My cynicism is showing… and it’s a good thing (I think)

Woman's face with lines of code in front
It’s fine. I’ll just deal with it.

I came across an article today about The Real Reason Women Quit Tech (and How to Address It). A quick scan of the article, which is thoughtfully constructed so you can visually pull out the salient points, reconfirms what I’ve been thinking, as a woman working in high tech since 1992. It’s been a long 24 years. And truth be told, if I could earn the $$$ I do in tech, by doing something else, I’d leave in a heartbeat.

It’s been an educational experience, but it’s wearing thin with me, day after interminable day, month after endless month, year after tiresome year. Seriously, dealing with the institutionalized sexism, racism, and all those pointless -isms that are a pox on our society… it just gets old.

All the “diversity hiring” gets old.

All the “great place to work” surveys get old.

All the talk about “better together” gets old.

Because not much of it seems to translate into anything more than official statements in shareholder reports, as well as rankings in global conglomerate HR reputation horseraces.

At the level I work at — and where the vast majority of the -ism-ish bullshit takes place — none of that ever translates into anything substantial or meaningful.

Because nobody at my level has any impetus for change. All the guys I work with are struggling to make ends meet, and they need every advantage they can get. Changing how they are, how they talk, how they interact with people Not Like Them could mean losing their advantage. And in this cold, cruel world, nobody — but nobody — is going to forfeit what slim margin of advantage they may have.

So, on that note, off I go to work. To my racist, sexist, classist, myopic, self-centered buddies who either have no idea how their behavior affects others, or don’t really care. I’ve been dealing with their devils, making friends with their monsters, lo these past 24 years, so nothing’s any different from how it’s been all along.

The main difference is that I’m sick of it. Well and truly over it. And it’s good to know that I haven’t at least lost touch with my standards. And that I’m still able to be sick of it, rather than succumbing to a variation of Stockholm syndrome and convincing myself that I love it … and all the flaming jerks (lovable as they may be) who make each day working with them into a tiresome chore.

I might look the part of a long-suffering comrade-in, but inside, I know better.

For today, it’s best to overlook that fact of my cynical disenfranchisement, and just get on with it.

Like I always do.

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8 thoughts on “My cynicism is showing… and it’s a good thing (I think)

  1. This is not only the situation in tech it is all pervading…………….all these catch cry are just the latest feel good ” flavour of the month” . Somehow these hollow words are mistaken for conscious effort and action but all they do is allay feelings of ‘ guilt’ ( if it is at all felt by perpetrators of all the isms) or con the victims into the belief that ‘ society cares”.

    It is like Autism day/month, International women’s/workers day, and other such days….. however ‘ mother’s day and father’s day are recognised in a semi official way due to the commercial trappings.

    Will the same happen to concepts like ” Inclusion”?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. VisualVox

        That’s very true. The sad part is, finding those folks can be so difficult, because they’re often “underground” and outnumbered by all the others.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. The tech world has mostly been a cesspool when it comes to sexism for as long as I’ve been around. I’ve always wondered how women endure it. I haven’t seen much evidence that it’s changed a lot either. I’ve watched it from my relatively better little corner in a government agency where pay and bonuses are set by law and regulation, there have always been more women than in a lot of other organizations, and generally in lead or high profile positions about as much as men have been. (In my little corner of the very large IT organization, not in the organization as a whole.)

    The male voice part, though, isn’t IT specific. Before I worked in IT, I remember working basically as a computer operator in a unit that did basic processing and where everyone else (employees and managers) other than me were women. I was in my low 20s one day and we were having one of those process oriented all hands brainstorming meetings on how to improve things. A lead in the unit made a suggestion that was essentially ignored, but it caught my attention. I mulled it over and it seemed like a really good idea. So I spoke up and said something like, “I want to go back to the idea about [whatever it was]” and basically restated what she had said. Suddenly everyone started talking about it and the idea became the focus of the discussion and crediting me with it. I even tried to say something like, “Thanks, but it was Mary’s suggestion.” But it was like nobody could hear me.

    Obviously, that’s stuck in my mind ever since. Any time since then that I’ve tried to amplify or support a suggestion or idea raised by a woman, I’ve tried to start by attributing it to her, then saying whatever it was I had to say. Not sure how successful I’ve been, but I have at least made a conscious effort, which is more than most men seem to do.

    I can understand, though, why so many leave for other fields. And from what I’ve heard and read, some IT workplaces are absolutely horrid.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. VisualVox

      Wow, that’s great about signal-boosting the women around you. That’s rare. I’ve had so many experiences where the same was done – but I never got attribution for my idea from the guys who picked up on it. I keep coming up with ideas and putting them out there, and the guys keep picking up on them and running with them. Sometimes I get credit, sometimes I don’t. Basically, I just treat the whole thing like it’s a paycheck and don’t sink a lot of love into it. I show up, do my job, and then devote my best energy to things that are mine and won’t get taken from me. It works for me. But the organization I work for is missing out in a big way, because I could be doing so much more for them. But why? There’s very little incentive, other than the money, which is better than I’d find in other sectors. I get to go home to my house and grow my savings back from the nothing it became after 10 years of medical issues. So, that’s something. It’s not forever. It’s just a shame that it’s such a slog, some days.

      Thanks for writing – and thanks for doing your part! I really appreciate that.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Yes! Women are also guilty of giving ideas voiced by a male credence even when a woman originally suggested the same only minutes or days to the same ” brainstorming grip”.

      Insidious isn’t it? The results of continual low and high level ” brainwashing ” .

      Liked by 2 people

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