Travails of tech & tits: the good ones are out there

A recentlyish-previous tech job hired me for a management position because, as they told me, their computerized test labeled me as "100% assertive". 

I giggled, even though I had serious reservations about a company that uses computerized tests to get to know people; but on balance I thought, "Ok so, yay, a place that wants me to have ideas and be proactive about doing my job well!" 

This is what "making it" as a woman in tech looks like, my brain said, smugly.  A good salary, recognition of your skills, consideration of your ideas.  Being treated as a smart and experienced professional, not just a mouthpiece or cogwheel.

Wellll, it turns out that the reason that company wanted an "assertive" manager is so that it could be my job to yell at the engineers, and to force/manipulate them into working long hours and making technical tradeoffs they knew were stupid, in order to appease aggressive, arbitrary (or sometimes outright predatory) top-down policies.

I wasn't just disappointed when I quit that job, only a few weeks after I got it, rather than threaten to fire techs if they refused to work unpaid weekend overtime, as my boss informed me I should do; I was outraged.  …I didn't even say no; I just gave my notice.  I'm not only not doing that; I'm not working for anybody who'd ask me to.  And I was partly outraged with my vagina. 

(I just got tired of typing "as a woman".  ;)) 

Here's why:   they didn't give me a chance at that job because they thought I'd be good at management (which I am, thankyouverymuch), but rather because they thought I'd make a good scary puppet with which to deliver shitty mandates to their employees.  I honestly felt more insulted by that, by my "assertiveness" being recognized and twisted, than I was by jobs as waitress etc. where I was literally expected to just be nice all the time no matter what.  It was cruel-feeling to have "made it" professionally, to have won a job on what felt like a level playing-field, and then to be put in a position where my job was literally to be an object of hatred to the people I was supposedly advocating for.  (Yes, as a manager, I advocate for my team.  If you don't, you suck at business, because the people doing the actual work are pretty freaking critical to the process of getting it done well*, duh.)

Well, it's been a few jobs, and I'll be damned, but I finally got one that does what I thought the last one was going to do.  (I've been there six months now.)

This one didn't use a computerized test.  …Because that's ridiculous, bringing someone in to get to know them and then sitting them alone in a room to talk for two hours to a proprietary program you bought from some salesguy, instead of talking to them yourselves.  Future generations are gonna laugh at us for that one, seriously.

And this one values the hell out of my opinion, and appreciates the shit out of my advocating for the engineering team.  As in, I've been told those things in words, multiple times, since I started. 

It's great — but it's also an unexpected boatoad of pressure!  Turns out my personal boundary for "doing a great job at this" has, like, rarely been tested, because I've spent almost my entire professional career fighting outward impediments to having and enacting good ideas.  There's a huge amount of stuff I haven't learned yet, that I probably would have chewed through long ago, if I wasn't busy fighting my managers and my coworkers to just stop treating me like Resident Tits and let me do my job. 

I am, to put it mildly, daunted.

I have every opportunity here to educate myself:  My company (I'm proud to call it that) will pay a generous stipend towards any relevant education I pursue, including paid time off and travel for conferences and the like.  They're openly thrilled when I mention a thing I'm working to learn.  For my one-year anniversary, they're talking about getting me an underling of my own, which will give me, hopefully, time to pursue these things, because given the breadth and depth of my responsibilities, I'm already pretty strapped!

Oh, AND.  That shit job I quit after a couple weeks?  I almost got fired once before that happened, and here's why:  I had open engineering positions to fill, on a team that was 100% composed of white males, and I refused to consider the resumes I was given by the recruiters (the same ones that used computerized tests…) until they were more than 25% female.  At this job, I'm the one who reads our wonderfully aggressive code-of-conduct at every customer kickoff, and springs (not alone, but by agreement first, because the white male leadership doesn't want to stand in the spotlight for it, because they're awesome) the uncomfortable are-you-down-with-diversity questions at interviews.  If I decide to spin off my education into becoming a diversity-in-tech activist or leader, my job will gleefully support me in it.

So I guess this is a post about blessings, and how they're often curses in disguise, just like the vice-versa — this is why Buddha and Christ both caution against judgment I guess, lol.  "'However you think about this, you're wrong.' –The Universe"  I found a gig in tech that isn't a gender shitshow, and it's also with a seriously respectable company business-wise, so yay, that's possible!  And it happened to me!  …Now, uh, I have to get good enough for it.  ::gulp::

 

 

*Someone's gonna say, "But what about when there aren't people doing the 'actual work' anymore?" to which I'll say the job of managing stays the same; if you happen to be managing a bank of robots, then you're advocating for them or shit doesn't get done.  Other jobs, like executive management, don't directly involve advocating for essential engineers, but that's why I love the tier of management I'm in, and have no desire to "go higher" — I like directly helping the people directly doing the work, overseeing "where the rubber meets the road".  When I was a kid I wanted to lead a team of pit mechanics, if that gives you an idea where my brain feels it belongs in the professional order.  :)

About puredoxyk

Word addict, kungfu/taiji nut, and life-partner to polyphasic sleep. Rabid fan of as many hobbies as the world will let me pry into its piddly fourth dimension (it helps to have knocked out the wall).
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