Woman in Tech — Why I Stopped Telling Young Girls to Go Into Engineering
Here’s the thing — I love my job. I love what I do and I do feel that I’ve found my calling in some sense, but I am profoundly unhappy socially. I work in an all male environment that is entirely focused on the technology. They are all brilliant and I love them all dearly. No one has ever meant me harm, but almost on a daily basis I have to deal with some situation that just wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t a woman.
Examples are many and include anything from awkward social situations (me working closely with a male coworker = instant gossip in the office) to heated arguments (in which I would try to articulatly explain my point while the other party would claim I don’t know what I am talking about) to blatant trust issues (that had no logical backing) to quota-filling invitations to conferences (I am a frequent speaker at events on the merit of my work, but will not do quota filling appearances.) I can continue, but I’ll stop for now. Those all deserve their own writings.
The main problem is the lack of diversity of thought that I deal with constantly. Perhaps because I am a polymath, a person with a variety of interests, or perhaps because I am by nature a social being who needs to derive inspiration from things outside of tech as well, but I often find that I cannot bend my coworkers to step outside of tech. I don’t like to go to tech only conferences because I get bored - I can read a tutorial in 10 minutes, I don’t need to sit for an hour and watch a talk about it. You say that those conferences are to hang out with people? Well, I also don’t need to spend 3 days in bars talking about tech. What about the rest of the world? What about culture? What about our personal lives and our pursuits outside of work? Don’t get me wrong, I was a workaholic before it was hip, but I can’t connect through my work alone. There is no humanity in it. What inspires me to do my best work is the need of others, the real problems that I get to solve through the power of my creativity and coding. When I write the right code and connect the dots for someone, that’s success.