Money, power and credibility

I don’t really do “women stuff” (awkward umbrella term for gender-segregated events and spaces).  I don’t really identify with any gender and I find a lot of the advice to be condescending and overly delicate, and it’s just a really boring thing to think and talk about. For me.IMG_9847

But I’m feeling guilty after turning down a bunch of requests to do shit for International Women’s Day next week.  So I’m gonna do a thing I’ve been avoiding doing for years, and write down my (deeply problematic but practical) advice.

  1. Toughen up.  For your first 10 years or 3 jobs in the industry, you’re a junior contributor.  You need them way more than they need you, so suck it up.  Try not to dwell on the bullshit.  Work hard and level up and always angle for more money and power when you can.
  2. Stay technical.  There are a thousand paved ramps out of engineering roles and only a few hard paths back in.  Technical excellence is currency in this industry, even more so if your credibility is gonna get challenged again and again.  So don’t stop engineering til you’re great at it.
  3. Use your power for good.  Once you become a senior contributor — and i’m not talking bullshit titles but real seniority, when people are coming to you for help far more than you go to them — then you can afford to get sensitive.  …On behalf of others.  The research convincingly shows that women get punished for advocating for themselves, but not for advocating for others.  It’s a sweet loophole, use it.

If you feel like table flipping out of tech, just remember the rest of the world is at LEAST as sexist as tech is, but without the money and power and ridiculous life-coddling.  Where exactly do you think you’re going to go?

Don’t quit tech: quit your job.  There are LOTS of tolerable-to-great companies out there.  If you stay and suffer, you’re just rewarding the shitholes with your presence.  Don’t reward the shitholes any more than you can help it.

Learn shit, save your money, amass great power.  Then use it to fuck shit up.


Money, power and credibility

6 thoughts on “Money, power and credibility

  1. So…. yeah. I don’t identify with any gender (I find the whole idea very annoying) and I hate being told how to “be a woman in a man’s world” and stuff. Fuck that.

    I love tech. After all the bullshit I’ve had to deal with because I get read as female always, I still love tech. Don’t always like the people, but I love tech.

    Stick to it, roll with the punches, leave shitty companies and shitty managers.

    Do what you have to when you start out, and always realize that you will have to be twice as good as the bros are to be considered merely competent.

    I’ve been doing tech for 20 years, and environmental engineering before that (another majority male field.)

    Steer clear of any “pink ghettos”. Do not take a “sideways” (really a demotion) into project management because they tell you it’s a “career path into management”. When a manager tells you that, ask them how long they spent in project management. PMs are usually NOT technical, not allowed to be technical, and often are expected to do skirts and heels (they’re fine if you like them, but not if you are *expected* to always wear them while the guys get to wear ratty t-shirts and jeans.)

  2. Elle says:

    The “women in tech” initiatives at work left me feeling more uncomfortable and alienated than working in tech ever did. Thank you for this post. It helped me to understand a lot.

Leave a Reply