Women in Tech: Be Aggressive. Get it Done. Be Heard.
Navigating HR As a Woman In Tech
Being a woman in HR in the tech space, I thought I'd have more of an influence on the bro culture. But while I may be able to stop some locker room talk in the kitchen, I'm not naive enough to think it doesn't happen. It's just not within my ear shot and maybe I've helped a female coworker not hear the salacious details of someone's night.
It's not just all outward sexual harassment you're shown in HR training videos. The sexism comes in small bites, ones that sometimes you don't even notice.
At an HR conference, a salesman only spoke to my male subordinate even though I answered all his questions. I can make excuses; I look younger, I'm such a good boss that my worker has an air of confidence around him but that's not it.
Or when someone complete snubs you out of a task that directly correlates to your work goals and you write an email pointing it out. Your new boss, who's a moron in all things particularly speaking to people especially women, tells you the email was too aggressive.
Too aggressive? Are you kidding me? No. It wasn't aggressive but I'm just supposed to take it. And smile. And say thank you.
So you know what ladies? Be aggressive. I'm of a motto that honey catches more bees than vinegar but that doesn't always work, sometimes you have to swat at it. Get it done. Be heard. Screw 'em.
Did I cry? Yes. Did I cry in front of him? Hell no. Not worth it.
It was my first management meeting. I was finally at the table. No really, it was a huge table. I was prepared, I was excited and then I was asked to take notes. The only woman in the room. It was a coworker who's always been respectful, took my advice, listened to me. Why me? We all had computers in front of us.
Was I going to make a scene and not be invited back. I took diligent notes, sent them out quickly and did the "assignment" which should not have been mine to do.
It's not easy being a woman so outnumbered by men in such a male dominated culture. I do see a shift as younger guys take control. Those who haven't been raised in a backwards society or at least a society that's finally opening its eyes about these issues.
Tech has a long way to go and women need to fight the good fight along with their male coworkers.
You're just as qualified. Just as skilled and once you prove it (men don't have to, it's a given), they'll see and they'll know. And you've paved just a little easier trail for the next woman.