I've been pondering my experience in
the workplace and wondering if it's unusual. I've had a (mostly)
happy career with supportive people around me, most of whom were men.
My only truly lousy work experience was due to crappy management and
a workhouse atmosphere, not sexism.
I don't think I've ever experienced
sexism/sexual harassment. If I did, it wasn't anything
that registered high enough on my radar to worry about. Yeah I
know... I'm sure there's women out there that have had someone make
their condition of employment based on sexual favors (I'm looking at
you, Hollywood), or were not fairly considered for employment or
schooling because of gender. However, I'm not sure how prevalent it is these days. And I'm talking about real, straight up harassment
– not “Oh, a guy at work told me he liked my new outfit. I find
that offensive.... boo hoo.” Sorry, but that's not sexist or
I began thinking about this because of
an IT news story that popped up a couple months ago:
In a nutshell, a woman at a programming
conference overheard two guys talking to each other about “forking
a repo”, and making a dongle joke (“Forking a repo” is actual
programming slang). As for the dongle joke – so what? It's silly,
adolescent and kinda funny, but certainly not offensive.
The guys in question weren't even
this lady. If she was really bothered by their comments, she could've
put on her big girl panties and asked them to keep it down because it
was distracting from the lecture. (She claimed she didn't say
anything because she didn't want to be heckled, or ruin her
experience. Geez Louise. That's fucking life, isn't it? For everyone,
male and female. If you're going through life avoiding confrontation,
you're not living.)
But no, she handled the situation in a
passive-aggressive manner meant to publicly shame them. She took
their photo, posted it to Twitter and her (apparently popular) blog,
indicating she was offended by their sexual remarks. One young man
lost his job. The young lady lost hers as well. Some morons made rape
and death threats. On top of everything, her company ended up with a
denial of service attack courtesy of Anonymous.
Scenarios like this really frost me
because throughout my career I've been told to look for any
form of sexism or sexual remarks. Anything that could possibly insult
my delicate female sensibilities should be reported immediately to
I didn't get into IT thinking I could
behave as a hot house flower. The field was male dominated and the
work was hard. I didn't want special treatment, I wanted challenging
and interesting work. I wanted to be treated fairly and move forward
in my career because I did a good job, not because the guys were
afraid of being reported, or because I met a human resources diversity
Back in the 1990's, I had an HR
director that would pull me into her office almost monthly to make
sure I was “doing okay, since I was working with all men”.
Seriously, she said that. HR Lady made it sound like I was working
with a team of sex-starved maniacs that have never seen a female
before, have no manners and behave like animals. In that scenario,
who was the one actually being sexist? Two guesses and the first one
I went through great pains trying to
explain to her that nothing weird was going on, I didn't feel the
least bit uncomfortable and yes, I really enjoyed working with the
guys. These are the same men that gave me the opportunity in the
first place, trained me, and most of all treated me well. She
couldn't wrap her brain around this so every few weeks she'd “check
in on me”.
After a while, the HR Lady realized she
wasn't getting any juicy details from me and tried a different
tactic: she would regularly try to persuade me to join the local
“women in business” group that she belonged to, which I declined.
She sold it as a support system for career women - which at the time
sounded reasonable especially if you're looking for a job, but based
on her behavior it put me off.
In retrospect, maybe I should have
joined if only to say that in order to succeed, sometimes you need
some perspective and a sense of humor.
Were there dongle jokes? Nope, most of
them were way worse - especially by today's standards. And guess
what? We all had fun.
Did I have some men say rude things to
me? Yep, and I said rude things back. In my experience, dishing it
back usually put an end to it. Sometimes people are just assholes and
it's not about gender.
On the other hand, I'm sure there were
people I worked with who thought I was inferior simply because I'm
female - but they didn't articulate that. Nor did they prevent me
from being promoted or doing my job. In other words, their personal
thoughts about me weren't acted upon, and therefore have no impact on
Like I said at the beginning of this
post, maybe my experience is unusual. I still don't work with a lot
of women, but the ones that I do work with seem to have similar
career experiences as me.
Are there women still being harassed,
or being treated in a sexist manner? Probably. I'm not saying it
doesn't happen. Maybe certain career paths attract it? Guys get
harassed too, but that rarely makes headlines.
It just seems like I'm constantly
hearing about how sexism/harassment/chauvinism is rampant, and it makes it sound like women are still being treated like it's 1950. The thing
is, the article above demonstrates the extreme consequences of making
a mountain out of a dongle.
I've been looking for a way to jump
start my weight loss... again. I really like doing low carb because
it broke me of sugar cravings, but I've reached a point where not
much is happening anymore.
Granted, part of this is due to sitting
behind a computer for 10 hours a day, coupled with the fact that the
stinkin' groundhog lied about Spring so it's still cold as Jack
Frost's nutsac here.
There's really only two things I missed
while being on a low carb diet: pizza and rice. Not together
obviously, but as separate, delicious entities.
Pizza is pretty much out, unless
there's a “pizza only” diet out there that I'm not aware of.
Rice, on the other hand, has several. Specifically, a brown rice
So, in one of my stupider moments, I
jumped all over that. It's only a week, right? Plus it's really high
fiber, so that's good, right? Like a pooping yourself thin.
Well, I did it for a whole week. I ate
mostly brown rice, vegetables, fish and water. Lots and lots of
water. Low calorie and very low fat.
By the second day, I was thanking God I
worked at home because most of my time was spent in the bathroom.
Then on the fourth day, my intestines
went on strike and stopped working altogether. I woke up that morning
having all the bodily discomfort of a woman in her 9th
month of pregnancy, but without the impending birth.
Or so I thought.
By the fifth day, I reenacted the John
Hurt scene from Alien.
Days six and seven were fine, but the
bloating was ridiculous. The experiment was over.
Still, I was pretty happy I made it a
whole week on mostly vegetarian and low fat foods. I honestly thought
I'd have something good come out of it, but no. I actually gained
I don't know how much because I refuse
to use a scale, but my jeans are tighter than they should be.
How can someone actually GAIN WEIGHT on
a low fat diet?
Rice is ruined for me forever now, or
at least for a very, very long time. But maybe that's a good thing.
I managed to not die of boredom, and
finished my systems architecture class. Honestly, if I was a young 20
something and hadn't worked in IT before, I don't know how I would
have passed. It really wasn't an undergrad class. That's just my
In other news, Daughter finally got her
license. This also meant having to buy a cheap-ass car in order to
facilitate any real autonomy – for both of us. Yeah, I could just
have her drive my car when it was available, which is pretty much
never. It would also mean continuing to drive her around to every
extra-curricular and social activity. Anyone with teenagers knows
this is a full time job by itself.
So yeah. Cheap Jeep. So far it's only
been in the shop once, but thankfully it's got “good bones”.
These things live forever. I had one for the better part of 12 years,
and know other people who kept them running for over twenty. Plus it
has the added benefit of four wheel drive – since we live in the
Snowy North - and lots of actual METAL to act as a giant bubble
around said teenager. I mean geez, cars are all plastic these days.
Anyway, more on the used car experience later.
You may have noticed I stopped bitching
about work over the past year or so (well, I should say any of the
three people still reading this blog. I figure I've lost all
readership due to grievous blog-neglect). Anyway, I finally like what
I'm doing. Also, not being on-call 24x7 is beneficial to not having a
heart attack at 44. I'm just too old for that. Still, it's not that
coding didn't hold a viable future for me, only that coding at my
last job was a bullet train to a fresh circle of hell.
Hubby is traveling for work a lot more
now, so I've got doggy detail. This is fun because the dog mostly
doesn’t listen to me, and usually pushes the envelope by acting
like a two year old on crack.
The most unsettling part is taking the
dog out before bed. We have lights around the house, but obviously
not in the forest, which is right over there.....and there is
nothing creepier than shining a flashlight into that thick darkness
and seeing ten pair of green eyes staring back at you.
Have I mentioned that the dog doesn’t
like to be rushed with his bowel movements? He can't just go outside
and do the needful. No, he has to make a round of the yard and inhale
any remnants of his previous deposits, eat rocks, and roll around in
a musky, flattened patch of grass where I presume the deer have been
camping out. So while he's sniffing around doing doggy things, I'm
shivering and hoping that whatever is giving me the stink eye from
the woods isn't hungry and/or have large teeth.
Our dog.....it's a good thing he's
On the cat side of things, well, he's
still on the Kitty Prozac. So far so good, six months and no
extraneous pee. He's still a complete asshole though.
After having a year's worth of
positively useful and enriching classes, I've got a complete and
utter DUD this term.
Six chapters into the book and we're
still discussing network architecture theory(it's a network architecture class, in case you haven't guessed....),
and how bad it sucks when management isn't on board with security
Here's an original thought!
….we can keep on whining and complaining that security is such an
under appreciated field....OR we can learn some methods to help make
the case to management. Or learn breathing exercises.
But the theories - oh God... all the
endless theories about the best ways to ask questions
about the system you're going to build. I got it, really....you need
to fully understand the business' objective and know exactly what
they want in order to deliver the best product.
I totally get it - this is an area of
development that is so full of FAIL. I've experienced first hand how
bad it is when developers and architects design something so
completely different than what the client wanted.
But we have devoted six (very long)
chapters thus far on how to ask questions. I fully
appreciate that I have a short attention span, but really?
Can we get into the meat of actually designing something? It's only a
12 week course. At this rate we might design something, oh, I don’t'
know.....maybe around 2016?
So far every weekly assignment has been
a five page term paper discussing some scholarly article that MAY or
MAY NOT have ANYTHING
to do with architecture. Esoteric topics like, “Do hackers
prefer the color blue, and what does that say about the best way to
prevent a breach to your system?”.
There has yet to be any assignment on
the material being covered in the book or lectures. And that makes
total sense, riiiight?
The content of my papers has typically
been me regurgitating things I learned either on the job, or from my
other classes. While I can see the benefit of that (ten points to
Gryffindor for applying existing knowledge!) it would be nice to
actually learn something for the obscene amount of
money being paid for this class.
I am currently preparing for my midterm
and know fuckall of what to actually study.
For all I know, the exam will cover the
sexual habits of lemurs and require us to design a secure VPN network
Lately, the motorists I encounter are
operating under the misguided assumption that everyone else will
simply get out of their way.
I'm not talking about driving in
congested towns and cities – that's a given. It's here in suburban
Pennsylvania where things are reaching critical mass.
Stop signs are only a suggestion, and
not actually obeyed as a traffic law. Four
way stop? Nope. It is guaranteed that someone at one of the four is
going to blow through it.
Look both ways before pulling out of your hidden driveway? Nope. Just
launch your car into traffic like a Viper from the Galactica. Assume
that you'll materialize within the flow of traffic, so there's no
reason to check for oncoming vehicles.
Anyway, I have one story that not only takes the cake, but also
relieves it of icing, rolls it down a dirt road, then has the balls
to serve it up at a church picnic:
Here in the Pocono Mountains, we have two towns that sit quite close
to one another on a stretch of death-highway. This highway is
notorious for being very winding and congested. Because of this,
there are numerous accidents. There is a speed limit in place
requiring drivers to slow down to 50 miles per hour, instead of
skating along at 60 or 65.
only is this speed limit completely
ignored, but I find most people are generally doing somewhere in the
vicinity of 75-80 mph.*
Fine, I can accept that. I'll stay out of your way.
But if you're speeding at 80 miles per hour, weaving in and out of
traffic, then cut off a tractor trailer which has to swerve into my
lane in order to avoid YOU, causing me to nearly ditch my vehicle off
the side of the road - then I've got plenty of reason to be pissed
This moron didn't do it once, but THREE TIMES.
I've had the misfortune to encounter this spectacular specimen of
douchenugget three times in the last two weeks. This idiot's car
caught my notice because he/she has a large decal that takes up the
entire back window which reads: “Here'sTheBlood”.
Here's the blood? What the fuck does that mean? Does he/she transport
blood? Is that the reason for the hurry? If only.
The first time I was nearly killed by this moron I made a mental note
to Google it.
I'm here to say, DO
It looks like a website dedicated to anti-abortion. The kind that
shows you graphic images.** Thankfully, I got a content warning for graphic images before I
clicked on it, and instead was able to maneuver to an “about”
section of the site.
Anyway, my point is, the motorist in this story is just another fine
example of moral licensing that occurs in this country - on both
sides of politics.
On one hand, we have the “save the planet” Prius owner, with the
requisite “Coexist” and Obama/Biden bumper stickers. In my
personal experience, they will cut you off in heavy traffic while
doing 90 mph (why, exactly, do you own a Prius??). Good job
“coexisting” with the other drivers on the road.
(I don't mean you, Mom. I know you're trying to save gas money. Also,
you don't cut people off or have a “Coexist” sticker.).
And there's this jackass in the Here'sTheBlood car, advertising to
the world that he/she cares about the blood of aborted children, but
apparently doesn't care about other motorist's blood (or the blood of
children in THOSE cars) being splashed all over the highway because
of his/her shitty driving habits.
* I have no problem with speeding. I do have a problem with it on a
death-slalom highway that has a reputation for killing hundreds of
** I am not pro abortion. For me, it simply doesn't pass the “icky”
test. But putting photos of it online is just as disgusting.
With the cold dry weather, we've all
been suffering from the lip shrivels. Lip balm of all kinds is a hot
commodity around here, but apparently I need to start buying it in
“Mom, I ran out of Carmex. Can I use
yours?” asked Daughter.
“Are you kidding? You're my daughter
and we've probably got the same cooties, but that's a really great
way to get the flu. Still, I never used mine so it should be germ
free. If you absolutely have to, go ahead and take it – it's in my
makeup case.” I offered.
“Meh...I guess I can wait.”
The next day, the lip stuff is
still in my case. When opened, it looks...lopsided. “Well, I must
have gotten a defective one. “ I thought, then proceeded to use
Fast forward five days.
“Mom, my throat is killing me. I used
the flashlight to look at it, and there's all these white patches...”
“Let me see.” I said.
Oh boy......and such lovely white
patches too. Daughter's tonsils were covered with what looked like
Also, there was something tugging at
the back of my mind.
That tugging was the Hippocampus
Gnome*, trying to jump start my short term memory. Unfortunately, my
perimenopausal brain wasn't having any of it. Yet.
“Um. Yuck. That's looks like strep
throat. Or at least, that's what it looked like the last time you had
it. I'll call the doctor tomorrow morning.” I said.
Then I remembered.
Along with that memory came the odd
itch at the back of my throat.
“By the way, did you use my lip
Daughter's eyes grew large, “Oh my
God! I'm so sorry ...but I didn't think I was sick then!”
“I believe I told you to just take
it, not use it then put it back. Ugh. Well, I guess we'll both be out
of commission for a while. Thank God tomorrow's Friday.”