Ten Things I Really Hate About Tech Today

dbakevlar's picture

I love working in tech.  I can honestly say that nothing gives me greater satisfaction than working on a technical challenge or having a brilliant conversation about technology with peers.  Other days I feel like a broken record having the same conversations with the women in technology around me, facing a lack of diversity and the consistent exclusion in tech.  Until this changes, the beatings will continue and my expression may often look similar to Alan Rickman’s below:

“Rants are good for the soul and even better for the world. Some times, some things just need to be said.”

Delphix has done an incredible job with diversity and inclusion.  They’ve actually created a Diversity Counsil, a charter and initiatives to address many of these challenges I’ve listed below.  It’s an impressive and powerful move by an incredible company.

So for the rest of you, listen up, build a bridge, get past it and just stop doing the things on this list.  It hurts me to my core to hear that so many are still experiencing these-

  1. Interview for Team Acceptance

“I’d like you to come in for a final interview to make sure you fit in with the team.”

This is almost a guaranteed step in the interview process and yes, upon first view, it sounds reasonable that a manager would want to ensure a candidate worked well with their peers. This practice was first embraced in the technical field with good intentions, but it has direct correlation to limiting team diversity.

Remember back to school- think about how each clique developed simply by how you looked, your background and your preferences? Yeah, this is exactly what continues to happen in tech- white, geeky dude clique.

One of the things I noticed from many of the articles on team interviews is that they often occur in a social situation, over drinks, including beers or other alcoholic beverages. This is bound to deter from diversity in candidates who might find it uncomfortable for one reason or another and hinder them from making it to the final interview stages.

The end result is teams with limited skills and they aren’t able to balance out for each other’s weaknesses and strengths. Often the team members are so much alike they’re unable to innovate at the level that’s required in tech.

Yo, hiring manager- kudos having the team meet the candidate, but do your job and create a team that has the diversity to weather storms, differing demands and requirements. Create a tech team that has the diversity that will create the technology of tomorrow to serve the diverse ecosystem of today.

  1. Hurt Feelings

“It’s difficult working with women, they get their feelings hurt.”

I don’t know how often I’ve heard this from both men and women about working with women. Don’t be surprised; if you say to me, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings…” I stop you mid-sentence and tell you it’s not my feelings you need to worry about. I’m more analytical than 90% of the people I work with and my assertiveness or passion isn’t any different than my male counterparts.

Even CNN distinguishes between women’s feelings and men’s ego and yet, I know for a fact that talk of ego resonates with me more than feelings. The same ego persists for the guys that have delayed deadlines in projects or sabotaged a colleague, all because their “egos were bruised.” I think it’s easier to refer to a man’s ego than ever refer to his feelings, but let’s be honest- the situation often stems from the same source.

Culture often dictates to people, “just stroke his ego and you’ll get along fine with him.”   We’ll often claim a bruised ego in the safety of male approval, where we brush off a woman who’s dared to claim value for herself. Instead of just asking women to toughen up and tell others to just suffer through a man’s bruised ego, tell everyone to stand down- We’re all in this together.

  1. The Silent Treatment

“Women fail at collaboration.”

I was reading an article on why women fail at collaboration. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve contributed to a conversation among a group of tech guys on a forum or in a slack channel and heard nothing but crickets, well, I’d most likely be here instead of writing this post. Seriously, the same conversation, one of my male peers enters the conversation or says almost the same thing and there are a slew of responses.

Many women mention this issue and we’re all a bit perplexed by it, but what I have gleamed so far is- ½ the folks, (both men and women) are simply observing, trying to figure the woman contributor out and the other ½ is freaked out and doesn’t know how to respond. If this continues for an extended period of time, the woman simply gives up and stops wasting her time.

Women are still told, (not as directly as in the olden days) to not speak unless we’re spoken to.  This often creates a scenario where women end up looking for an invitation to be part of the conversation, yet we don’t offer this and when they do speak up, (I’m one of the mouthy ones) I can confirm that someone will advise her to speak less or to be more conservative. I’ve NEVER heard anyone tell a man to step back when owning a conversation.

Even worse are those hell bent on silencing the woman in the conversation. These guys are commonly “equal-opportunity bullies” and have no doubt, they will go after men in the group they see as a threat, too. The only target identifier these guys need is a willingness to give someone else the benefit of the doubt.

My recommendation- If you’re not engaging the women in the room- start doing so. If a woman asks a question, assume she already knows 90% of the answer, but would like to collaborate. This will eliminate 80% of our favorite hobby- “mansplaining.” </p />
</p></div></div>
    <div class=»