Hi folks. Long time no write.
This Harvey Weinstein thing has me thinking a lot of thoughts, especially with regard to the tech industry (which, thanks to women like Susan Fowler, the world now knows shares a similar sickness to Hollywood with regard to sexism and mistreatment of women—though the women in tech didn’t need anyone to tell us that). People online are asking why Weinstein’s victims didn’t just say no or call him out—but there were lots of valid reasons for why they didn’t, or felt they couldn’t, or maybe even tried and failed. Central to all of those reasons is power; this man had all of it, and they had none. He could ruin their careers on a whim. He could slander them in the media within hours. This power imbalance resulted in a string of sickening abuses.
If you’ve spent any time on the internet whatsoever this year, you’ve undoubtedly heard the sentiment that 2016 has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. I won’t deny that some upsetting things happened over the past 12 months, but I think you’ll agree that we’ve all spent enough time pulling our hair out over those particular topics. So instead, I thought I’d use this obligatory end-of-year blog post as an occasion to reflect on some of the nice little things that helped make my year worth smiling about.
Exactly six months ago yesterday, I arrived at a little Airbnb in Danville California with one suitcase of clothes, another of shoes, a plastic tub containing cereal and granola, and a small backpack. I spent the first three weeks of my new life in the Bay Area living out of these containers, hauling the backpack to and from my new job in San Ramon at GE Digital. Each morning as I passed beneath the GE logo, stationed massive and blue above the front doors of the five-story building, I marveled, woozy, at the literal magnitude of what I had just leapt into: I had left my friends, family, and childhood home behind for what I had excitedly been referring to as a “hard reset” in the weeks prior to my move. And now it was real. And now it was hard.
The tech industry is well aware of the positive impact of diversity on business performance—and of how its insidious misogyny is directly at-odds with diversity goals. In spite of this evidence, instances of sexism in tech are sometimes—nay, often—dismissed as a “women’s issue” to be addressed and solved by women, rather than by the men who overwhelmingly comprise the industry’s workforce and executive positions.
But it isn’t a “women’s issue” if solving it benefits all of us. And we’ve seen time and time again that fostering inclusive and diverse workplaces is not just a social issue relevant to minorities and their allies, but a business concern relevant to all who would reap the benefits of seeing their startup succeed, their web business pivot successfully, or their enterprise company increase revenue.
In a blog post last week, I described some ways in which a small minority of men have had a negative impact on my experiences at tech events. The post blew up a bit, and I had a weird couple of days.
I’ve been called a lot of things since my post started making the rounds—some kind, some decidedly not. And while I’ll admit that I spent a minute dwelling on claims that I am apparently neither intelligent nor hot, those comments aren’t the ones that, days later, I struggle to shake. The comments that still nag at me are the ones about bravery.
In my experience, 99% of men and women in the tech industry are decent and genuinely well-meaning people. But the issue persists; being a woman in tech can be a bit trying at times. What’s the deal? Continue reading
I never made any sort of official announcement when I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Word got around, of course, but I wasn’t really up for the Facebook post: “hey guys, turns out i was dying because of gluten lol so now i cant eat pizza :’(”
(12 people like this)
Yeah, no thanks. I was too busy crying into my pillow and quietly mourning Kraft Mac & Cheese.
The other day I was having a conversation with a friend that somehow turned to Eminem. While I’m not a diehard fan or anything, I have some respect for the guy, and I said so to my friend. The friend was a bit surprised to learn this; “I respect his background,” he said, “but some of his songs are just awful. Like lyrically terrifying. Kim, Stan.”
For context, here’s an excerpt of the song “Kim”: Continue reading
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t writing this post in the hopes that my high school gym teacher might see it someday.
Earlier today I saw a little blurb on my newsfeed informing me that my friend Colby had published a lovely blog post called Things I learned in 2014. I read the post and found it brilliant and charming, and became profoundly annoyed that I hadn’t come up with the idea first—particularly because my own blog has been fairly unexciting thus far. I told him as much, and he encouraged (demanded) that I write a New Year’s post too—but I was so taken with the “lessons learned” thing that I couldn’t think of any sort of list-style post that could possibly be better.
Which is why I’m going to copy him, by not-technically-copying him, by writing the opposite.
Without further ado, here’s a list of things I didn’t learn in 2014: Continue reading