I am woman, see me do all the dirty work

Feminism, Gender, Workplace

When I find myself  in a room full of women at work, I get uncomfortable. You may be thinking, “Jenna, what are you smoking? All you do is complain about there not being enough women in tech! You should be happy!” Au contraire, mon ami. When I find myself in these situations it means one thing: this meeting is about housework and no men showed up to the cleaning party.

There are certain tasks that are outside of normal “work” work which I classify as dirty work. For example, I helped plan numerous events last year which was executed by a v-team. We planned holiday events, cultural potlucks, outreach events, etc. Sounds like fun, but it is really all dirty work. The team was volunteer based and comprised of about 12 women and one man whose job was to cook the meat at the potluck. I am currently party of a diversity and inclusion v-team for all of IT (20k people) in my company and there are about 25 women and two men.  With the current diversity statistics in tech, this disparity just doesn’t make sense. What’s even more interesting is that this extra work isn’t helping women in the eyes of their colleagues. It doesn’t even help them get promoted. Women help more, but benefit less.

The number of meeting requests I send out, emails I compose for others, events I plan– it has almost become insulting. Why should someone with a bachelors degree be spending so much of their day finishing these tasks? Especially when my male counterparts don’t. I will admit that I am the reason this has happened. I volunteer to help. Someone has to do the job. Why is it then, that it is usually women?

Will Tech Work for Mothers?

Feminism, Workplace

If you were not previously aware, there is a diversity problem in the tech field. In my workplace, this problem is beginning to be discussed by our leadership, but I don’t always find it constructive. At an organization meeting, the VP of my org said that they were looking at our diversity metrics and decided they need to focus their efforts on improving the diversity of their interview pool. I wanted to stand up and yell “That’s great and all– but how are you going to keep the diversity that is already here?”  Next time I won’t be a coward. What they need to understand is that this problem has two parts:

1. Attracting diversity

2. Preserving diversity

We can continue to focus on why diversity isn’t finding its way into tech. We can continue to focus on why diversity isn’t staying. What may be more interesting is learning why diversity stays in tech. Especially when we look at one of the top groups in tech to leave: Mothers.

I read an article today, “The women who ‘make it’ in tech”, which discusses research surrounding women with families and why they are still in the tech field. What they found sheds light onto why female mothers stay in the tech field.

16% indicated they have a spouse or partner in a similar or more lucrative career

84% indicated they are the breadwinner in their family

30% of breadwinners indicated that they have a stay-at-home spouse or partner

When these women talk about their careers, it isn’t with pride. The breadwinning mothers “talk about their earning power with obligation.”  Just looking at this research you could say that one of the largest contributing factor to mothers staying in tech is they need to support their family. The job itself isn’t enough to keep mothers who do not need the additional income to stay.

The article also mentions some institutionalized problems. How many times have I heard in design reviews that it needs to be “so simple your mother can use it.”  Not only is this condescending and sexist but it is “illustrative of how inhospitable industry’s work climate can be to motherhood.”  As a woman two years into her career in tech (without a family of my own), it makes me wonder how long my career in tech will last. It doesn’t look like the odds are ever in my favor.

The Dos and Don’ts of Asking for a Promotion

Awkward Girl, Feminism, Tech Industry, Workplace

Guys, I did it! I had a “mature, working girl” moment: I asked for a promotion! Well, I actually didn’t really ask… this is what really happened when I met with my manager and why I wish it did not happen.

Me: “So before we finish, I was told to make sure you received an email about the process for recommending a college-hire for a promotion.”

Manager: “Oh, I didn’t know that you wanted a promotion, you have never brought it up before.”

Me: “Oh, well… I think they sent that email because…”

Manager: “If you want a promotion, we should have been talking about this and you should have come to me with your career profile and how you compare to the next level…”

Me: “but I don’t really know…”

Manager: “So the next time we meet, we can start talking about this again. But make sure you have that all figured out…”

Me: “Oh. Okay. See you next time.”

Please learn from my mistake. Never utter the words “promotion,” “raise,” or “bonus” without being prepared to back it up. Even if you aren’t even thinking about asking for one, always be ready. My employer has career profiles for every level that lists out core competencies. If I was doing it right, I should have reviewed my current level and how I compare to the next level every month. If you do want a promotion, start conversations early and go to your manager saying “I want to start working towards the next level, let’s begin talking about how I can get there.”

My fellow How to Pee in the Woods writer, Lauren, has a similarly mortifying story.

I work on a small team at a small company. When I started there were three people doing my job. They both left, so I was stuck doing the job of three workers. When it became clear that my company was not planning to hire replacements for my team members, my family and friends all encouraged me (read: nagged endlessly) to ask for a raise. After all, I was doing three times the work I had signed on for.

So I sat down with my manager and said it would be great if I could be compensated for all the extra work I was doing. I thought it was pretty self explanatory.

Manager: “So… You want a raise. Does that mean you want a promotion?”

Me: “Not necessarily. I just think since I am doing a lot more work now than I was when I signed on, it would be nice to see my salary reflect that.”

Manager: “We don’t have the resources to give you a raise right now. We can talk about this again next year when review time comes around.”

Now, maybe I could have been more specific about my accomplishments. I’m sure I could have gone about it better. But a female friend of mine at a different company did the same thing, only she was prepared with a list of things she had accomplished. She got the same answer: Not right now. Maybe during review time.

All this to say, be prepared to brag about your accomplishments, and be prepared for rejection.

Side note: The above friend and I both have boyfriends who asked for a raise (not during their yearly review), and both of their requests were granted. As women, it’s typically harder for us to ask for what we deserve, and I’m hoping it was just our lack of confidence and preparedness that led to our rejection and not something worse (*cough* institutionalized sexism). At any rate, all we can do is offer our stories and advice to other women in the workforce and hope we all learn something. -L

Every employer is different, but the key here is to be prepared to brag, and remember: if you don’t ask, you’ll never get what you want.

For a more step-by-step guide, check out PayScale’s guide to salary negotiation which also works for asking for a raise and a promotion.

Please learn from our mistakes and go get that promotion or raise! — J

Fashion Blogs to Follow

Beauty, Dating, Fashion, Quick Read, Travel, Workplace

These are my most visited blogs and I’ll tell you why!

purse 'n boots

pursenboots.blogspot.com

Written by: Ashley Glorioso

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Senior Stylist for Nasty Gal.  She is a bad ass boho chick, who knows how to make fun of herself and some of her off the wall fashion choices.  I love the little tidbits she writes at the bottom of her photo’s that chronicle a bit of her life and how/why she put that particular outfit together.  She wears lots of Zara, For Love and Lemons, Nasty Gal and amazing vintage finds.  Her style faves seem to be booties, ripped tees, sequins, fur jackets, lace/knits and a touch of well layered and simple jewelery.  Check out her feature on the Nasty Gal Blog as well.

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talesofendearment.com

Written By: Natalie Joos

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I think of her as the real life Carrie Bradshaw.  A real, New York City casting agent and consultant to fashion brands across the board.  She’s a street style favorite and has a look that is so uniquely her own, I have yet to see anyone else master it quite as well.  With pieces of clothing that look more like artwork to me, she is able to mix and match bold prints and shapes that many would never think to do.  She pulls it all off, always, with simple hair and makeup that rivals all the gold and glitter I’m usually attracted to.  A must read from vintage to modern fashion lovers.

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chicityfashion.com

Written By: Jena Gambaccini

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I am not totally sure how I stumbled upon this blog, but I think it was through the popular page on Instagram.  I’d love to live in Chicago at some point, so I started following chicityfashion with the idea that I could get a feel for what the fashion there is like.  Turns out Jena is a girl after my own heart who loves food, fashion and living the city life!  Her style has a bit of a structured, tomboy feel, with lots of girly details.  She loves everything over sized, simple gold jewelry and mani Monday.

Above are my top three, that I literally look at almost everyday.  Here are a few others to check out.

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thezoereport.com

Written By: Rachel Zoe & Team

The Zoe Report is less of a blog and more straight to the point fashion and beauty recommendations.  The reason I don’t frequent it more often is because the products are often out of my price range, which just makes me sad.  I am not a fan of window shopping, which is what it feels like to oggle over designer goods on The Zoe Report.  What I do like is the the coverage of fashion trends and happenings in the fashion world.

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refinery29.com

Founded By: Philippe Von Bories, Justin Sefano, Christene Barberich & Piera Gelardi

This site has many writers now, but started from a small team of four friends.  Their posts are definitely aimed at the mid-20’s gal which obviously appeals to me. The overall tone of the site is best described as cheeky.  Most of their articles have a fun/naughty twist which makes reading about things like cures for acne more tolerable.  I’ve put to good use much of their beauty and fashion advice.

 

 

The One Where it was Hard to Fit in at Work

Feminism, Quick Read, Tech Industry, Workplace

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Do you remember “The One Where Rachel Smokes”? It is the episode of Friends where Rachel starts a new job at Ralph Lauren and all the important decisions are made on smoke breaks. Rachel tries to pick up the habit to feel included and the group insists she doesn’t join, saying they didn’t want to drag her down with them.

As a woman in the tech field, this can happen to you a lot. I even joined a Fantasy Football League to feel included (I won the league, by the way)! However, sometimes I have to remember to reflect on my own actions and see if they are fueling inclusion.

Only planning outings to bars? Some people aren’t 21 or they don’t care to drink!
Lots of active events coming up? Many people have reasons they can’t participate in sports.
Every morning do you get coffee with the same coworker? Ask someone new to join you!

You can’t make everyone happy but you can make them feel included! – J

Looks like I’m not the only one who feels this way! I thoroughly enjoyed this article about a man who challenged himself to not only ask men to drinks after work.