Hey, look! I have a theme to my weekend links again! My links this week are all about work in one way or another.
First up, Rands had an excellent post about a clash of cultures in the techie workplace. I'm definitely a stable. It is good for me to remember the value of the volatiles, too, although I don't work at a company that sells software, so we are less in need of their disruptive genius and more in need of just being able to deliver reliable tools that do what the other scientists in the company need them to do.
Sticking with the techie side of things, I have a new programmer blog I like reading, called The Endeavour, by John Cook (get it?) and he had a fun post about the life lessons to be gleaned from functional programming.
Speaking of life lessons, I found this excellent rant about the loss of perspective in a creative career via someone on Twitter, but I failed to note who.
And since we're now talking about work/life balance and the like... here is a thoroughly depressing summary of some recent research about what ambitious MBA students expect in that department:
"Gen Y women are more prepared and much more specific about how
they would manage work versus family when they project 10 years out.
They cited strategies such as using choosing workplaces known for good
work-life policies, having kids later to be more stable financially,
living close to family members, and managing flex-time effectively
(longer weekdays with weekends off). Surprisingly, none of the women
mentioned a scenario in which their spouse stayed home with the
Gen Y men, in contrast, had vague strategies for balancing work and
family. They did not assume their partner would have a heavy workload,
nor did they mention the possibility that their partner would be the
breadwinner in the family. Most envisioned spouses who would work part
time, work at home, or simply be at home. Most of the men assumed that
their spouses would take care of the children when a work conflict
arises. One single male student, for example, said, "I think I'd be
completely comfortable--and I hope this doesn't sound sexist--if my
spouse is taking more of an at-home mom role, and to allow for a balance
of time in that respect.""
Ouch. So much for the idea that we can just wait for the dinosaurs to retire/die off and then we'll be in a gender equality nirvana.
I think this highlights a good reason to argue back against the "women can't have it all" mindset. A woman is indeed unlikely to be able to "have it all" if she's got a partner who thinks that balancing work and life is only her problem and not also his. And it will be harder for her to "have it all" if she has to compete in a work environment dominated by men with this attitude. When we as a culture just throw up our hands and say "women can't have it all!" but do not acknowledge that neither can men, we're just undervaluing the parts they tend to miss out on, we are surrendering to our patriarchal history. We can do better. This is why while I don't care what any one woman decides to do with her life- we all get only one chance to live and have to make compromises to find the arrangements that make us happiest in our far from perfect world- I do care when that woman extrapolates from her life to all women and I do care when in doing so she casually lets men off the hook for the free pass on "work/life balance" that they have been getting all these years, and to a large extent continue to get.
Moving on... to other depressing "women at work" topics! Isis the Scientist completely nails the reason that so much sexual harassment goes unreported in the sciences. You may or may not be able to sink the harasser's career, but chances are in attempting to bring him to justice you'll sink your own career. Sad, but true, I think. So while I applaud the women who are brave enough to fight back, I
refuse to judge the women who choose to just deal with the harassment
and try to get on with their careers. But I am not completely impartial here. I have had to make a decision like this, back when I was a much younger scientist. I did not make a fuss about the harassment and my career continued. It is impossible to know what would have happened if I had made a fuss, but I am pretty sure that I would have faced some unpleasant repercussions. (Of course, I am old enough that at the time during which I was making my decision, the spectacle of the Anita Hill hearings was fresh in my memory... maybe things are better now. Sadly, I sort of doubt it.)
And one final depressing "women at work" article, about how women aren't held back by an ambition gap, they are just held back. Sigh.
I hate to end on such a downer. So watch this hilarious and eerily accurate spoof video about why MTV doesn't play music videos any more: