Friday, February 28, 2014

Cost

I've had a bit of a tough end to my week. I don't think I can muster a links post.

You can still go to Wednesday's post, written before my week took a precipitous nosedive, and give me advice. No one is telling me which Twitter handle I should use if I do decide to start a blog about management (I think I'd write about both project and people management if I do this). Also, where are the witty blog name ideas??? Come on, people. I can't be expected to sort these things out on my own. It is the age of crowd-sourcing!

I'm still not sure what I will do. I may do nothing with the project management ideas except for bore my friends. I may start a blog. I may even end up doing some consulting on the topic. I just don't know.

I've been going through some career angst for awhile now. There are many aspects of my current career path that I genuinely love. But there have been some pretty large costs, too. I have worked in very male-dominated fields since college, fields where I am quite often the only woman in the room. This is not all bad- I have many wonderful male friends, and I have learned a lot from many male mentors. However, as I've acclimated to my extremely male work environment, I've developed different ways of talking and interacting with people. I project more self-confidence, even when I'm not feeling it. I am more direct, even when delivering difficult news. These traits make me less likeable to some women, so I try to leave them at work. Of course, I am not completely successful at that, and I recently had a reminder of that, which I am not going to write about in detail. This is not to say that I have no female friends- I have many wonderful female friends, too. Regardless, I am more likely to feel awkward in groups of women now, because the expected behaviors no longer come completely naturally.

At the same time, I have not completely transformed my behavior to fit in with the guys at work, and I occasionally get reminded of that, too. In fact, that is part of what made the end of this week so tough. I know that some of my colleagues think the solution to the problem is for me to just "adjust to their argumentative style of discussion" or whatever behavior is causing me issues at the time. And that might indeed make my work life better. But at what cost?

Already I feel like there is no place in my life I can be my full, authentic self. In fact, I'm not even sure who my full, authentic self is anymore, and that is making me feel very unsettled and strange. I'm not sure what to do about that, either.

------------------------

OK, that is a bit of a downer post for a Friday night. So here is a link to a video of bunnies jumping over things, because bunnies are cute. I am noticing a lot more bunnies on the internet these days, and I wholeheartedly approve of the diversification of the cute from just cat photos.

17 comments:

  1. I think you might like this one
    http://xykademiqz.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/double-bind/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is indeed awesome. Thanks for sharing it!

      Delete
    2. Yes! That drawing nails it.

      I definitely have that unpleasant in-between in my own work in technical sales. And then of course, it impacts my personal life too.

      Delete
  2. Sarah (@SarahHCarl)1:22 AM

    Aww, I realized today how much I enjoy reading your links post on Saturday mornings while drinking my coffee! (That's not to put any pressure on you - just to send some appreciation!). The bunnies were adorable, though. :) OK, I'm going to go comment on your Wednesday post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Links will be back next week. I'm glad you like them! I know what you mean- I look forward to Nicoleandmaggie's links, too.

      Delete
  3. Bunnies are cute, but it is a stretch to claim them cuter than cats.

    You have our sympathy and we hope you find something new soon.

    @Sarah, we have links up... Possibly even some stolen from Cloud's twitter feed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I've always been a bunny fan, and while I'm allergic to them, that allergy is less severe than my cat allergy. Still, I think the bunnies on the internet can happily coexist with the cats....

      Delete
  4. I had a long comment on your other post, but no actual Twitter or blog name advice! Tweet with your own name. Keep those tweets confined to project management type ideas. Hmm, blog names? Project Practical? There are the herding cat analogies to project management. Practicing Management? (referring a bit to one of your commenters ideas about collaborations with people willing to experiment with the techniques and see how they work). The blog could even incorporate what happens in those experiments and posts from the people trying them. We could be your guinea pigs! None of those are super catchy though. I feel like there should be something good inspired from Douglas Adams - a little bit geeky but still funny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! You have no idea how bad I am at naming things. I mean, look at Tungsten Hippo! And even that took ages to come up with.

      Delete
    2. Forgive my upcoming silly name suggestion vomit:

      Some spin on the Glass Menagerie? Like the Tungsten Menagerie? :) The Paper Menagerie? The People Menagerie? The Task Menagerie?Data Managerie? The Kanban Menagerie? Ask a Manageress? Biotech Managerista?

      Delete
  5. Sounds like a crummy week. I'm sorry.

    What about guinea pigs? Did you see the guinea pig armored warrior?
    http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.fr/2014/02/chainmail-sweatshirt.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are very cute guinea pigs. I liked your sweatshirt, too.

      My husband sent me a picture of a squirrel in a horse head feeder- If I can find its provenance and a link, I'll post it. I'm quite open-minded in my acceptance of cute animals...

      Delete
    2. Thisbe7:28 PM

      That's an Archie McPhee product:

      http://www.mcphee.com/blog/2014/02/27/check-out-that-horse-headed-squirrel/

      Delete
  6. This is really interesting. I've been talking a lot lately with (and about) a genderqueer friend who doesn't identify as either male or female, and prefers the pronoun "they"...which is irritating for grammatical reasons, but has been making me think a lot about my own gender identity. Especially after some extended conversations with a transgender friend that made me realize just how separate gender and sexuality can be. And how hard it makes things when you go against our cultural norms.

    And now there's this post which is making me realize that my personality and conversational style is more typically male (I'm an INTP if you're into Myers Briggs types) and that this is probably why I got along so much better with boys than girls growing up, and have only in the past few years managed to acquire a few female friends. I've always felt totally comfortable in an all-male setting...and often very uncomfortable in the presence of other women...which made being a new mom incredibly difficult. And yet...I still consider myself female. Identity is weird.

    Good luck figuring out the management consulting stuff. I have no useful input aside from noting that managing a lab is hard! And very little support exists for most of the people doing so. In my field the lab manager is often a fairly junior position with no potential for decent pay or promotion...and yet this is the job I have lined up to start as soon as I finish writing my bloody thesis because it is a ton of fun and I'm really good at it. Although it will be an MR lab I'm managing not a wet-lab...but they have some things in common. I'd definitely love to hear your thoughts on the topic so I do hope you wind up posting them at least semi-publically.

    /end thesis procrastination

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous4:17 PM

    Hi Cloud, Here's my 2 cents -- the thing that stood out for me is that you are earning half or more of the family income. Maybe best to stick with the job you have despite its difficulties while looking for something better. Hope things get better. - S

    ReplyDelete
  8. I too work in a pretty male dominated field - although I suspect not as bad as yours. When I started my current job last year, I was talking to someone and I realised that for 15 years, I have managed not to join a new team that I was the only woman on. Each time I have worked for a boss who had at least two, maybe even three women on his/her (mostly his) team. It hasn't been deliberate, but it has really worked out for me. At my level, in my industry, it is probably only 5-10% female, so it isn't all that easy to do that.

    Maybe rather than making the professional switch is there a way you can make a company switch that stops the contrast being quite so stark? Or maybe I'm just lucky in what I've found in my field.

    Having that critical mass of women means that we are more likely to be judged on our merits as people, rather than as gender representatives. Although I still occasionally got people calling it a "catfight" when I disagreed with one of my colleagues.

    Good luck. I hope you can wend your way through it all somehow.

    ReplyDelete
  9. scantee8:56 AM

    Can you keep your current job but emotionally check out until it's a better time for you to leave? Still keep a high level of performance but decide to not care or be too emotionally invested in workplace politics. I've found that this approach has worked well for me in the past. It's not viable long-term but I find I can bear things for a good amount of time (at least a year) if I've told myself that this is temporary and that I don't have a particular investment in the going-on that everyone else seems to get so worked up about.

    I have a very male communication and personality and it's been a source of great consternation to me for, well, forever I guess. I would love to have more close female friends but I've never really been accepted as part of a group of women. I have a few close friends that are women but they are all from separate parts of my life and have no connection to each other so I've never experienced the comfort of having a group of good female friends.
    Also, as a middle-aged woman married to a man, jealousy and suspicion from other women make it hard to start new friendships with men.

    ReplyDelete

Sorry for the CAPTCHA, folks. The spammers were stealing too much of my time.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...