Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Support Your Delusion

Work isn't much better, but my perspective of it all is. This work is fucking hard and I don't make much money. In fact I took a hefty pay cut to take my current gig. My rent increased and now I have to keep something alive everyday, so that increased my expenses. I have car. I pay for internet. The weather isn't as wonderful as it was in Oakland and the kale doesn't look like kale here. So what I get to spend on consuming things in order to feel better about how hard my job is has decreased. In other words all my stresses went up in one fell swoop, but the possibility of what I get to accomplish through my work is closer to the change I wish to see in the world and what I wish to be part of achieving. I also get to live in New Orleans. A place where I finally feel at home.

As I sat for about an hour in the Apple store in Metairie, I got to catch up on my New Yorker reading. In the July 11 magazine, Sheryl Sandelberg was featured. She is the Chief Operating Officer for Facebook. The article is about women in the tech industry and the low number of women in high executive levels. One section stood out for me, because I know I spend a lot of time doing it. Especially in rough times like I'm facing now.

Here is an excerpt:
On listening to a speech called Feeling Like A Fraud: "'I thought it was the best speech I'd ever heard, she recalls. 'I felt like that my whole life. ' At every stage of her time in school, Sandberg thought, I really fooled them. There was 'zero chance,' she concluded, that the men in the other room felt the same."

On women's self doubt: "Sandberg says she eventually realized that women, unlike men, encountered tradoffs between success and likability. The women had internalized self-doubt as a form of self-defense: people don't like women who boast about their achievements. The solution, she began to think, lay with the women. She blamed them more for their insecurities than she blamed men for their insensitivity or their sexism."

In early June I wrote an email to a good friend, where I stated, "i got another job offer from [another person] that quit. (s)he is starting her/his own shop at [insert awesome organization here]. (s)he said that he(r) will have room to grow it and (s)he wants to bring me on when it gets going. i have no idea, clue why these people think i can do anything, but I'm willing to support their delusion. maybe that's what i should say to people when they say nice things to me. ' i support that delusion'." I wrote all of this with a laugh of course. Because I know it's ridiculous, but it runs through my brain everyday regardless. And turns out it does for most women too.

As I get some years and experience under my belt I'm starting to realize that the things that run through my brain are often less about who I am as a person and more about the falsehoods society throws at you about who you are that I've been naive enough to fall for over the years. I know these things are true. Just like I know the work that I do is incredibly difficult and just because I struggle doesn't mean I'm not succeeding. I also know that men don't usually think of these things. They think, damn I'm hot. Damn I'm smart. Damn I'm talented. Where does that come from?

The article also mentions Sheryl's TED talk. I watched it when it first came out. It's worth a look. 
She discusses in more depth why there are so few women executives.

After an hour wait at The Apple Store i have a new keyboard, confirmation there is nothing wrong with my computer after 3 years, confirmation that Apple will refuse to do anything with my laptop after 5 years, and new speakers since my three year old laptop speakers are failing already.

hot, humid, and hazy,

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