I am not like anyone else

Many articles read about women’s role in business or technology, or the lack of it. Every excuse heard – the women aren’t qualified enough, they want to pay attention to their kids, they are too emotional, they lack confidence, they just need to work harder, they need to be more like a man. Enough!

We women are not all the same. Some of us have more aspirations for our children than ourselves. Some of us have ambition. Some of us have both, with not enough hours in the day. Some of us are students. Some of us are teachers. Some of us are both. We are individual people – same as anyone else.

A college professor in IIT (no less) once said to me –

What’s the point of educating girls to be engineers? You are just going to go have kids.

He never asked the same question of countless male engineers who never designed anything or built anything. Far too many of them became Investors. 18 years later, after having two kids, building many websites and educational apps, I ask –

What is the worth of a society that values moving money around more than it values caring for its next generation?

Having worked in corporate America for too long… I know it’s worth a lot of money, and very little happiness.

Corporations are changing… for the worse. The cubicle walls have come down. And now we are packed like chicken in smaller and smaller spaces. Only important conversations are whispered. Only whispered conversations are important. The cronies are no women. The women have no cronies.

Assuming that we should all aspire to rise in corporate ranks is a man’s idea. Assuming that we should all work all the time is a man’s idea. Assuming that women are treated fairly is a man’s idea.

If you want happiness, don’t be like a man. Aspire to something better. Discovering what that is… is a journey. Enjoy the journey. Don’t be like anyone else.

See also –

2 thoughts on “I am not like anyone else

  1. Not human is the same. At the individual level, we all have our differences. At home we’re our own special snowflake.

    Having worked in the corporate world you might know better that corporations care for themselves. A lot of effort has been put to understand new techniques for modern corporations in order to value the employee (Lean Manufacturing and Engineering for example). Is that problem gendered?

    Blaming it on men is throwing all that work away. In the end the problem wasn’t the corporate world, it was men. Mr. Toyoda should have employed only women instead of finding out what makes an excellent employee, team and company. (Sorry for the Irony).

    Thus instead of talking about problems in the corporate world it will become a women vs men dialog where men, as always won’t be invited.

    We’re all together in this world, I might recommend some systems thinking.

    • The problems are certainly more complex than just men vs. women. There is family vs. single men or women. There is also white vs not-white – perhaps bigger given the recent diversity disclosures from Google and Facebook. Having an excellent employee is also multi-faceted. What may be excellent in one is not in another. Clones are not the best employees. Hiding behind ones ego and repeating the erroneous idea that we do well in tech only because we’re the best, is definitely not the answer to these complex issues.

      Having nurturing team managers when I was pregnant with my kids made for a strong bond with my team – men and women. Those managers were female. They gave me enough confidence in my career to now help others. I know too many other women who were not as lucky. Having a pragmatic lecturer who teaches step-by-step from the basics makes a difference to some of my students. They understand and are not scared to ask questions anymore. Those students are female. Other than these few isolated instances, I am as little a part of the tech-world as my customers.

      Can you not imagine that how you experience the tech-world is not how I experience it? The only way you can understand my isolation in tech is if you moved to a place with an alien language and culture. You’ll understand that men in tech are sometimes superficially nice to me, because I am an alien – curiously different. But, on anything that matters, I am always in the wrong. I am not one of you, and you protect your own first.

      I foolishly fought too long to fix tech companies. This post was never about fixing tech corporations. It was about acknowledging I don’t belong. I will build my own – not like anyone else.

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