Friday Sep 22
Apr
03/08
Women in IT: A Note from the Non-Booth-Babe Blogger
Updated on Tuesday, 12 August 2008 04:17
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Okay Alan! Your blog this morning  has cracked me up, I’ve definitely had a good giggle from it. I have to say though, I’m surprised, amused and embarrassed all at the same time. Blonde- yes, Blogger- yes… not sure about the other parts!

I may disagree on the photo comment. First of all, it’s really bad. Secondly, I’ve emailed responses to several of my readers’ comments and (much to my surprise) found they didn’t realize I was ‘a girl’. Shocking right? When they saw ‘Jennifer’ in my email signature they figured it out. So, I don’t know that the photo has any impact on readership, but I could be wrong. However, if you do read my blog because I’m female and you like the photo- I’m okay with that- you’ll still learn something ;)

Note to self: I definitely have to do something about that horrible photo! I’ve been procrastinating for a while and searching for a photographer and stylist to get some new ‘real’ head shots taken. I hate having my photo taken, so I’ll keep you posted on that.

Women in IT…

The timing of your post is amazing as well. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received several emails from fellow women in IT who wanted to make a connection, swap stories and find a commerad-ess, or two, in the world. I’ve even received postcards and written notes from thoughtful ladies who found my information online. I guess I never realized what a struggle some women have in the ‘man’s world’ of IT. I’m starting to realize it more, as I meet new friends and hear their war stories of moving up and gaining respect in the industry.

I’ve been lucky- I grew up in the IT industry and somehow managed to circumvent a lot of the ‘gender issues’. When I was about 16, I developed and taught computer and Internet-related courseware, and had to teach it to adults (and yes, they’re actually worse than the 2nd graders!) Around that same time, I was sitting on a state agency board as a SME on web usage and development.

I was young and a female (and blonde), so I most certainly had to prove myself and establish a repertoire to gain the respect of my peers; mostly middle-aged and older men who had been in the industry longer than I’d been alive.

Knowing what you don’t know…

Getting thrown in early certainly taught me valuable lessons. I made sure I knew my stuff inside and out, and conversely, I made sure I was comfortable asking questions on topics I didn’t know about. Part of the respect comes from ‘knowing what you don’t know’ and being able to admit it. I think I’m pretty good at that and it’s carried me far. :)   Plus, I had two great role models to learn from.

However it happened- through some combination of luck and hard work- I’m happy to be where I am. Our customers, partners and colleagues look to me for answers and insight. I know they trust me and and that’s an amazing feeling. It’s also what drives me to be the best at what I do, and to keep learning, studying and working at it.

They’ve given me their trust, and I try really hard to give them something back that’s equally as important.

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3 Comments
  1. Commentsplanetheidi   |  Thursday, 03 April 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Could fill this blog with stories of "A gurl in IT? Really? Golly…" But glad to report they’re getting rarer and rarer. Advice on the blog photo – make or have someone draw you. Heck, send me a nice picture and I’ll do it.

  2. Commentsdave   |  Friday, 04 April 2008 at 12:46 am

    Oh I think "hot blond blogger chick" is not inaccurate.

    Smart, astute, savvy, hot, blonde, blogger, chick fits you as well but it’s is a bit wordy and you’d probably hide your wallet. And I’m pretty sure I’ve seen other photo’s of you somewhere but can’t place it.

    oooo this is scary – just did a Google image search and the first faces to appear was Alan & Mitchel’s

    And Alan – perhaps we need to think why "hot" and "dumb" are associated. I’ve met a few hot women in IT – and they are pretty damn smart every one of them!

    From what I’ve seen in IT depts (not sure about coding or sales). I’ve not seen many gender based behavior (I’m a guy and might have missed it). Generally, them’s that "can do" are respected, and them’s that can’t are treated with derision – man or women. IT seems to be quite a meritocracy.

    YMMV

  3. CommentsMike   |  Monday, 07 April 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Jennifer,
    I actually disagree with the idea that (in general) a woman’s professional life is made more difficult because she is "a woman in a man’s world". I think if one is to make that claim one should quantify or give evidence of it, to avoid coming across as sexist in the opposite direction.

    I think society has moved on and left this ‘us and them’ notion behind (on the whole), particularly amongst the more intelligent groups in society.

    Worries and assumptions about whether your male colleagues are treating you differently could actually end up altering your behaviour and giving you an image that causes them to treat you in a way that you could then construe as those original worries and assumptions being true (if that makes any sense at all?).

    I do appreciate that there will always be exceptions to the rule, and that some women are treated badly because of their sex. I just don’t agree that this is as generalised an issue as this post makes it sound.

    I enjoy reading your blog though and would love to hear your toughts.

    Regards,
    Mike


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