Friday, August 11, 2017


As in how you're wired. Megan McArdle, explaining why she left the tech field early in her career:
No, the reason I left is that I came into work one Monday morning and joined the guys at our work table, and one of them said “What did you do this weekend?”

I was in the throes of a brief, doomed romance. I had attended a concert that Saturday night. I answered the question with an account of both. The guys stared blankly. Then silence. Then one of them said: “I built a fiber-channel network in my basement,” and our co-workers fell all over themselves asking him to describe every step in loving detail.

At that moment I realized that fundamentally, these are not my people. I liked the work. But I was never going to like it enough to blow a weekend doing more of it for free. Which meant that I was never going to be as good at that job as the guys around me.
McArdle is now a successful writer for Bloomberg. And good for her. She found her people and she has prospered.

The current contretemps involving Google and its highly public firing of one of its workers, James Damore, because he shared his opinion a little too freely, is an example of trying to force a culture that would otherwise happen organically. You can read the memo that got Damore fired here.

It's always seemed common sense to me -- do what you love and, if you can get paid for it, even better. My day job involves writing, but it's supervisory and in the main, I spend much of my day trying to remove obstacles from the path of the other writers on my team. I'd prefer to write more, but it turns out I'm good at managing the work of other writers. So that's what I do. It's how I'm wired.

Google's corporate culture is currently going through a period where they are trying to rewire their people. It will not end well.


R.A. Crankbait said...

I've been in the "Corporate Communications" field nearly 40 years, either for external or internal readers, and often both. When I started, it seemed that the M/F ratio was about 50/50. I could see it where I worked, and especially at association conferences. This ratio has moved steadily upwards over the decades to where I am distinctly in the minority. In my present job, the ratio is females by 3 to 1, including all the management positions up to VP (and the CEO of our global company is female). If I go to an association meeting, the attendees are probably 90% female. I haven't felt any discrimination as a result; it's just the nature of the business and skill-set that has attracted women and allowed them to thrive.

Mr. D said...

Exactly, R.A. I’ve noticed that tendency in corporate communications as well. The skew is decidedly female, as is also the case in the human resources field. And we aren’t seeing many efforts to address the sex ratios at colleges, which for many schools are now 60/40 female, or even more. What we address and what we don’t address tells the tale.

R.A. Crankbait said...

And when are we going to address the gender imbalance in elementary education?

Mr. D said...

And when are we going to address the gender imbalance in elementary education?

Wait, you want intellectual consistency?

Bike Bubba said...

Or end the racial imbalance in the NBA and NHL....and Olympic swimming, and Olympic track, and....oh, for cryin' out loud, can they just shut up a little while and let me watch the games and races?