On this women’s day, I, a woman in tech, analyzed myself. I analyzed my day-to-day life, my career, my motherhood, my married life, my everything. somebody may ask why. I did this because that’s what I like doing. Being self-critical is my first reaction to anything.
During this analysis, while making my review card, I realized this is how it all started. I joined a no-female team where I was welcomed very well initially but soon I started feeling the need to raise my voice in front of some team members. Soon I picked up a fight with a team member where he said I should be extra careful about not leaving my documents next to the printer or how I would have missed my task if he hadn’t reminded me. The last bit I really couldn’t take very well so I gave it back in stern voice that I would appreciate if he stops worrying about my tasks and focuses more on his. Thanks to being-critical nature of mine, I also thought what if it’s just a thing because I am not capable or not so good and not really because of me being a girl. But, soon a new girl on-board experienced the same behavior from another team member. That’s when I realized it’s not just me.
There have been various times where I feel obligated to work extra. I am a mom of a three-and-a-half year old and my husband travels often for work. I try really hard to keep up with work, my travel time, my son’s school and then chores. I sometimes work from home but instead of considering it a facility, I end up over doing it on those days. It becomes no-end-to-work day but still when I walk into my office, people do ask me if I have a set pattern of working from home or “so what days have you decided to work from home” or “were you on vacation”. The last one really drives me crazy. I am not sure to whom and what exactly I am trying to prove but I end up working sometimes 10 hours a day even when there’s no release.
Again, this is not everyone. I have some super supportive male team members who collaborate, listen, share and support in every aspect but then there are some who wouldn’t miss a chance or would not take you seriously just because you are a woman.
This is not the first company where I experienced this pattern. but the most important thing that I learnt from my current job is that changing the team or job is not gonna change people. I have to change myself. I have to be carefree, I have to stop worrying about proving myself to others, I have to stop being perfect, I have to accept that it’s ok to make mistakes in my Pull Requests. I accept feedbacks and reviews as gifts. I strongly believe that you should treat the person who gives you feedback but you need to understand the difference between feedback and sarcasm. Don’t give anybody the right to bring you down. Thankfully I have a super supportive husband who’s also in tech and who listens to every work story of mine. This evening when I told him about something which I din’t get right while coding some stuff and I am extremely disappointed in me, he said, “it’s ok to make mistakes sometimes. That’s how you learn. And it’s just a commit, why you want every single commit to be perfect”. That’s when I closed my laptop and asked myself WHY? Why do I do this to myself every single time? Why I feel the need to perform in every possible sprint, why I have to be a perfect wife, mom, coder, why I have to keep my house super neat and tidy, why kitchen platform needs to be cleaned every night, why I have a prestige to maintain, why its not ok for a girl to make mistake. It’s a general phenomenon that most of the women face at their work in spite of the industry. Trust me, people who say that it’s easy for girls, it gets so damn tough just because you think that it’s easy for us. How much ever we do, you make us feel the need to do extra. As I said before, there are some awesome men who look beyond your gender and believe in working and growing together but there are some who still would need another 10 Women’s day to understand this. Girls, stop being bothered by them and believe in yourself.
Celebrate this Women’s day by believing in yourself and enabling other women at your work.