This video inspired a flood of memories for me: Women Overvalue Themselves – TFF Episode 39 by Janice Fiamengo.
When I got into technical writing, in the ’80’s, in the computer software and hardware industries, it was mostly male-dominated and engineers. I got in as more and more women did the same. Meanwhile, male technical writers started to move into multimedia or web design. I am not an engineer but I did very well in terms of my prestige and pay grade in the field in terms of single-source design and otherwise improving accuracy and efficiency in the markets where I worked. Whereas according to my interpretation of studies cited in the video, women in tech might be overpaid, in my case I had stock options, raises, performance reviews, letters from customers, letters of reference, and even awards as evidence that I was worth every penny. I would read the specifications and internal documentation produced by engineers, examined the product, and then produced a list of questions which I would walk through the company in order to obtain the answers, almost entirely from men, followed by outlines, drafts, and review copy which I would circulate until highest possible degree of confidence (with yours truly often being that final arbiter in a small company with tight release schedules) was achieved.
I would try to be both charming and efficient about my work, and since I learned fast, would quickly gain broader respect throughout the company such as to be somewhat of a curiosity if not an internal design, development, and quality assurance resource, a position which I found personally gratifying. However, although customers would write letters about how pleased they were with my output I would resist invitations to meet them. Since I considered it my job to find out all of the skeletons in the closet of a product but either frame them as desirable, list them for future resolution in release notes, or pretend they didn’t exist, according to management directive, I wasn’t sure how well I would stand for anything like customer interrogation without caving and otherwise betraying my employer.
Throughout my career, although I was attractive enough to have a very active dating and romantic life, I never received anything that could be even broadly called “sexual harassment” on the job. There were a few hamhanded requests for dates which I turned down, but no negative results. Furthermore, any “shaming” was usually in terms of competitors for my position or similarly unholy objectives having nothing to do with misogyny or “patriarchy”, and I would often rise to those challenges such as to turn the tables. I stood by my work even taking blame where I had failed or made a mistake but usually triumphing in such disputes, often with the backing of management or administration (or whoever realized how much money I had saved the company when lesser writers were replaced by me). My “self esteem” was developed according to results and good will not some sort of government-paid or media-driven initiative. My female coworkers however often had different and conflicting or even Machiavellian agendas.
However, I am not representative of women in tech because not only did I have no ambition to have children, I wasn’t personally sexually attracted to geeks without game. Those that had “it” I found intimidating and besides they usually had more pussy being thrown at them than they could handle, so I didn’t bother with them to the point of outright resisting providing the professional favors solicited by them, unless there was a professional quid pro quo. Whereas the women were offering no such favors in their guile to obtain “chivalry” even from me, “because you’re so smart!”
Such interruptions from female coworkers prompted me to produce internal FAQ guides on how to use one’s computer and a pile of them sat on both my desk and the IT manager’s of various companies. Interesting it was usually the IT manager who possessed the most game and thereby we would usually form a professional and personal alliance in order to protect each other’s productivity from female poaching.
Further separating me from my female coworkers was that I had no desire to move into a management or administrative role. I just liked the technical writing work itself whereas training others usually amounted to being downsized in favor of one’s trainee. I saw this exact effect happen to others, often to my inadvertent benefit.
It was women who held back my profession, in my view, and it was women who lowered standards of technical writing such that it largely became an offshored or HB-1 visa profession, or eliminated altogether in favor of hands-on training and call centers in many of the high-end specialized markets in which I worked.
As much as I may tout all my accomplishments and achievements, professional success was no substitute for a committed relationship with a man. It interfered with same until I was found ripe for the picking by the criminal con artist I married, given my degree of burying myself into my professionalism at the expense of feminine and romantic attributes.
One of the greatest gifts that Axel gave me was to apply to me one of his skills in “feminizing” me. I suppose I felt insecure about my femininity given an effectively abandoning mother, which I imagine is a state of affairs that is increasingly common as mothers either heed the siren call of professional success at the expense of their children’s lives or have no choice but to work for someone else. To Axel, I was woman enough to keep his house and wardrobe in order, cook for him, and even assist him on the job from time to time, as well as, of course, to obey him completely sexually, socially, and every other way as his “number one” and the sole holder of the title, “Axel’s submissive”. (The others were “play partners.”) It was a heady and entirely positive and healing experience, particularly after my experiences with my husband and the trauma of Venezuela. Axel was a very positive Svengali for me even though we both felt that I was a work in progress that he would not be able to complete given that he was dying.
I share a lot of war stories with men in terms of our bad marriages. My own marriage has more in common with the nerdy male taken advantage of by the female siren than it does with any woman I know. This situation could well have been a consequence of my own insecurity about my femininity (other than purely sexual traits which of course were validated regularly). I still have some insecurity about my femininity albeit I suppose it has developed into mostly disdain for my peers, as well as anger about the state-of-affairs which my feminist peers have wrought to my personal detriment as well as to the detriment of everyone else.
On the job, a fair portion of my female coworkers were on the prowl for easy romantic marks themselves in technology companies, doing little actual work themselves and otherwise adding more drama to the workplace than productivity, or using their wiles to their advantage in sales and marketing which at least was a net benefit to the company. In fact, I got started in tech in sales and marketing myself. It was perceived to be advantageous to take me to trade shows and otherwise capitalize on my youth and good looks. However, I didn’t enjoy that at the time. I think that perhaps I would enjoy such work more now but only if it was a product that I could believe in, such as a boutique cigar brand or nutritional supplement perhaps rather than a high-tech product produced under the corrupt circumstances of which I became painfully aware during my career as being epidemic to the computer software and hardware industries.
It would seem that for the benefit of women who simply want to meet men in tech, and for the benefit of men who welcome them, a better solution than employing these women would be to have “mixers” where nerdy men can meet women off the clock. Such mixers would allow for dating that at the least is not interfering with the real work that needs to be done. That would separate such women from the Feminists who want all the chivalry and privileges of being a woman but not providing any real value for them—not sufficient productivity nor even sex.
For me it was always about the work. For some reason, when my intellectualism is engaged I am less likely to feel sexual not more. To engage my sexual side it is prose not specifications that has a higher rate of success. I cannot see how it would have been possible for me to produce the quality output that I did in the midst of emotional drama within the workplace. On the contrary, my workplace was a retreat from the drama of my marriage. As my marriage developed in horrific fashion I threw myself even harder into my career, hoping that more money would improve life at home. It didn’t.
Moreover, since women in the workplace it would seem largely thrive on drama I would make efforts to avoid them too. Today as well I tend to avoid the drama of women. This would significantly reduce my chances of being “a third wheel” in an existing relationship, except perhaps as a mere sideline or “consultant”. I’ll make an exception for sex workers and genuine “sluts”. I get along with such women just fine.
Most women, rightfully and biologically, are more interested in their children’s lives than the bottom line of the employer and therefore any manipulative urging into the tech professions while dangling the possibility that they might meet “Mr. Right” while disrupting the productivity hurts everyone. It even hurt me by association, dragging down all women right along with them, and I was very successful professionally until my job was offshored. I have no sympathy for women trying to disrupt the “boys’ club” unless it’s “Ladies Night”. I’ll make an exception for women like me and lesbians who just want to get the job done such as to enjoy romance on their own time. We didn’t need “parties” and all the crap that the largely female Human Resources departments devised. After all, we were salaried and therefore expected to get the work done not eat crappy catered buffets.
I wonder how many women in tech who “overvalued” themselves in the surveys mentioned in Janice Fiamengo’s video were hired simply for their overall demoralizing and reduced productivity in the workplace effects, such as to short the company stock or psychologically prepare employees to train their offshore replacements.
I wonder sometimes if I were to convert Caprizchka to a money-making venture and otherwise approach my blog (and books) with a more professional edge, would that help or hurt my romantic chances? On one hand the risk is inside me in that I tend to compartmentalize my intellectualism from my sexuality; however, that hasn’t worked out so well for me in terms of enriching the pockets of executives, investors, and my criminal husband, and meanwhile here I am poor and neither really working nor romantically involved. Should I enrich my finances however that’s sure to attract even more con artists than I do now. Simply being reasonably healthy-looking, obviously educated, and being a White Middle Class American Woman does that anyway. I’m honestly at a loss.
I think sometimes that what I need is to be hypnotized and brainwashed to my own interest and specifications this time. For instance, if I could be remolded to resemble an Eastern European woman (for which I obviously already have an interest given my moniker) then maybe I would both be more likeable and more con-artist-resistant at the same time. I’ve spent plenty of time in Saxony and I look the part of an East German at least well enough for passerby therein to ask me for directions. (However, that happens to me just about everywhere. I look like I know where I’m going I guess.)
I have also thought about hiring a professional matchmaker or attending something like charm school. Readers are welcome to apply their recommendations for my future direction. I’m not too proud. Thanks!