How do we know if your work is good if we can’t see you in the bathroom next to us?
Finance needs face-to-face interactions. You need to develop human trust along with conventional technical understanding.
Random very bad manager on twitter
My friends. This claim – that people cannot have successful careers unless they are in the office with their co-workers – is moot for me, as I hope to be part of The Great Resignation until I can get on Medicare, when I will devote my time to fostering cats and volunteering in literacy programs.
(By then, I hope we will be able to – voluntarily – see each other in person again. By then, I hope everyone vaxxable will realize that Fox news and the Former Guy lied to them and that vaccines are GOOD and that if nothing else, they won’t get normal life back until they suck it up.)
You know what face to face interactions do?
They perpetuate privilege.
They perpetuate systemic racism.
They perpetuate systemic sexism.
I hear the sorrowful cries of, “But how will people develop relationships – how will they develop trust – if they are not in the office?”
I don’t know. By talking to people? The same way you do in the office?
I spent seven years in two different jobs working with people around the world, most of whom I never met in person. Or, if we did meet in person, it wasn’t until we had been working together for a while.
I developed relationships with them.
It is possible to develop a relationship via the phone, or skype, or zoom, or whatever the means of communication.
You just have to show a tiny bit of interest in the other person.
Me? I have to hold back. I am nosy and want to know everything about everybody, but I don’t let myself ask too many questions because then people think you’re weird.
But I do want to know. Are you married? Kids? Where did you grow up? How many siblings? What did you study in college? What do you do for fun? What do you want to do when they retire? Where did you go on your last vacation? What are you reading?
See? You probably wouldn’t want all that coming at you at once, but I WANT TO KNOW ALL THE THINGS.
Here is how you develop trust, FINANCE INDUSTRY: Don’t screw people over. Sheesh.
(At a more practical level: Do what you say you will do. Meet your deadlines. Help your coworkers. This is not a complicated concept.)
I hear some of you saying, “WTF Texan? What do you mean face to face perpetuates privilege, racism, and sexism?”
People like to promote – and this is not always a conscious decision – people who are like them. The people they pee next to. The people they golf with. The people they’re in the locker room with.
How often do white male executives in the US pee with golf with, or change clothes with women and/or people of color?
In 2021, a whopping 8.1% (that “.1” is critical, I guess, when the number is that small) CEOs of Fortune 500 companies were women. (Fortune)
There were only four Black CEOs in the same group, a percentage that I am too lazy to calculate but (4/500) is very very small.
You know what work from home does?
It forces management to evaluate people on what they accomplish, not on how well a person can BS with the boss or on how familiar and comfortable the person seems to management.
Yes, I know the ability to schmooze and be political is necessary for some jobs.
But even if it is, it shouldn’t be the only thing. It shouldn’t be prized about actual ability, but that’s what seems to happen sometimes: the political people are valued over the competent people.
It’s not that everyone wants to climb the corporate ladder. But – it would be nice if those who do would have a shot.
(And also – even if you don’t want to climb the ladder, in many cases, you have to pretend that you do.)
When you evaluate people on what they actually do as opposed to what they look like, women are picked more often.
A number of studies have found that female-authored papers are accepted more often or rated higher under double-blind review (when neither author nor reviewer are identifiable).
Invisible Women, by Caroline Criado Perez
[A] number of orchestras adopted “blind” auditions whereby screens are used to conceal the identity and gender of the musician from the jury. In the years after these changes were instituted, the percent of female musicians in the five highest-ranked orchestras in the nation increased from 6 percent in 1970 to 21 percent in 1993.
This is not a new concept. When I was in grad school, my organizational behavior professor (thank you, Dr Janet Duckerich for teaching this to me), asked that we identify ourselves on our papers and tests by our social security numbers, not by our names.
She wanted to eliminate as much potential bias as possible, she explained.
What if management thought about how to serve customers and employees in the best way possible instead of about how to perpetuate power?
When you finally aren’t subject to drug testing at work but don’t know what to do next
I have never gotten high.
I’m not morally opposed to drugs. If you want to destroy yourself with heroin, go ahead. People destroy themselves with alcohol and that’s legal. Your body, your choice.
I think maybe it’s because I’ve never had the chance. That is, nobody has ever offered me any.
Except for that time in New York City, when I was 22 and a co-worker and I were walking to a club one night. A man in the corner looked at us – in our pink polos and khaki skirts – and said, “Smoke! Smoke!”
I was offended.
“DO I LOOK LIKE I SMOKE?” I asked my co-worker.
Turns out he was trying to sell, not trying to bum a ciggie.
I would like to try.
I would like to try getting high.
I would like to try getting high as long as it doesn’t involve needles. Or smoking. Or losing control of my actions.
Or if it would actually work and not just make me sick.
After a dental surgery, the doctor sent me home with 25 Vicodin tablets.
I took one right away because even though someone had just cut my gums open and done stuff in my mouth that required me to spit out blood, I was excited about the possibility of getting high. A new experience! An experience for which I had a prescription just in case I got tapped for random drug testing at work!
Twenty minutes later, I was throwing up everything in my stomach.
I didn’t touch vicodin again until years later when another doc prescribed it. I told him it made me throw up. He told me I needed to take it with food (information on the label that I had ignored because of course it didn’t apply to me and I had just had dental surgery so how was I supposed to chew?) and that my reaction meant I probably would not become addicted to it.
I tried it again.
It took away the pain but did not make me high.
(Also, it made me sleepy but wouldn’t let me sleep.)
So I still didn’t know what high was like.
I tried valerian. It’s supposed to help with hot flashes and is also supposed to help you sleep.
Didn’t work. I mean, I will never know if it works for the hot flashes because do hot flashes even matter if you can’t sleep?
Walgreen’s clerk: What’s the reason for the return?
Me: Well, valerian is supposed to help you sleep, but there’s the weird possible side effect that maybe two people in the whole universe might get that instead of making you sleep, it gives you insomnia and you’re wide awake at 1:00 a.m., wondering if you were a really bad person in your previous life and now you’re being punished. I am one of those two people.
Clerk: So I’m just going to select “other.”
Me: OK then.
A friend suggested I try melatonin to help me sleep.
I took one tablet and was up all night, ready to jump out of my skin.
I had always thought that was an odd expression and had wondered how it came about.
Now I know.
Now I know what it feels like to be ready to jump out of my skin.
I never want that feeling again.
If there is a weird side effect to be had, I will get it
If there is anything weird that can happen to someone – any bizarre, rare side effect, it will happen to me.
Lyrica, which cost $1,400 for a one-month supply – my co-pay was $140, made my hair fall out.
Topamax killed my appetite, which I liked, but also made the food I did eat taste awful and gave me double vision.
Blockers made me feel like my body was made of lead.
None of these stopped my migraines.
All I wanted was to be able to fall asleep at night and maybe not have hot flashes at 2 a.m.
A friend suggested CBD.
So I tried it.
The stuff I got at the CBD store didn’t do anything for me, I don’t think.
When I was visiting my mom in Colorado, I missed my chance to get some edibles with THC. Mostly, I suppose, because I was lazy and how do you ask your mom to borrow her car so you can buy pot?
Maybe I blew it. Maybe I needed something stronger than the Wisconsin CBD.
Maybe I need the Strong CBD.
So I bought some.
And have been trying it for the past ten days.
Every morning, Mr T asks me how I slept.
“I don’t know,” I’ve been telling him.
Because I still lie awake trying to sleep, but once I am asleep, it’s weird. I don’t even know how to describe it. I have memories of things happening in the immediate past but when I think deeply on them, I realize I might have been dreaming – that it didn’t really happen.
And even though it turns out that CBD helps many women who have bladder pain, it can sometimes cause bladder pain.
Guess which category I am in?
Awake, bladder discomfort, and bad dreams.
I think the universe is trying to tell me something.
Both “penis” and “pain” start with “p.” Coincidence? I think not.
The other night, Mr T sprained the top of his foot. Or something.
We are still in our COBRA election period (we don’t want to elect and pay the back premiums) and our ACA insurance doesn’t start for a week yet. So we do not have an official diagnosis because that would require going to a doctor and our doctor’s group won’t tell us how much an office visit costs and of course there is NO WAY we would go to the ER because that’s like giving a blank check to an alcoholic and pushing him into a bar or a liquor store, so we used the Doctor of Google to figure things out and it looks like a sprain, which isn’t something a doctor can do anything about anyhow.
Mr T sprained his foot.
I have never sprained anything, but I have broken my toe three times and I know these things can hurt.
But he spent the immediate post-injury time explaining his suffering to me VERY LOUDLY.
And he spent the next day sitting in bed with his foot elevated – which was the right thing to do – and explaining more of his suffering to me.
It was like a Man Cold. Only it was a Man Sprain.
I now know ALL THE PAIN THAT COMES FROM A MAN SPRAIN.
I have endured migraine headaches for days.
I have had menstrual cramps that made me throw up.
The people around me never knew.
You know why.
I stayed silent.
On Day 3 of a headache, if I mention it to Mr T, he will express shock. Why didn’t I tell him?
Because telling him doesn’t make the headache go away?
When I was in high school, my mom took me to the doctor for my cramps.
The only option the doctor gave me was birth control pills, which I thought (at the time) to be only for Bad Girls and I certainly was not one of those.
The doc did not attempt to convince my mom – who also had very painful periods – that this was a medical intervention and I spent the next few years just sucking it up.
It wasn’t until I was in college that another doctor offered ibuprofen to me. It was by prescription only back then and I was supposed to take 1600 mg at a time.
You were supposed to take it before your period started but of course I wanted to preserve the pills for when I actually did have cramps – I didn’t get them every month – so would wait until the cramps started to take them. They didn’t work so well as a catch up, so I still had bad cramps.
But I stayed silent.
I didn’t see a doctor about my headaches – which started when I was in junior high – until I was almost 40.
I thought everyone got headaches and having a headache was just part of life.
Yeah I was in pain – so what?
I got headaches and I took aspirin and sudafed – I thought they were sinus headaches – and joked about my sinuses but never complained about the pain.
I stayed silent.
I needed a biopsy for something. Bad periods, probably. By now, I was an adult and had jumped on the birth control bandwagon, only I had a hard time finding a formulation that did not give me unpleasant side effects.
By “unpleasant side effects,” I mean
a splotch of discoloration on my forehead so bad that complete strangers stopped me to ask me what was on my face
breakthrough bleeding (“Stick with it! It will stop!”)(It didn’t.)
still getting cramps.
Yay womanhood amirite?
Do you remember the image at the top of the page?
Wait. I’ll put it here again.
That’s the tool a doc uses when he places an IUD. I am guessing – docs and nurses, chime in here – it is also the tool he uses when taking a biopsy.
BTW, I am using “he” as my default pronoun for the doc here because I cannot believe a female doctor would do this to me. And the doc I had was male.
Anyhow – my doc warned me I might feel “a pinch.”
I passed out.
I stayed silent, but – I passed out from the pain.
My doc dismissed it. “You have a highly-developed vasovagal response,” he told me.
After a day in bed with his foot elevated, Mr T’s calf suddenly cramped.
“OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!” he yelled. “OOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!”
He was – LOUD.
I rolled my eyes.
It was a cramp.
Everyone has cramps.
“OW THAT HURTS!!!!!” he yelled.
And so on for the next 45 seconds.
Mr T did not stay silent.
I have only my own experience to draw from. I am one of the luckiest people in the world: I am white and educated with some degree of financial security. I am a woman, which makes me a little bit less lucky than a white man, but as a white woman in America, I am still at the top of the list compared to women in other parts of the world.
I know that.
But I also know that we women share – or seem to share – certain experiences, experiences we have simply because we are women.
Our pain is not taken seriously. Not in the US and probably not anywhere else.
It gets worse for Black women (for all Black people, actually), even in the US.
And maybe this is something I can help fix. I can’t solve period poverty. I can’t solve child brides.
I can solve human trafficking and domestic violence and rape in the US by paying attention to elections.
And maybe, we women in the US can solve the pain problem by getting loud. It’s the only way they’ll pay attention.