Because interacting with women in the workplace may be strange and different for many men in the tech industry, we’ve developed the following quick FAQ to help determine what is and is not appropriate behavior. Hopefully this will help mitigate any chauvinist, asshole, or generally sleazebag tendencies.
Why are there women in my workplace all of a sudden?
Women, contrary to what you might have heard in the media or from several current presidential candidates, are capable humans with an intellectual capacity equal to men. Although social activism and outside pressure might have resulted in an increase of women in your workplace, their abilities aren’t new—just the modest recognition. Essentially, women should have been there all along, and just because they are appearing now in somewhat larger numbers isn’t a signal of a problem. Remain calm.
If a female co-worker makes a mistake, it has something to do with her gender, right?
No. Just like having a penis isn’t the cause of your code compiling error, having a vagina has no bearing on a person’s ability to do their job. Casual comments implying this, especially for cheap laughs in a room full of men, is pretty shitty.
But what if she’s really hot?
Actually, still no. Contrary to almost every video game or sitcom, physical appearance is not relevant to this matter. At no point should her visage or silhouette be a factor in determining the causes of success or failure.
If you aren’t sure about this, take a notepad and pen, stand in front a full-length mirror, and take a good look at your naked body. On the notepad, make two columns titled “good” and “bad.” Then, assign all of your physical features, front, side, and back, to the appropriate column. Spend the rest of your day trying to map the results to success in your role.
I work with a woman but she is an administrator/assistant. Doesn’t this mean that she’s basically my mom, except I don’t have to show her any respect?
People in administrative roles, men and women, serve a very important function. Because you have worked in a male-dominated industry for so long, no one may have ever pointed out that you are completely incapable of handling multiple tasks at once. In fact, this is the reason the role of assistant was invented: it’s more efficient to have someone else dedicated to doing 90% of your day-to-day work, freeing you up to give laser-focused attention to the remaining 10%.
As you finish your project, your assistant or team administrator will handle all other tasks including, but not limited to: your schedule, your team’s schedule, on-boarding new employees, organizing work events, relaying messages, sorting and prioritizing email, prioritizing tasks, restocking complimentary snacks, ordering and managing office supplies, scheduling and facilitating building maintenance, booking meetings, providing refreshments for meetings, organizing the holiday party, maintaining the office facilities budget, coordinating interview schedules across multiple teams, and whatever else you “don’t have time to do” because you have to do only one thing.
What if I’m attracted to a woman I work with? What’s the best way to let her know?
This one is straightforward: if you are a man and you have sexual feelings towards a female co-worker, it’s almost certain she’s already painfully aware. She’s been a woman in a male-dominated industry her entire life. If she’s interested, she’ll let you know.
If you can’t figure it out, or if she has resisted your advances, follow these steps:
1. Let it the fuck go.
That is all.
An assertive woman is a bitch, right?
No. You are. Get over it.
Louis is a Chicago-trained writer and comedian with beautiful hair, a pretty good face, and an abundance of modesty. With 10 years in technology and 15 in writing and producing comedy, his work can be read on www.cagematch.org, www.mcsweeneys.net, and numerous dismayed Facebook users’ walls (before being hastily deleted). He currently lives with his similarly gay boyfriend in the dystopian hellscape of Silicon Valley.
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