Balls to the Wall
In the era of egg freezing, don’t worry about mine
“You have plenty of time.”
“Maybe you should look into freezing your eggs.”
“Are you on birth control? Why not?”
“You can always adopt.”
“You can always get a sperm donor.”
“Maybe you should look into something more permanent for birth control.”
“Have you considered an IUD?”
If you haven’t already heard one (or all) of things, you are either a college intern or a man, because these are all things you will hear at some point in your career as a woman. And yet as inappropriate as they are, these are all things people think are appropriate to say to early 30’s professional women.
I’m a single, thirty-something-year-old woman working in the tech industry. In the past year, I’ve spoken at conferences, consulted startups, and achieved goals I could only dream of as a young, ambitious teenager and yet half of Silicon Valley seems unsure if having strippers at an office party is “okay,” airlines admit to having issues with women passengers being sexually assaulted on longer flights and questions around women even wanting to be involved in certain industries like tech or wall street bubble up constantly in this path of professional energy I’m constantly battling on the outside and within myself.
And while outperforming everyone is hard enough, there is this wave of offensive intrigue of my reproductive system that I just can’t seem to shake, particularly from men and it comes out in the weirdest ways in corporate settings, almost like a handicap.
“April, your biological clock is ticking!” they actually say (to my face), and in response, I smile politely on the surface and think to myself “time is actually on my side buddy, and I’m smarter than you.”
Feeling the “ovarian time bomb stare” (trademark pending) given to me professionally, I slide past the idea that domestication will make me less edgy in business, and remind myself that Hillary Clinton didn’t support Bill for all those years just so he could be President. She helped him because she was smart enough to understand that he had to do it before she could.
Well Hillary, thanks girl! Now I don’t need to marry a man and run his campaign to get to the top.
Adding Egg Freezing to your resume
Two years ago, I interviewed on Sand Hill for a position at a VC firm. I didn’t get the job. I’m not bitter about it, promise. During my interview, the man sitting across the table from me spent most of our time together raving about a trending new product he discovered on Product Hunt…and how I should really freeze my eggs. I was 28.
“You should freeze your eggs sooner rather than later,” he tells me, skipping the questions around my skills and what I could bring to the portfolio of companies at his fund. My ovaries became an actual topic of conversation for a good 20 minutes, although it was really more of a lecture. I’ll never know if the worry was professional or personal, but I left realizing for the first time in my life that my ovaries could be discussed in an office setting, and it felt weird. Could I start asking guys how big their dicks were while we refilled our coffee?
Later that same year, I made it to the final round of interviews for a new managing director position at a major retailer. They needed to acquire a bunch of new technologies ASAP, and I had previous experience at that particular retailer and experience prepping companies it had already acquired. I was confident I had the job, but at the final moment I was passed on. I was in such disbelief that I asked for a personal meeting with the main executive and decision maker of the company.
Over a 4 pm cocktail in SOMA he explained it was my age that got the other candidate selected over me.
“You are about what April…. 30? My daughter is the same age, so I know what its like. This is the time in your life where you be focusing on building a family.”
I was passed on for a professional role because of the mere thought — threat — of me getting pregnant.
So here’s the thing: my “weakness” is my strength.
Sure, I might be “taken down” professionally if I decide to rear children myself. It can make up for all the time guys might spend out drinking and at a night club. I know I might be taking some time off professionally in the future for children. It’s at least a possibility. But what do you think is happening in the meantime? Why do you think I’m busting my a** so hard? I’ve already looked at my professional schedule, already calculated the trajectory you are on, and I’m 100% planning to beat it under any circumstances.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is my ovaries aren’t what’s going to stop me professionally — I know how to move at a fast pace — nothing is going to stop me from my career other than myself. Not the sh*t eating grin on your face, nor the future diaper full of sh*t in my lap.
In the meantime, run fast, because it’s going to be balls to the wall.
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