Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

I am not a robot, I just play one at work

This morning as I checked out the news feed on my LinkedIn account, I came across a post by a recruiter relating her experience with a candidate. She mentioned how she contacted the candidate with a position opening and he responded back with a list of demands instead of first saying “hello” or “thank you.” The recruiter attempted to align the candidate with basic etiquette for such exchanges — namely that the interview starts within the first contact and it’s a good idea to be polite. I would have taken a different approach, but I understood the message she was trying to get out. However, it’s what was in the comments section that compelled me to write this article.

I don’t know about you, but a lot of times I read articles just so I have a frame of reference for braving the comments section. This is where you shake your head in disbelief that educated adults that have professional jobs are actually saying these things on the internet — things they’d never say face to face. In this particular post, the writer was a female technical recruiter and after scrolling down to the comments, the first one I saw was written by a gentleman rehashing a disappointing and far too-common phrase.

…stop being so emotional…

If you are a woman in any male dominated industry you’ve probably heard some version of this phrase. But let’s think about this for a second: what’s wrong with having emotion? We should be able to work with a mix of ages, gender, culture religion, etc. and not have to become robotic to do so — humans have emotion.

I had an experience where one of my web developer colleagues was angry that my idea on a bug fix for our web app was chosen over his and he said under his breathe “what would you know you’re just a woman.” After he said that, I explained to him why his code wouldn’t work for our particular issue and if he had any suggestions on how to improve my code I was open to hear it. He got so noticeably upset we ended the meeting early. Considering how unprofessional his comment was towards me I decided to discuss the situation with my manager and just for context I’ll mention my manager is a man. My manager said, “oh he was probably angry about something, don’t get so emotional over it.” I was pretty shocked and thought, now wait a minute — my co-worker was allowed to be angry and show that emotion towards me, but if I was upset about his unprofessional outburst then I am the one being “emotional?”

I still don’t understand the rationale behind this phrase. Are women considered too emotional in male dominated industries because we are women, or is it because anger is the only widely accepted emotion?

I can’t find the post by the recruiter anymore, so I assume she deleted it based on the backlash. If I could give advice to anyone feeling the needs to utter the phrase in a professional environment “you’re being too emotional” I would say don’t…just don’t. If emotions truly are running too high, then give feedback on specifically what is inappropriate. But if it’s just basic human emotions showing, then recognize the real issue and provide feedback on solving that issue and not put the main focus on suppressing emotions.

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