Normally, I avoid "technical women's" events like the plague. Most of them discuss either how to be a man or how to find other women and seclude themselves from the evil, gross, stinky, sex-ridden, and sometimes creepy men in their workplace (or so the impression seems to be). So far, however, most of my experiences with working with men in IT and Sound Engineering (my first love) have been positive. Then again, I'm a bit of a tomboy at heart. I make friends easier with guys than most women - no drama, no super loud high-pitch squealing and/or screaming on excitement, they get right to the point when they speak (perfect for my attention span...or lack thereof), and being logically wired, most of what they say makes sense. Men are just mentally wired differently from women. And frankly, I feel that most women take on a sort of "victimized" mentality in the technical workplace by just automatically assuming that life is out to get them because they were born a woman. Albeit, it is not easy sometimes. It's even a little overwhelming at times when your thought process is not lined up with the rest of your team (i.e. left-brainers vs. right-brainers, process-oriented vs. detailed oriented). It's really not that bad though.
Needless to say, this women's luncheon was quite good (as was the food, though I'm pretty sure my table was served last). I enjoyed the panelists who were speaking. They gave good advice to those of us who had questions about working in the industry from how to deal with male family members who are not supportive to how to get the men at work to take us seriously. There was one question that I had that never got answered however, one of etiquette: I've never had so much problem working with men as I have dealing with their significant others. For instance, when I started working at the Help Desk, my manager's wife (who is also IT, but different department) gave me the evil eye for the first several weeks. It seems that after I became engaged, she's a great deal more friendly to me now. I've come across this before in the work place. I can't help it - I'm just naturally friendly. It seems that the best anecdote is communication. While there are still some women who are just naturally jealous, it usually at least helps to try to talk to the girl more than the guy while in the presence of both of them. I know I'm not alone though. When I told all the ladies at my table about this, they all were like, "Hey, that's my problem too! I thought I was the only one who dealt with that!" I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with that problem.
If you're a guy, how do you suggest you deal with this? If you're a girl, how do you deal with this? I'm interested in contrasting opinions.
'Til next time.