Chad Perrin: SOB

16 March 2008

A limited view can make a three foot radius look like the world.

Filed under: Cognition,Geek,Profession — apotheon @ 04:27

Back in skinny jeans: The real reason I left my career in tech

The real reason I left my marketing career in tech is because I got fed up with feeling like a sexual target every time I went to work, and especially at tradeshows and conferences where you add to the picture booze, partying, and “what happens on the road stays on the road” mentality. Since geeks like PowerPoint slides, here is a slide I did that illustrates just one example of how many times an attractive young woman working during one day or week at a technology tradeshow can get hit on, sexualized, and gawked at.

That’s one of the two most important selections from that weblog post. Here’s the other, from a comment in response to the original post:

My experience was really different from yours, and now I’m wondering why. Was it geography? The fact that I worked with programmers/designers versus marketing/sales? Naivety and blind luck? I don’t know.

That’s the key, really. Most people, when they experience something within the limited scope of their own limited lives, assume that the aspects of their experience are universal to some category of experience — they generalize from the specific to the general.

I’m not really sure, but I get the impression from this post, and some of the comments, that the author of this weblog (“Steph”) worked more with sales and marketing than people in actual technical jobs (an impression only strengthened by the, in my experience wholly inaccurate, statement “geeks like PowerPoint slides”). In my experience, the difference between sales/marketing in tech industries and actual professional geeks is like night and day. The former is made up of frat-boy attitudes where knowing all the latest buzzwords means you can “beat up” lesser men, and the latter is made up of people for whom the most important judgment of an individual is summed up by the words “Show me the code.”

Maybe my experience is no more universal than Steph’s. It’s possible. In addition to my own experience, however, I base my understanding on what I know of the experiences of others as well — including the SigO, who has worked in tech jobs for quite a while.

“Correlation does not imply causality,” as many have said many times before. The fact Steph worked in a tech industry (and yes, there are many tech industries — not just one) may not have been the reason for her experiences. Even if it was, it was probably specific to that industry. I think it more likely to have something to do with her particular slice of the industry (marketing/sales, corporate culture, the social orbits around her employers, et cetera).

What she describes as having happened is a terrible set of experiences. I don’t dismiss them as insignificant. I just think her attempt to blame “the tech industry” for all her woes is absurdly narrow and unrealistic.

All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License