Work sent me to the Boston area for the week to help out with my OKC project (only with our Boston engineering staff). I’ve never been to MA before, so this is a nice little adventure for me. It got off to a bad start – Delta and the black hole of Atlanta (yes I know, I should have expected this) lost my luggage. Or rather severely delayed its arrival. I blamed this, of course, on the fact that I was one state over from my friend who always loses her luggage (unless she’s going on a trip with me). Hey, I passed on my freak magnet-ism to her. She lost my luggage. Ok?
Hotel is ok – its some local conference/inn kinda place. Found a pool to swim at. There haven’t been any sightings of freaky people swimming in street clothes or with full-on snorkel gear, so that’s cool. I’ve had frost on my windshield both mornings, which makes me happy.
So, today at lunch, there was an organized “Women’s Leadership [Something or other]” meeting. I suppose some people have realized that there’s not a whole lot of women in upper management company wide and some women at HQ have decided to have monthly meetings about women’s issues. And since this was going on during my visit, I got to sit in. They did talk about some interesting things. Such as how most women have a hard time saying “I want” when it comes to career objectives (like I want this project/role/promotion). And many women don’t get the recognition they deserve b/c they don’t have an advocate. So there was talk of a mentoring network, monthly meetings for this group, etc etc. It was actually not as cheesy as it sounds. And you know, they had really good points. I really would love to have a mentor and someone to be my role model. I think I would work a lot harder and have a much better attitude at work if I had a mentor. And if I worked in this office, that would definitely be possible. But I don’t – with the exception of one Sr Mgr (who is clueless and I really don’t consider her a role model in anything except panicking or ass-kissing) I am the most senior female technical person in our office. And besides me, we have 4 other technical women – all of which are younger than me. And I’ve asked for a mentor and was told by my supervisor that I wouldn’t get any one person as a mentor, that everyone on staff could be my mentor. Which I suppose is true to an extent, except for the fact that I work with a bunch of anti-social freaks who wouldn’t know how to mentor a hole in the wall. And the lady I’m working here in MA with made some comment on how Houston is a hot-bed of opportunity. And here I am getting ready to quit that hot-bed. I suppose that if I stick around another year, things would be better (maybe?). And I wish that maybe I’d met these people a year ago instead of a day ago – because then maybe my situation would be different. I really get along with these people and they make me feel like I’m smart and capable and valuable. Unlike my Houston coworkers. But that’s why I’m looking at moving on – to a place that’s going out of their way to hire me and make me feel like an asset.
Anyways, some interesting things came out of that lunch. A lot of companies out there are trying to grow. And lets face it, half of the work force out there is comprised of women. And most companies in my line of business are mostly men. And one of the things my generation specifically takes into account when shopping for a job is how many women work at the company and what positions are they in. Its something I definitely look for – and have yet to find. To the point where if I find a place that has a LOT of women, I think it’s a freakish place and want to run. But if companies want to grow, they have to at least put front a “women friendly” face. But I can’t help but think to myself that these women friendly places are weaker next to their tougher more manly counterparts. Like where I am now in MA, someone put their Avon catalog in the women’s bathroom. Avon! Blech! At my Houston office, we’re lucky if the bathroom works!