Monday, April 3, 2017


What RuPaul says about identity here resonates with me. Take a look at my header sometimes - and playing with all the colors in the crayon box? Yes. That. Full audio of the interview here.

There is so much to unpack at this link. The main article is a fascinating view, but the fact is it took me to some personal places it frustrates me nobody ever seems to give a hang about. To wit: the juxtaposition of a woman professor being mistaken for a secretary (itself a fascinating word choice, ahem) and “There are any number of little indignities that do befall female professors” is, if not personally insulting, an interesting coincidence I frankly think is not one. It’s things like this that bring me to that “except the admin” place, and marginalize my not at all insignificant career and life choices. It’s things like this that lead me not to concern myself (“enough”?) about the gender pay gap, because admins get paid less than everyone else in any office, and we’re mostly women, and that’s the bed I seem to have made. I see no interest from anyone who’s NOT an admin in this, and so it’s hard for me to get on board complaints of other women getting paid less. My entire line of work gets paid less and nobody cares but me. Why am I supposed to freak out that other women get paid less for jobs men actually DO do more commonly? Oh, because those are real jobs.

Here's a great look at the way we look at stats and studies ... and the lenses that distort what gets seen after a study.

Heh - I do love a sarcastic take on The Wrongers. Take a lovely look at all the things you are probably messing UP! Repent! Or just smirk and shrug and laugh at those who ruin perfectly simple things for the rest of us. This one is the best, for (a) the absence of the supposed content (have to click another link - hey guys, you did it wrong!) and (b) the comments. Heh.


Colin Smith said...

When I first came to the States and got my "Green Card" (no, it's not green), the first work I took was temping. The only qualification I had that would mean anything to anyone was my Theology degree. While I could spend time trying to convince employers that such a degree has a wide range of applications, I decided to take the confidence I had with the written word gained by my education and sign up with temp agencies, with the hope of getting work as an Admin Assistant. I had no idea where it would lead, other than providing some income and valuable work experience. Clearly, my career path went elsewhere, but for the few years I spent in a couple of different offices, I learned to respect the (more-often-than-not) ladies who sat at their desks guarding the fort and keeping the ship afloat (to appropriately mix metaphores--the work demands such metaphor-mixing). The Admins I helped were hard-working, and often had to apply creative thinking to difficult situations. It wasn't all answering phones, setting up meetings, and making sure catering put the appropriate number of cheese danishes on the breakfast tray in Conference Room B. They were often the first point of contact for executives and clients. They were trusted with sensitive information, and had to keep tabs on who could know what, and how to keep information flowing appropriately. They had to know how to lay their hands on information required at a moment's notice, how to reach people, and who to call to get things done.

There are a number of professions I think are underpaid and undervalued. Yours, Diane, is one of them.

DLM said...

Most of us would be happy to make more money, but I try not to be resentful on that score. I am grateful for what I have. The things that chafe are more cultural than personal - comments like that juxtaposition I mention, the assumption that administrative work is "overhead" ...

I was thinking yesterday about Admins Day/Week/what-have-you. There's no such thing as Analysts Day or Actors Day or Bus Drivers day - we tend to save "special" days/times for the institutionally marginalized. Black History Month (as Morgan Freeman has asked, "when is White History Month? My history is not a month" - or something like that). International Women's Day. That sort of thing.

Granted, we have Bosses' Day, and Mother's Day was balanced out with Father's Day, but by and large the "Day" thing is inherently patronizing. And even the word patronizing speaks to power, doesn't it? Every year I get a flower or something, wince at how much money it cost and think I'd like to have THAT, spend a day at a Conference that says much of what you just did above, a bit of cheerleading for me, and go home with another flower. I DO it, why not take advantage. But I often tend to think about those people who DON'T get a "Day" and the wider implications.

I mentioned bus drivers above. NPR had a story this morning about a woman in real estate, she was an appraiser, and basically has been replaced by Google Earth and some apps/reporting. She is now a BUS DRIVER, and talks about it like she's a leper. At the end of the story, they tossed out a disclaimer, that of course bus drivers are nifty folk, but the disclaimer did nothing to affect the overall tone, which was: deaf in the extreme. THis manner of thinking is exactly what got us this president, but I won't trace that line.

I've been doing this for over 30 years. I apologized about my career for a while, but at this point I don't work for people who underestimate OR undervalue me. I am good as SHIT at what I do, pardon my French, and proud of that, and I enjoy it immensely. I probably get more out of my work than *most* of the analysts I've ever worked with all of whom get wildly better money than I but none of whom ever struck me as being quite completely as fulfilled in their work as I am. What I get out of my job is more than the money or the benefits. And those are enough, if not rich.

I haven't typed anything for anybody in a long time. It almost never comes up. Travel - I hardly touch it; there are apps for that. Meeting planning, I do; more often, I coordinate for my employer's University programs. I'm a relationship manager, and uppity to boot. I just kicked my Senior Director out of the way last week so I could talk to a set of managers in the field and ask 'em what is with a load of issues that come across my desk, to have a couple of those guys who've *overcome* said issues discuss their methods with the others, and to position myself to help the ones still struggling. I stalked into my SVP's office a week ago and told him we're going to have a team-building event that's not just an hour lunch at the holidays. I've put myself in the position of managing a major annual meeting for one of my division's segments.

DLM said...

Oh, I'll schedule stuff and all that. But I'm not your average bear, when it comes to being the admin. Even the other admins here have said to me I'm doing work that's way above the call of duty. I'd RATHER. Give me reporting and regular exposure to senior execs, y'all can have the travel worryworts and silliness about cosmetic details and so forth. I've got those covered too, but my boss knows when there's an actual project, he's taken care of.

I'm a project manager, a relationship manager, an innovator, a patootey-kicker, a spy and a lockbox. I communicate and facilitate a wide network. When I can't help, I know who can. One of my guys calls me a goddess.

And it's not my first time, nor my first job, getting that title.

People who think their jobs are more important than mine can suck it. I know they wouldn't last a day without my ilk.

Heh. And rant over ...

Colin Smith said...

Oh, I hear you loud and clear, Diane. When my SecondBorn was in single digits, she aspired to work at Burger King. Of course, what child wouldn't want the prospect of free burgers and fries for lunch every day (as she perceived the benefits, anyway)? But there are people out there for whom working at Burger King would be great. Why do we assume that unless you want to go to college and get "a degree" (in who-cares-what) and get an executive job where you're making lots of money and have lots of power, influence, and, hence, automatic respect, you're missing the mark? I'm a big advocate for education. I have a couple of those degree things myself. But I'm a much bigger advocate for people finding what they want to do in life, and pursuing it with their heart, and doing it to the best of their ability, no matter what it is.

Respect shouldn't come from your job title, but how well you do the job.

DLM said...

Colin, I failed to thank you for coming by and commenting, getting into my previous diatribe. Of course in no way aimed at you! Clearly, you know what's what. :)

I also think it's necessary for us to add the link to today's conversation at Janet's no?

Presumably you can linkify - pretty please? :)

Fascinatingly, BUS DRIVERS seem to be coming in for a great deal more respect at Janet's (no surprise!) than they did in the NPR story today.

Okay, and I have been searching for that story for an hour and cannot find it to paste the URL. Bleah.

Colin Smith said...

You are most welcome, Diane. It so happened you touched on a topic I have often thought about, and care a lot about. I want my kids to feel as if they can pursue the job they believe they were made to do, not the job they think they're supposed to do, whatever that job may be, and whether or not it requires a college degree.

Let's see if the linkifying works here: