a girl in her city, watching the sunset

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Wherein my shade of lipstick is of utmost importance

Neglecting the dramarama as to why, I find myself on the job hunt again.

Also neglecting all of the other shit that’s going on, I find myself so viscerally sick of corporate everything, but have chained my job search thereto because I am yet unable to trade good stories, beans, or some service so as to have coffee, bacon, cigarettes and rent (in some order).

I’m going to come round to the point, but we’re going to take a bit of a walk first.

I am woefully under-read when it comes to feminism.  This is not because I’m not feminist, or I do not like feminism.  (It is for a similar reason when it comes to policy wonk literature, or most American Left political blogging/thinking.)  In short, I read the same things repeatedly.  I am a huge fan of this when it comes to learning something by rote;  repetition ad infinitum is an excellent method when you have to memorize something, just flat out burn into your brain.   But I have long since needed to only memorize reasons why I take a position on these things, and I’m already intimately acquainted with the platform planks.  I know all the words.  I am far more interested in comprehension and evaluation; finding a solution to what we see as issues by applying critical thought.  Debates are clearly not the way to go, the vast majority of the U.S. has no fucking idea how these work — rhetoric is a niche that so few people actually grasp. It seems that some believe a death-grip on principles makes a better patriot (and therefore a better human being) than pursuit of critical thought or synthesis of ideas.

I confess I have a bias here.  When I started school, I was fortunate to go to a really weird public elementary that taught with Bloom’s Taxonomy from grade 1.   Dialectic  was applied to everything.   Reasoning was our academic bread and water.  I didn’t know that grades 1-5 were different for everyone else until a lot later in life.  Maybe high school?

Also, I totally own that the realization of my thinking education took even longer.  I have not been critical my whole life.  I spent a good deal of time in “I feel this so big it has to be righter.”

The crossroad:  a situation that screams “Activism! Go! Be! Do!” at me.  I do not know how to effectively protest the interview advice a recruiter gave me Friday.
A female recruiter.
A female IT recruiter.
A female IT recruiter who is sending me out at an embarrassing rate — so I’m defensive as hell from way before we get to her sage advice.

Please indulge my elaboration/ anecdotes /evidence.  My own experience with gender equality in IT has been positive in terms of things like: “a good idea isn’t masculine or feminine,” and, “nobody gives a shit what sex you are as long as you write solid code.”  My own experience with the ratio of women to men has been pleasantly surprising, not totally 1:1, but not always so disparate as some may imagine.  My awareness that there is a fucking gaping maw between pay/bill rates is profound.  As I am often involved with the finer details of project financials, this isn’t a mere restatement of the 20% less statistic.   Anyway, in IT it might be as much 30% less.  I’ve been bid at 45% less than a male for same job.   (A recruiter once mistakenly emailed me, not the client, a resume with the contractor’s rate in bold at the top.  I had been submitted to same job, of course I knew my rate.  I had the better resume, even if the only measurement was buzzwords.)

Right, so, I’m twisty over this issue.  I know.  Here are some things in my head, damnably.

A lady does not  get ruffled. Femininity requires quiet comportment and soft edges, and a woman should keep in mind she has the cavity she does in order to receive, (such as a lingam).  A woman is in this way not physiologically indicated to be the giver or provider.  Thoughtfulness is not spoken.  The woman-as-warrior archetype shows a protector, not a predator; fight for your family’s  (husband’s and children’s) safety, but do not seek to strike, and never first.  

I am good at what I do for work, but I do not fixedly associate  my identity with how I earn money. When people ask what do I do, I say different things.  Sometimes I say I live car-free in L.A.  Sometimes I talk about writing or drinking coffee.  I have mentioned loving the ocean.  I communicate that I don’t feel like my job is who I am.  I know this isn’t the same for everyone and I don’t expect it to be or need it to be.  But for me, this is the case.

And while I would love to believe that I am the perfect fit for every job for which I interview.  It’s not how it is.  I don’t even like every job for which I interview, but we still use money, and I’m not very a faithy person, so I don’t think if I wish hard enough that god’s going to make appear a house just for me! (stocked eternally with bacon and coffee and wine and cigarettes.)  I know I need a job, and I know I have to get one, so I have to interview with people who have jobs I can do so they can give me one of them.

Which brings me to the advice of my recruiter.

  • It’s really important to look right, so bring your A game.  What suit are you wearing?

I explain I’ve lost a lot of weight recently and my suit is 3 sizes too big so it’s not very good looking at all, but I have coordinating jacket and pants that fit well and put together very nicely. (Also, I don’t get why my A game is a suit and not my skills, except I can’t figure out how to say that.)  She is pushy as hell.

  • No, you need a suit.  Just, you know, go out and get a suit that fits.  They really want to see the polish at the interview.  The place is really cool, it’s totally casual once you’re in the door, but we have to show them with the interview.  Make sure your hair is in good shape, not too, you know, too much anything.  And, they made a comment on someone who interviewed wearing the wrong shade of lipstick, so don’t wear the wrong shade of lipstick.  Not too dark or bright, but definitely do make sure you wear lipstick.

Feminism, I do not understand what the fuck is going on.

I get that people feel like they have to have opinions on bod mod sorts, especially in corporate.

My sins are many:

  • I have very short hair right now.
    • It’s too something for someone.
    • It’s probably too short for a Polished A-Game.
  • I have stretched earlobes
    • I usually wear black spirals that aren’t large.  I don’t reference them when discussing my qualifications with a potential employer.  They’re just things in my earlobes.

Mostly because having super short hair and stretched earlobes has no fucking bearing on whether I can do array formulas.

  • My wrists and arms are tattooed
    • I wear a watch on one wrist and a wide bracelet on the other when I interview.  The jacket covers the rest.   I don’t bother covering these once I get the job.
  • My tongue is pierced, though I don’t wear the stud on interviews
    • Because if my tongue is pierced, obviously my resume is completely bullshit.  I couldn’t possibly understand how to do all those things I say I do.

The position for which I’m interviewing is not client-facing or sales.  It is dealing nearly exclusively with director-level and up, entirely internally.  I feel like is some reason it should matter even less what I look like.  As if by the time they’ve made that rung on the ladder, they’d be willing  to abandon pretense.  I have no evidence for this.  It’s probably wishful thinking.

As I write this, I am in agony because i made a somewhat inebriated mistake last night and consumed flour tortilla chips.  The body, she don’t like that.  I’m uncomfortable and this is wreaking havoc on my generally anchored state.  I want to fight.

A fellow to whom I mentioned this whole conundrum said he’d maybe worn a suit once to an interview, ever, and threw question marks at the need for a suit.   Another fellow I know got the job because he didn’t even think about taking out his tongue stud: the employer said it made him memorable and they all seemed to attend to what he said more than any of the other candidates because of it.

What I dream for this interview:  I wear the suit I went out and got, except I don’t wear it with a shell beneath, as ladies do;  I wear a black button-up shirt, with the tie I got last week (for $0.25, on a whim.)  Tongue stud in place, no bracelets covering my inky wrists. No fucking makeup, bitches, let alone the right shade of lipstick, (even though I have been known to like wearing make up.)

I feel the hands and feet I can offer feminism beg me not to acquiesce and do anything different than this.

I feel like I have to do what I’m told is right and proper or I don’t have the faintest hope of that job.


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