Sunday, July 31, 2011

Boys: Don’t hold doors open for me anymore. I’m fine thanks.

More times than I care to count, I have been challenged with the threat “if you want to be treated the same as men, you can damn well stop expecting us to carry your bags and open doors for you”. Generally the man doing the threatening thoroughly expects this nugget of information to shut me up about gender equality. I have had a supervisor more or less say this to me and I have had a mentor say it also. Confronting really.

Granted, it has been some time since the most recent challenge. I suspect the increasing popularity of corporate diversity training is starting have an effect and any bloke with two brain cells to rub together knows that keeping his thoughts to himself is the wiser option. I doubt you could expect the same caution down at the pub though. Diversity training has simply forced sexism out of sight between 8am and 6pm.

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Awesome DIY #3 How to make it look like you’ve ripped off a fingernail.

I just know you have been kept awake a night worrying that your fake fingernail tear wasn’t fooling anyone. Sleep easy because KlairedelysArt is coming to your rescue.


Female engineers, How to get more practical experience. #6 Don’t burn bridges.

Note: This post is part of a series which begins here. Just follow the links in order from there.

Early in my career, a colleague of mine, who I respected very much, gave me the advice that I should never burn bridges with colleagues. No matter what a person has said or done, maintain a positive relationship at all costs. Your career will thank you. He was absolutely right. Bosses that I would gladly have shoved off a very tall cliff gave me fantastic job references, enabling me to get the hell away from them before fantasy murder scenarios became reality.

These days, if you tell an arrogant prick of a boss what you think of him, you had better like the idea of joining him for a long, difficult career. Its now hard, legislation wise, to fire people simply for a negative comment so your boss will probably resort to sabotaging your future rather than stopping your paycheck. Not all bosses do this, but yours is a prick remember? Rest assured, despite keeping your job, you will still fear the pink slip each month from that day forth. Not a good way to live. Better to get out first while you are still on good terms.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

My boss was mildly sexist and I don’t know if I should let it go.

Something happened two weeks ago and I didn’t even realise that it was a bit sexist until now. Which has left me wondering what I should do about it (if anything).

My department is a small group of about 15 technical people within a very large company ( >10,000 employees). The team is very spread out location-wise with some members meeting face to face less than once a year. I am the only woman and the only mechanical engineer in the team (double minority!). In my department, 50% of the work we do is mechanical, 50% Electrical. Team members identify themselves as either mechanical or electrical with no major overlap in the middle as neither understands much about the other field. So of course there is rivalry between the two groups. Could have predicted that with eyes, ears and mouth closed.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Female engineers, How to get more practical experience. #5 Know your place (or lack thereof)

Note: This post is part of a series which begins here. Just follow the links in order from there.

When it comes to your place in the pecking order on a building site (or in a workshop), this is one of the few places where being female is a huge advantage and a powerful thing. Mainly because you are not considered to be part of the pecking order. At all. And if you are not even in the pecking order you can’t be at the bottom. In fact you will most likely find yourself closer to the top. Without doing anything to deserve it what-so-ever.

You see, your male colleagues will have to spend months being very humble, slowly gaining respect over time before anyone will even listen to them. You on the other hand, can avoid all the back-scratching. Men can’t touch you. You will be able to arrive on day one and walk up to the oldest, most experienced, bad tempered bloke on site and ask him to do something for you. And He’ll do it. He might complain to his mates later (never to you) but he’ll still do it. More than once too. Mwahahahahahaaa! The power.

But it comes with an evil curse. It always does.

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Spiders that crawl deep under your skin. Why don’t we already know about them?

Ok, Here is a basic lesson in avoiding facebook worms.

The trick with facebook worms is that they usually make some kind of fantastical claim requiring you to click through several permission screens before you can get all the details. You are motivated to do this because the claim will be amazing.

Except there never are any details and by the time most people realise this fact they have given permission for the worm to post itself to their wall. Where their equally foolish friends will click on it and perpetuate the cycle.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Science says I was wrong and Rebecca Watson was right.

A about 6-7 years ago, a colleague sent an email around the office asking for a good way to quickly destroy a CD with little effort. He was not keen on snapping them as he had copped a shard in his eye the day before. Trying to be helpful, I replied that putting CDs in the microwave puts on a great show as I had recently discovered when looking for some plastic to melt (another story).

At the time, this neat trick wasn’t all that well known and there was a ripple of excitement followed by paper shuffling as colleagues pulled out surplus CDs (some not so surplus) and formed an orderly queue in front of the office Microwave (don’t worry, it survived the ordeal).

At this point, I received an email from the senior engineer who had been assigned to be my mentor.

Wow! Great suggestion!
How very un-girly of you to discover that!

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Awesome DIY #2 How to stop cats pissing on your car

This is possibly such a good DIY that I can end this blog series right now and die happy.

One tech savy Australian man versus 9 neighborhood cats constructs a very sophisticated cat revenge device (with detailed assembly instructions). Watch as he puts his creation into action and all nine cats get whats coming to them.

Just too awesome. Fucking funny.


Women who wont help other women. Why?

Why do some women abandon their female colleagues as they climb the ladder to seniority? Can you be confident you wont do the same?

It is not often that I read something about gender bias in male majority environments where I actually realise something new about myself. I read a lot of material on this subject and I must admit it gets a little repetitive at times. Especially discussions about why women leave engineering careers early. I just don’t feel like there is any new insight these days. Hell, I left engineering myself (and then came back a few years later) and I can’t explain why either. I was just angry. If I try to go into any more detail I go all “blerghhhh, brain freeze”. I do.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Female Engineers, How to get more practical experience #4 Don’t get personal.

Note: This post is part of a series which begins here. Just follow the links in order from there.

This post is more generic, in that it will help you to get more site experience but via your colleagues in the office rather than appealing to site or workshop colleagues. Its also a good rule to follow generally. This is what I consider a good place to start if you are having trouble encouraging your supervisor to let you even see the people on site or in the workshop (removing your chance to appeal to them directly). This is common if your supervisor has a very low opinion of building site or workshop men.

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Feasibility is an engineering based blog designed to reach other STEM people. Non-STEM people are also welcome! I try to give good advice and well-reasoned opinions but please don’t hesitate to disagree with me. This blog exists because I realised that I live in a metaphorical bubble and that simply wont do. Nup.


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