Saturday, May 29, 2010

Who's Better at Work: Women or Men?

Who would you rather have as your manager - a woman or a man?
Madeline Heilman at New York University once conducted an experiment in which she told volunteers about a manager. Some were told, "Subordinates have often described Andrea as someone who is tough yet outgoing and personable. She is known to reward individual contributions and has worked hard to maximise employees' creativity." 
Other volunteers were told, "Subordinates have often described James as someone who is tough yet outgoing and personable. He is known to reward individual contributions and has worked hard to maximise employees' creativity." 
The only difference between what the groups were told was that some people thought they were hearing about a leader named Andrea while others thought they were hearing about a leader named James. Heilman asked her volunteers to estimate how likeable Andrea and James were as people. Three-quarters thought James was more likeable than Andrea.
One day, thinking about the many reasons why I love my new job, I confided hesitatingly to the Guy, "It seems a little weird to say this, but I love working under a woman again!"

Instead of calling me sexist (as he's wont to do when... I am), he immediately understood. He had women mentors and managers early on in his career, and loved working with them.

"I'm less hesitant, I'm more confident I'll be understood," I went on slowly, trying to analyze my own feelings. "I feel like I don't have to pretend to not have a personality, to not have a life outside of work. That she'll understand."

"Also, she's so much better at communicating, at reaching out. I don't have to second-guess what she's thinking."

The Guy nodded in sympathy.

"I guess it's not exactly a gender thing," I went on. "Communication, empathy - women build on these strengths more because they are perceived to be feminine, because they are not discouraged in these areas as they are in some others. When I had
a male boss who had these qualities, I liked working with him too!"

Read this whole article for another fascinating story of how a trans scientist discovered he was treated better after he became a man, and how another trans scientist was treated less seriously after she became a woman. She says:

"You get interrupted when you are talking, you can't command attention, but above all you can't frame the issues."
And, comparing herself to the other trans scientist in the same university, she says:
"Ben has migrated into the centre whereas I have had to migrate into the periphery."
(Sorry for the inconsistent paragraph spacing. Blogger is acting weird today, and I just couldn't get it to behave.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Guy Has Moved Away

Well, it's been three weeks. But he has visited twice in that time - he was here two of the three weekends that came - so it didn't feel like he was away much at all.

But now he has gone again. And I can't con myself any more into believing that this is temporary, that he's going to come back.

The Guy has moved to Hyderabad. Moved for a job opportunity that was too good to pass up. And I stay on here, for a job that's too good to let go. We made, again, what seemed like the most rational decision. And we don't regret it. So far, it's going better than expected. I am missing him less than I had expected, and I am definitely not miserable.

Yet it seems just a little pointless to come home each day to an empty house, to hear the Guy and talk to him but not be able to see or touch him. To sleep carefully on my side of the bed even though the other side is empty. To sit alone on the couch meant for two. To get dressed in the morning without asking for his opinion on what I should wear or how I look.

It's not sad, not depressing, definitely not unbearable. Just a little empty, just a little meaningless.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More Kinds of Awesome

Something I thought of while writing the last post, but didn't spell out. But in the last few days, I have realised that I have some awesome people in my life, and I am grateful.

I have some really awesome friends. Most specifically, LC. He lives nearby and has been the best, especially in the last few days. He checked in on me ever so often since the Guy went away last week, and we had some fun times together. Then, on Monday, I fell ill. Nothing serious, just the consequences of dehydration and exhaustion and junk food. And LC came over in the morning, made me breakfast, and sat next to me until I finished it all. He came over again early in the evening, with food (and again, served me a generous portion and watched with parental strictness as I ate). He kept checking in on me through the day, and came over again next morning. He made me sandwiches and cut up a big bowl of fruits and made me finish it all. (The Guy would be amazed at how obediently I ate up.) I felt like doing a little victory dance at the end of it, like my little niece does, and holding up my plate and turning it upside down and lisping, "I finisssssssed."

LC is going to make some lucky woman a great partner.

Blade came over too, with fruits (including a huge bunch of bananas, for the swarm of monkeys I never knew I had hidden in my house). She kept calling me and asking if I needed anything. Even though she wasn't well herself.

And I wasn't even that ill. Just weak and groggy. And would have been depressed if it hadn't been for these awesome friends who pampered me so much I'm almost looking forward to falling ill again.

Another friend sent me a book with a lovely little note in it, hoping "it would keep me occupied while the Guy was away". It was such a sweet gesture.

I know you guys read this. Thank you for being so wonderful. How could someone as cynical, self-centred and annoying as me have such great friends?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

How Does a Superhero Feel?

Really, really tired.

In other words, as I told the Guy, I feel like a really tired superhero*.

I wake up at 7.30 feeling tired and wanting to go back to sleep. I am out of the door a few minutes past nine, having had breakfast and carrying my lunch and sometimes even dinner. (okay, full disclosure - lunch and dinner's usually the same thing, only double portions. Even fuller - I sometimes get help from my domestic help - but only sometimes.)
I catch an auto to my bus stop. The office bus picks me up at 9.40. I reach office at eleven. (Yes, it's 30 kilometres away. And yes, I've considered driving and decided I'm not driving over an hour through traffic and bad roads with my indifferent-at-best driving skills.)

On the way, I see a woman dressed nicely and appropriately for work - white shirt, black trousers, chunky black heels, long straight hair all in place, eyes lined in black - and imagine what a frump I must look. Old burnt orange kurta my mom made me, old comfy red salwar (seriously, why don't I pair something better with the kurta, like a gray salwar or an olive green churidar to match the green in the pattern - yeah right, I'd never even noticed before that there
was olive green in the kurta, let alone bother to hunt for something matching), black thong sandals that are as comfortable as running shoes (actually more, in this heat - seriously, I love Mochi), a black and orange stole wrapped around my head and slung across my shoulders to protect my hair from dust so it's not a complete mess by the time I reach office, glasses, no make up, and my face greasy from sunscreen. When the Guy was here, I'd made more of an effort, because he often got breakfast and lunch ready while I got myself ready! (And yes, he left early this week and no, we are not talking about that here because I hope ignoring it will make it less true. Yeah, I have a real healthy way of dealing with unpleasant facts.)

So I get home at 10:30 and I'm tired all the time and the Guy and I have barely been talking because at night we're both like yeah, I miss you too, and I'm really sleepy, let's talk tomorrow? And my house is in a mess and I have about five loads of laundry waiting for when I have time and water and energy (both the physical and electrical kinds) at the same time. And I make up whole blog posts in my head during my morning rickshaw ride and have no time to write them down so I'm spending my bus ride writing this down today on my fancy new phone - that's how much I've missed you all. (Oh yeah, the Guy insisted I buy the E72 to replace my malfunctioning N70. It's cool.)

But if everything in my life sucked, I'd pack my bags and hop on a flight to Hyderabad and sit in the Guy's hotel room bed all day with my laptop on my lap. But I won't.

You know what's awesome? My job. And you know what's even more awesome? My boss. And those kinds of awesome give you the kind of high that can't be matched. (Okay, I've never tried dope, but I'm pretty sure it can't match up. This is definitely better than caffeine or alcohol or even cigarettes, which are my favourite form of high. Oooh, the high from a cigarette. Yeah, I know they kill you, which is why I have about one in six months. Probably less now that my smoking-buddies seem to have gone away or quit smoking... So Vroom says, I've quit smoking. And I say, oh, who am I going to borrow smokes from now? Yeah, I'm a very supportive friend, why do you ask?)

I also have awesome friends: LC, who lives nearby and keeps checking in to make sure I'm okay (yeah, I guess I've lived so long with the Guy everyone thinks I'll fall apart now); Blade, who's been making plans for partying and hanging out and also calling me ever so often; Vroom, who's promised to come over often from Bombay so I don't get lonely.

Anyway, enough about me. Going back to the title of this post, what makes you feel like a superhero?

*In other news, I might be going to see Iron Man 2 tomorrow. Anyone seen it? Is it good?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Thank You, IndusLadies!

for this extremely cute cap. If you're wondering, I got it for this post.

And that's the Guy, kindly modeling it for you all. (Ain't he cute?)