Saturday, December 22, 2018

A room full of women

A year or so ago, at my previous job at a semiconductor equipment manufacturer, our women in engineering group booked an hour Q&A with the CEO of our company. We were stoked! We built this group out of nothing and were looking to expand and increase our funding for an organized mentorship program. Finally some recognition!

The first thing he said? "Wow, I'm nervous to be sitting in a room full of women, haha."


We were hoping for acknowledgement and support, we craved some insight on how to succeed in the very male-dominated company. Instead, in one sentence he made it very clear he saw us as "other" and he personally found it uncomfortable to even be in the same space.

In another moment - he explained how he mentors younger employees and, as he is European and fashion-focused, likes to inform men on where to buy a nice suit, yet is "not allowed" to tell women how to dress. As if this was a struggle for him. For me, he was just digging himself into a hole.

The whole event was weird and disappointing. I was one of the founding members of the group that organized it, but I skipped the photo-op with him afterwards. It just didn't feel right.

When I found out he resigned among misconduct allegations a few weeks ago, I was honestly not that surprised.

I was also proud of myself in a small way, for skipping that photo op, for leaving that job, for recognizing that moment someone -that guy- reveals their entire character in a single sentence.

I found this review on Glassdoor pretty illuminating: