No Access For You!
I am not a huge expert, but within my company, I am considered the MS Access guru. Our IT department doesn’t support software (they’re just network folks), so if someone asks them an Access question, they always refer them to me.
I often get phone calls that ask “Is um…Sally…there?”. I’ll answer yes, that’s me. They’ll often hang up right then, wait a few minutes, and then call me back. When they get me the second time, they’ll explain “Well, when I called, a LADY answered, so I had to call IT to make sure they’d given me the right number! Ha ha ha.” Despite the obviously female name, they were still expecting a man, maybe a foreign one to explain the “odd” name.
The hanger-uppers then go on to say, “Well, IT said you could maybe help me. You see, I’m working in Access, that’s a DATABASE program - I’m not sure if you know about databases”. I’ll answer that yes, I do, and in fact, that is why IT refers people to me. The worst ones STILL won’t get it and will start by explaining that there are these FORMS, and god forbid, CODE… I just say “I’m sorry, but I’m going to put you on hold while you explain Access 101 to yourself. I’ll check back with you in 10 minutes to see if you’ve gotten around to an actual question.”
I’ve had a few actually wait the 10 minutes and apologize.
Ah, the joys of purchasing tech-related articles while female!
(English isn’t my mother tongue, so I apologize in advance for any awkward turn of phrase)
Ah, the joys of purchasing tech-related articles while female. This isn’t the worst I’ve had to put up with, but it’s the most recent.
I was gifted one of those novelty lamps you’re supposed to plug to the USB port on your computer. However, in order to set it where I want to, I need a USB-to-wall socket adapter. As you can see, it’s not a ludicrously specific computer part most of the population has no knowledge of. Just an adapter.
I embarked on my quest in a very central area of town which caters to a wide, mainly white-collar customer base. I guessed that avoiding the specific part of town that specializes in computer parts and supplies would save me some mansplaining (which I have a history of suffering - another lovely story for another time).
I was wrong, obviously. I went to the cellphone section of one of the largest electrical appliances store, and I asked the clerk for a USB-to-wall socket adapter. ‘What for?’ was his first question. I thought my request was self-explanatory, but I nonetheless clarified. ‘To, you know, plug a USB cord to the wall, for example to charge my cellpho-‘
‘Ah, but what brand is your cellphone?’ The ‘sweetie’ was very much implied.
‘I need a generic one, the brand’s not relevant. I’m not looking for a charger, just an adapter’ This is the second time I specify I want an adapter.
‘But you see, we don’t sell generics, we only sell brand products’ At this point, he noticed I was carrying my cellphone on my hand, and insisted that I let him see it. It was pointless, but I handed it over. It’s a fairly common model, so it was puzzling to see him turning it over and over.
‘Where’s the outlet?’ He asked after aten seconds of exasperated fidgeting with it. Remember, this guy sells cellphones for a living.
‘Right there’ I pointed. ‘But I don’t want a charg-‘
He ignored me and went straight to the showcase for cellphone-related goods.
‘This is a mini USB’ No shit Sherlock ‘and we have these chargers with the-‘
‘I don’t need a charger. I want a USB-to-wall socket adapter’
He stared dumbly for a moment until it dawned on him.
‘Oh, you mean a USB-to-wall socket adapter!’ Apparently the only way for him to understand my words was to repeat them. Using my exact same phrasing.
‘We don’t have those. We do have all these chargers and mini-USB-to-USB adapters-’ he insisted. I thanked him, retrieved my cellphone and walked away.
We women have such awful communication issues! Our gibberish can only be properly decoded when repeated verbatim by a male. We couldn’t posibly be stating what we want in a clear, succint manner. Repeatedly.
“Jared’s an interesting cast because he looks like just the good looking model guy you’d think just to look at him and that he wouldn’t have the kind of substance that he brings to the part. But he does, like instantaneously. He can be joking around - and you know he’s a joker because you probably heard that - in one minute and then, when he is working on camera completely immersed, totally serious, deep, emotional, intense, you know, sometimes a little scary when he needs to be, and I like that. I like that about him. He’s got that sharp focus when he needs it and he keeps the atmosphere light which is also kind of a nice thing to experience.”
- Mark Pellegrino
It must be harder than it looks...
While studying at university I took a part time job as an office assistant/manager. My role involved being a jack of all trades, on call to do whatever needed doing from filing, to accounting, to legal interpretation, to basic IT jobs. As I needed to turn up early the next day to sort out some paperwork for a meeting, the head of the company told me I would need the security code to let myself in. He took me over to the unit on the wall and showed me the short sequence required. He then looked at me and said: “I know women really struggle with technology, so let me run you through that one more time, then you can try while I watch.”
I was stunned that he thought I wouldn’t be able to cope with remembering how to enter a four digit PIN followed by ‘enter’ because of my gender. Especially seeing as this was approximately two hours after I had finished single-handedly networking all the computers, printers and fax machines in the entire office. And two days after I had cleared some somewhat embarrassing pop-ups and viruses from his work computer…and sorted out the office’s internet connection problems…and fixed his voicemail issues.