Today marks three years that I’ve been working at my current company. In June, I will mark 12 years being employed full time after graduation. It’s strange to think in some ways about how far I’ve come. It’s not as though I’ve aggressively climbed the corporate ladder (I haven’t), but I think more about how green and naive I was when I started 12 years ago, and how jaded and skeptical I am now. Three years ago, I knew very little about the real SaaS world since this was the first real SaaS company I’ve ever worked at. I’ve learned more about the software space, more about how internal politics works (that’s not necessarily a good thing), and more about how fragile work relationships are. You come in thinking you can remain friends with people once they leave, but for so many of us, once you leave a company, you leave behind everyone there, as well. You say you will be friends with these people, but the odds are against you. In the last three years, endless colleagues who I was friendly with have left, and I’ve only genuinely stayed in touch with maybe three of them. That means I’ve stayed in touch with one a year, which is more than I can say for all the other places I’ve worked at.
After all these years working in digital marketing and SaaS, I feel a lot more empathy now, more than ever, for working moms, for stay-at-home moms, and for women in tech who eventually leave the tech world permanently. It’s really hard being a woman in tech, and even harder being a woman of color in tech, because you have no idea how much your last name, your face, your gender, play into whether you are liked or disliked, promoted or given a raise, or pigeon-holed into certain stereotypes and roles. And as a woman of color over the last 12 years, I oftentimes feel misunderstood or betrayed by white women in the workplace. And it’s not like you can openly question it that way because then you’ll be accused of using the “race card or “gender card,” which for really perverse people, they believe that you have a leg up as a Asian or as a woman (because, as Ali Wong once said, that’s always been a winning combination in this world!).
But I do recognize I’m far luckier than so many people I know. And I’m grateful for that. But I do not feel like the tech world is changing at a rate I am comfortable with. It seems more like every day, I have to choose from a crappy situation to a crappier situation, as opposed to a situation that I actually feel is good for me, or good for future women in tech who come long after me.
Yes. This is 2020.