Join Lori Mackenzie for an in-depth discussion in this video The unlevel playing field, part of Women Transforming Tech: Breaking Bias.
- There are so many things that women should be aware of when they enter the tech industry and one of the things is is that the rules of the game change from college to work. In college, everything's pretty laid out. You have a rubric that explains how to do homework. There's a grading score. And basically, if you do a really good job with your homework, you get a great grade. But when you enter the workplace, and in tech, even though it's much based on code and things are very logical, the rules of the game change. No longer is it just getting your job done. It's whether people see you as an influencer, see you as someone who has what it takes to be great in your field. One of the areas that we do a lot of research at in my lab is about bias and how it affects people in what they're doing at work. As it turns out, not everyone is aware of bias. There's nothing good or bad about it, but we all discover that biases exist at different stages of our career. Some women learn it very early on, others later. It turns out I didn't really understand that there was this unlevel playing field until I was in my late 20s and I had already gotten through a couple levels of the organization. And what I was always known for was my creativity, my analytical ability. And all of a sudden, pushing for those ideas became unpopular and I was being criticized for not being inclusive, bringing others along. So whereas before I could've succeeded by pushing ideas through, at that level people said, "No, that's not what is needed anymore. "You need to be more inclusive." And I looked at the other people at my level and they were doing exactly what I was doing, pushing and advocating for their ideas. And I realized at that time, maybe it's not what I'm doing, but what's perceived about what I'm doing that's giving me this feedback and that really made me curious to understand what is going on here and what can I do about it.