Recently, a male employee at Google wrote a memo, whose focus appeared to be a criticism of the company’s recent attempts to bring more women and minorities into the overwhelmingly-male tech culture there.
A few days ago, social media exploded with commentary about the piece. In it, the employee – we’ll call him James, because that’s his name – wrote about why he believed a mostly-male culture made sense. He explained that women can’t handle the stress of the job and are generally unfit for the work.
Throughout my life of learning, I've come across a lot of concepts that apply to today's politics and unrest, both in the US and the world. One of the biggest (in addition and in relation to empathy, which has also recently caught my interest) is the concept of "fairness".
In many ways, I had an idyllic up-bringing. My parents loved each other, my brothers and sisters were (mostly) fun to be around, and my grandparents were retired farmers. You would think that what your grandparents did for a living before they retired would have very little bearing on your life. But when that occupation is farming, well… There’s really no such thing as a retired farmer. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me that she is training herself to stop saying, “I’m sorry” at work. At first, this seemed ludicrous to me, now it seems like genius. Business people, most particularly businesswomen need to get out of the habit of apologizing. As a good girl, who prides herself on being “raised right”, this feels a little callous and rude, but there’s an important lesson here. Continue reading
Have we become a society that doesn’t know how to discover anymore? When I go online, Google serves up what I’m looking for before I really understand that I’m looking for it. It’s creepy, and thrilling.
I just watched “Her” the other day. (I know I’m running behind, but I have a boyfriend who only uses the cool dark confines of a movie theater to catch a nap. As a result, I often fall prey to the beckoning Redbox kiosk that sits patiently at the end of the checkout inside my local Safeway.) In the movie, the Siri-like voice on the cell phone anticipates needs – a richer experience than Google offers in my search results, but similar.
My grandfather kept bees. By the time I was a child, they had sold the farm and moved to a 2-acre parcel where my grandmother kept a kitchen garden and my grandfather kept bees.
A few years ago, when we started hearing about colony collapse disorder, I couldn’t help but think about my grandfather’s bees. I wondered vaguely if the problem might be coming from the industrialization of beekeeping operations. Maybe the variety of backyard beekeeping made for happier bees. There is a remarkable small company in Oregon – Bee Thinking – whose owners must have wondered the same thing.
Something is coming together these days. Last year, we got a new pope, one who is shocking the world with simple messages of tolerance and compassion. Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that it is okay for town meetings to include prayer. I’m feeling the rumblings of something, breezing through the social fabric. It’s like a gathering storm of faith, after a long drought where intellectuals disdained religion. So I think it’s time to talk about something I’ve been thinking about for a long time… What I believe.
This is not the most personal thing I’ve ever written. But it is (so far) the most personal thing I’ve ever posted here. Continue reading
Recently, the TSA inspected the suitcase I checked with the airline. The funny thing is, I wasn’t the least bit unhappy about it.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had a bag inspected. It won’t be the last. I’ve done a lot of travel in my time, including nearly a decade as an international consultant, traveling 3-4 weeks a month. I’ve had security officials inspect my bag at the security checkpoint, at Customs, even at the entrance to the jetway. Once, years ago, a TSA official inspected my suitcase so carefully that she unwrapped all three of the cough drops I had in my toiletries case. (She attempted to rewrap them and put them back in the case, but I decided to let them go.)
The recent inspection was the best one I’ve ever had. As soon as I got to the hotel, I could tell that the bag had been opened. I always zip my bag from bottom-to-top, so that I can stuff in the last minute items. So the first thing I noticed that the bag had been zipped from top-to-bottom.
After a little bit of trial and error, it looks like we’re up and running. Welcome!