Work Experience Which Shaped My Life

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People do not always have happy moments in their lives; some events in our lives occur for a reason and are meant to put us to the test. Events, whether positive or negative, play an important role in bringing out the best or worst in us. We come across some happenings during our interactions with people, particularly at work, that can shape who we are; through them, we can choose to become influential members of society or negative minded people. These encounters are also intended to shape our perceptions of current events, which can aid us in developing appropriate skills for dealing with difficult situations in our lives. God made us rational beings; we can use our will power to follow the right direction in a position where negativity dominates. Gender bullying for women in IT a norm I only knew existed in my school, as I find out is also evident in workplaces. People treat these kinds of women differently and perceive them as manly. Many employees will never admit to being discriminated because of their gender difference. In the United States, many female workers have been reduced to unnecessary pain and suffering in their quest to seek employment in the male-dominated careers. As a woman who had recently graduated from university with honors in computer science, I experienced a life changing event that left a mark in my career as a programmer.

Having spent three months searching for a suitable company that could accommodate me during my internship, I was so excited and determined to explore and utilize the knowledge and skills that I had acquired in my computer science classes. The Softcorner software development company that hired me had been my dream company since I joined university, with such an opportunity; I knew my life was going to change for the better. My main goal during the internship was to advance in my practical learning, improve on my professional competence and skills. My focus ranged from building a good working relationship with fellow colleagues and becoming a skilled employee. Being naive and first timer as I was I thought that my dreams and goals would be easy to achieve, however as I was soon to realize, the process was not as I had imagined.

As soon as I began my internship, I was faced with hardcore destructions and stress. On the very first day at work, I happen to be put under the supervision of a male senior employee who was also the senior programmer of the company. As a woman in a male-dominated field, I was exposed to advanced criticism by the supervisor. According to him, I had neither skills nor knowledge to be a programmer. He made negative remarks about me being in the office like I would be a source of destruction for the other employees. So instead of being given a desk in the same room as the other programmers, he ordered me to move my table in his office. As an obedient first timer, I did as I was told, not realizing that his intentions were to reduce me to a secretary. He ordered me to arrange his office, bring tea for him and make sure that his appointments were well organized.

On the next day, he told me to do the same things as the previous day. As a person who had spent four years at the University, specializing in mobile programming I knew this wasn’t right. My conscience could not let me be reduced to a mere secretary serving coffee and arranging desks. I gained my courage and faced him about the nature of the job I was doing; it was not fit for me. He looked at me straight in the eye and asked me what position I wanted. I told him that I wanted to be a programmer, a position that I had applied for. At that point, he became unruly and started saying offensive things to me. According to him, IT is meant for men, and it would be unfeminine for me to be involved in such a field. He told me that the female cognition cannot allow her to be in a tech world and that I was just fooling around. Although I was greatly offended, I never responded back at him because of my respect for him. The incident was a defining moment for me, and I knew that fighting back negatively the same way was not going to prove anything. His actions were not professionally ethical. Taking aggressive actions against him would also portray me as an unreasonable and unethical person. Although I was angry at him for lowering my abilities like that, I remained calm and waited until he was through with his offensive words. Engaging in violence was not an option for me; however, I could not leave without letting him know how much I was worth. I told him to measure my level of skills by giving me a test.

He agreed to my request and told me to develop a program that could print loan balance of a bank customer in C++. I easily performed the task and he was astonished at how first and well I had performed it. He apologized for his actions and told me to move my desk to the programmer’s central office. He uploaded my level of competence and skills and welcomed me as one of the programming staff. The other staff members were equally astonished by his change of mind and asked me what I had done to make him change his mind.

In conclusion, the incident that happened to me on that day at work showed me that women face a lot of disparities and discrimination based on their gender in their workplaces. Women especially those pursuing career in IT has been met with a lot of challenges while adjusting to the male dominated field. The disparities explain the reasons why there are not so many women pursuing tech courses even in colleges. However, I learned that when faced with such situations it is important to gain composure and prove to the organizations and individuals that females can also be programmers just as males. Also using violence can never solve anything. Because of the method I chose to use when faced with difficulty, I gained respect from my colleagues and even the supervisor who began to change his negative attitude towards women in IT. The confrontation was a major victory for me, as I was allowed to do what I enjoyed doing most.

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