Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Importance Of Women In the Workforce

My workplace gender ratio is tipped heavily toward our male kind. I happen to be the youngest employee and the youngest female in my office.

For most parts, I am not complaining. Working with men is easy mainly because there's no tip-toeing around feelingsYou get upset with a guy for something, you can tell him,

"I don't like this. I am upset with you."

The great thing is you can be sure this will not be interpreted in any other way. i.e. he won't think you are upset with him because you forgot to invite him to lunch last week. It will never occur to him to think you are getting even with him because of some minor tiff 3 years ago. He will most definitely not think you are upset with him because he forgot to say bye to you on the way out yesterday. All the above things a woman can and will think if you happen to tell her off.  It just makes life a tad difficult because you have to be very careful what you say.

With men, it is very straightforward. You say exactly what you think and most of the times, they take it at face value. The good thing too is that they move on. Within a couple of days, they will forget about it and it will be as if nothing happened.

But the downside, if you ask me, of a male-majority environment is that there's no warmth, so to speak. Not that men cannot be warm. But they're mostly practical, solution-oriented and never indulge in boring old emotional behavior.

Consider this: when a woman announces she's pregnant or about to get married, (most) female colleagues will squeal with delight, hug her, share stories with her and immediately start planning a celebratory lunch. When I announced to my male colleagues about my pregnancy, one of them smiled and said,

"Congratulations. So, you planning to take epidural?"

You could almost hear a comical, deflating sound in the background -- the sound of my happy bubble bursting -- when you get these kinds of responses. Another male colleague  asked me if I had started thinking of daycare. What, already?

The other drawback is that if you are a woman in a male-dominated workforce, you will never, ever be interested in 90% of the conversations that swirl around. Plumbing, for instance, seems to be a hot topic in my workplace. I never cease to be amazed at how men can get excited about broken, moldy pipes in dark, damp, rat infested places. They will positively beam at you and expect you to commend them when they describe how they found the exact nut or alan key or wrench or whatchamacallit to fix this exciting plumbing problem. I usually go,


Ooh, here's a good one: the manifold virtues of having a big potty in the bathroom. The husband and his friends have beaten this topic to pulp, I think.

You get my drift. Talk to me about books (Why do men never discuss books, by the way?), movies, fashion, food and I would take it any day over discussions about potties, plumbing and the virtues of having a wonderful hub cap in the rear wheels of your car.

If not for anything else, we need more women in the workforce just to promote warmth, organize baby showers, farewell brunches, halloween parties and other fun stuff in life!

Excuse me. I have to go spread some good conversation in my office now.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Goodnight Moon

The little man is getting progressively harder to put to bed at night. The only way to calm him down is a series of complicated steps culminating in a bed time story. I've been reading "Goodnight Moon" for the past few nights. Yesterday, S picked up the story reading bit in high spirits and ended up doing a mini lecture demonstration on the ills of children's books.

So, shall we read this book, G? Let's see, "Goodnight Moon". 
"In the great green room, there was a telephone, a lamp and a red balloon.." 
Why is there a red balloon in this room?
"… and a picture of a cow jumping over the moon."
Huh?  Little G, cows never jump over the moon. Besides, what cow jumps like this? Feels like a long jumper trying to set a world record. Okay, whatever.
"…three bears sitting on chairs"
Why are three bears sitting like they're in timeout? Have you ever seen bears sit on chairs, G? 
Goodnight nobody?! Why does my son have to say good night to nothing? What is this book that your mom has got you? 

The upshot of his tirade was that by the time he was done, G was heavy lidded, half asleep. And I had a good laugh listening to his commentary. According to my dear husband, Goodnight Moon was written by a disgruntled parent who, upon seeing all the silly children's books on the market making millions, decided to write a silly one themselves. 

I confess I am not a big fan of Goodnight Moon either. But hey, it works with the little human and that's what really matters in the end.