Friday, April 27, 2012

The Unfairness of it All ... A Friday Rant

Well, maybe not entirely.

But I do find it kind of strange that having worked in an industry (granted, a male dominated one ... probably the last bastion for the testosterone-laden crowd) for my entire professional career; having pursued all kinds of continuing education and having earned an MBA while working full-time in the process, no one will hire me. Yes, I've run my own business for close to 14 years; but, honestly, I would think that would be a plus in my column for a management position. Hell, I'm willing to take a job as a well-paid technical person.

But no. I am told that the "professionals" in the field at these companies will not "take [me] seriously." Why, I ask? Never a response. Then, when I see a friend of mine, a person of the opposite gender and older than me (whom I've actually hired to work for me on projects in the past and found him to be entirely timid about putting one number down on paper, or, as I've subsequently found out, not wanting to be associated with me professional basis, AND who is probably THE laziest person in the field that I have ever encountered), being offered a $150,000-year job with a substantial benefits package. His new job similar to the many (and believe me, I never, ever for a salary like that) that were denied me because of that entirely smelly question: "well, will the "professionals" take her seriously?" Hell yeah they will -- and Hell yeah they should. I have more experience under my belt than any person I know in the industry. My work stands up against any other estimator in NYC and beyond.

But, as we all know, it's those "intangibles" that get you the job. Who do you know? (Or, in NYC terms, or at least when I started out, one needed a "rabbi" [sic] to push your career along.) My one and only "rabbi" ultimately was indicted for bid rigging and a few other choice transgressions. So. Bye bye "rabbi." Which was good, for me, in the end. My career may be ending do to age and sex discrimination, but, hey, I was always the "good guy" ... I saw but never knowingly participated in any of the nefarious goings on. And my "rabbi" ... he was, despite being a sociopath and a convicted and jailed criminal, was quite good to me. He knew I was a relatively fragile soul fresh from the Jersey Shore, and kept me out of places and situations that would professional compromise me.

So, as I plan my future, 25-odd years later, I am looking at ways to redirect my career. I will be starting an MS program in Accounting at the university where I obtained my MBA. Adding accounting to my current skill set "might" open some new doors. Although, really, who wants to take a graduate accounting program when one should be at a point where one should be planning all those cool things that one missed out ... trips ... gardening ... reading poetry ... becoming fluent in another language ... volunteering.

But the bottom line is, why is that people like me, hard working, committed, entrepreneurial woman, are put into a position where it appears the only way to move forward is to get another degree? And even that plan is clearly dubious. People say, why another another degree? You are over-educated as it is. My response: I'm over-qualified and over-educated and I'm a woman in a man's field. In my early years I saw young men my own age being promoted right and left. And you know what, they're still stupid. I support myself, a house and two cats. Not willing to give them up. Is more education the answer? Perhaps not. But I like school. But, also, perhaps the contacts I make while pursuing this new degree will open some new doors. AND, as a minor anecdote, when I finished my MBA, I went to the school's "placement office" ... and they told me the only graduate majors they were placing at the time were Accounting majors. Well, of course, that was only after the placement director put his head close to mine and told me my hair "smelled nice." WTF?

Anyway, despite my obvious despair, I am NOT nor have I ever been, one to give up. Life is a never-ending challenge. Or at least that's how I see it. And one of the key drivers of my career has been when people told me that as a woman, I'll never make it. What drove me (for better or worse) was the "I'll Show You" attitude. And I did. I showed a lot of people. But right now, I'm not looking to "show" anybody anything. I am working to ensure that I can pay my mortgage and feed myself and my cats.

Rant Officially Over.


  1. I completely understand. Rant on any time. Curtis

  2. As women we'd expect a certain amount of discrimination working in an industry that requires muscle mass but it's odd there's even more of that in the white collar world. I worked at a university medical school for many years and often saw female resident candidates passed over in favor of white males. You have good reason to rant.

    1. Interestingly, Susan, what I do requires absolutely no muscle mass. I look at blue prints and measure what's on them and put an expected dollar value on it. I'm sitting at my desk behind a computer all the time. What my job really needs is brain mass, and I think I can compete on that level with anyone of my peers. And have.

  3. You just need some more education, sister. C'est-à-dire, j'adore le rant. If it isn't that you chicks are too emotional, it's that you aren't ruthless enough, etc etc yabba dabba doo. The notion of proper place is alive and unkillable, like Hammer's Dracula.

    1. Ha Randal! You truly are correct on the "ruthless" issue. I know I'm not ruthless enough. But that part of me I accept completely. I'll never apologize or feel sorry for myself for not having a dagger in my back pocket!

  4. I think you, like millions of others, are experiencing the effects of a prolonged employer's market. I hope your additional degree will give you the edge you need.

    Just a thought, but might it also be helpful to seek out some specialized segment of the cost-estimating field? Say, medical care infrastructure (e.g. "We're looking at doubling the size of our radiology department, and trying to project what that might cost . . .").

    In any case, I wish you good luck and good hunting.