Sunday, January 16, 2011

Paid Work

Tuesday I return to my office. For the last four months I have been working in another building on a special project. A group of analysts and users were pulled together to form a team to complete a software project that probably cost well over one-half million dollars. Two consultants, one from Utah and one from Virginia, commuted weekly and led the development process.

It was a good experience for many reasons.

I was the only University developer assigned to the project and the only male except for one of the consultants. The young man from Utah with whom I worked is sharp, knowledgeable, competent, fast, courteous and pleasant. I have never been fast and am at the age that my mental speed is declining further. It was enjoyable working with him and following his lead to learn the system. The two of us did all the development. Next week I'll add further enhancements, fix problems as they are found and begin another related project. I'll miss being able to turn to him and get his opinion.

The other consultant was a young woman. The same description applies. She is sharp, knowledgeable, competent, fast, courteous and pleasant. Her laugh and mannerisms are fixed in my memory. I'll miss the opportunity to work with her.

Many years ago the first job I found after getting out of the army was as receiving manager at a local business. I supervised a staff that was predominately female. It wasn't a good experience. I stayed with the job only a few months before moving to another position. At that time I vowed I would never work with women again.

In my current job I work mainly with females. Over half the developers on my team are female. My immediate supervisor is female. The team that worked together for the last four months was eight young women, one young man and me. I had a thoroughly enjoyable time sitting back, watching and listening to the group. I'm glad I failed to keep that vow from 40 years ago.

It was a good four months.


Blogger Buffalo said...

Gotta wonder what precipitated that vow.

1/16/2011 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

HA! Try 15 years with 99% females! It's like swimming in a sea of estragen!

1/16/2011 02:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Lani said...

I don't think I had the chance to tell you that enjoyed working with you immensely. This isn't a compliment in light of your kind words. I really enjoyed the time we had to work together and I appreciate the sense of calm and kindness that you always exude. You do your job as well as (or even better than) other technical resources that I have worked with, but you also manage take the time to enjoy life and are willing to share that enjoyment with others who show an interest. It is refreshing to work by your side.

I actually made a similar "no female dominated work situation" vow about 10 years ago. About 6 months prior, I had moved to a company and position where there were around 20 females and one male. Over time, a savage competitive air seemed to have developed and most people were looking out for themselves (with quite a few plotting the downfall of others).

I like to think of myself as laid-back when it comes to the big picture, but it was a strain to remain happy in that situation. When I left, I swore that would be the last time I would be in that situation.

Now that I am consulting, I don't have a choice in the project team make up. I have the choice to leave, of course, but the nightmare situation hasn't occurred again. This project was a great success in terms of the personality mixture and I feel lucky to have been a part of it.

I agree that it was a good four months. :)

1/18/2011 10:20:00 AM  

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