defying expectation (why do engineers wear ugly clothes?)
Let me recap for a minute: I had time to check my bags, go through security, get through a gate change from one corner of the airport to the absolute farthest point, and still made it in time to see people on the jetway boarding the flight. And couldn’t get on.
So basically I spent the morning waiting in line, on the phone with Bard Travel, emailing Hertz, and dealing with the general annoyances of rebooking flights and cars to obscure cities and small airports.
OK, vent session over.
I also spent the morning people-watching at the world’s greatest airport. Over lunch, I met a man who runs a logistics company and he asked me, as most people do, what I do for a living. I told him I was an engineer, and he laughed. As most people do. He told me I didn’t look like an engineer.
This is not the first time I’ve heard this. Once, when Iris and I were at an ICU visit in Fort Lauderdale, the nurse told us that when he heard he would be hosting two engineers, he was expecting “two old white guys.”
We are about as far from two old white guys as you can get.
It doesn’t really faze me. Or at least, not any more. I’ve grown up doing things that people don’t expect. I grew up listening to emo and country.
|With my dad (Happy Father’s Day!) on senior night at Parkview.|
|OK, a Dremel isn’t heavy machinery, but I don’t have pictures of myself operating the band saw.|
I don’t know that we always realize how important our expectations are. Expectations color our perceptions, and no matter how unbiased we try to be, our perceptions shape our realities. This is especially true if you’re a woman working in a male-dominated industry. When men dress well for work, it’s seen as dressing well. When women dress well at work, it’s seen as trying to leverage their looks to get ahead in their careers. When I was at Georgia Tech, I would read blogs about the perception gap about women and men in high positions. I showed up to meetings in pants suits because I didn’t want my legs to communicate that I wasn’t capable of doing my job.
|I did all my headshots in pants. No exceptions.|
And now I wear a skirt and heels to work almost every day.
|Because there’s nothing wrong with wearing pretty clothes to the clinic or the lab.|