EppsNet Archive: Nurses

To Young Women Considering a Career in Technology

30 Aug 2017 /

You’ve probably read a lot of articles about how sexist and awful the culture is for women in technology.

I think if anything deters young women from technology careers, it’s this glut of articles saying how sexist and awful the culture is.

Young female technologist

I’ve worked in software development for 30 years. In my experience — and feel free to discount this because I’m not a woman — the culture is not tough for women. If anything, men give women the benefit of the doubt because they’d like to have more women around.

As Holden Caulfield used to say, “I like to be somewhere at least where you can see a few girls around once in a while, even if they’re only scratching their arms or blowing their noses or even just giggling or something.”

Yes, I have seen bad things happen to women in tech, but I’ve seen bad things happen to men and I’ve had bad things happen to me. I’m also aware of bad things happening to women in other professions. We’ve all had our ups and downs.

How to explain this? Bad things happen to women because they’re women and bad things happen to men because — what? We deserve it?

You’ve probably also read a lot of articles about a “diversity chasm” in tech, usually written by women who work in tech and can’t understand why every young woman in America is not making the same career choices they themselves have made.

Women, like any group, are under-represented in some professions (like tech) and over-represented in other professions — education and health services, for example.

Is a software engineering career objectively better than being a nurse or a teacher or a therapist or any of the careers that women seem to prefer?

I’m happy to admit that I don’t know what the “right” male-female ratio is for any given profession and that I don’t know what other people should be doing with their lives.

Programming has been a pretty good career for me — I like to build things and I like to solve hard problems — but I’ve spent most of my life alone in a room or cubicle staring at a computer screen. It’s not for everyone. There are pros and cons like any other job.

I don’t have a daughter but my son never took an interest in programming and I never pushed him to do so. He graduated college with a degree in business. I have no reason to think his life will be less fulfilling because he’s not working in a technology job.

TL;DR:

  • Don’t pursue a technology career because someone else thinks you should.
  • Don’t pursue a technology career to make some point about gender roles in society.
  • Don’t be scared off by inaccurate (IMO) generalizations about anti-female culture.
  • Follow your heart.

Thus spoke The Programmer.


Where Are the Additional Women in Technology Supposed to Come From?

29 Jul 2017 /

The jobs report for May contained discouraging news: continuing low labor-force participation, now below 63 percent overall. About 20 million men between the prime working ages of 20 and 65 had no paid work in 2015, and seven million men have stopped looking altogether.

In the meantime, the jobs most in demand — like nursing and nurse assistants, home health care aides, occupational therapists or physical therapists — sit open. The health care sector had the largest gap between vacancies and hires of any sector in April, for example.

We hear a lot about a shortage of women in technology jobs but we don’t hear about a shortage of men in traditionally female jobs.

It’s really two sides of the same problem. Unless a lot of women suddenly appear out of nowhere, the only way to get more women into professions where they’re currently under-represented — like technology — is to get them out of professions like health care, which they seem to prefer but in which they are significantly over-represented.

In theory, nursing should appeal to men because the pay is good and it’s seen as a profession with a defined skill set.

But the NYT cites a study from UMass Amherst, showing that not only will most unemployed men resist taking a “feminine” job, but that those men who might have been willing to consider it encountered resistance from their wives, who urged them to keep looking.

So much for diversity . . .

Speaking of which, here is a screenshot of the current board of directors of a nursing organization that I used to work with.

https://www.aacn.org/about-aacn/board?tab=Board%20of%20Directors

Nursing is a white female dominated profession, much more so than technology is a white male dominated profession, but I worked with this organization for about five years and never heard word one about a lack of diversity in nursing.

It’s hard to imagine an organization in 2017 having a 15-member all-white, all-male board of directors without drawing a lot of negative attention but all-white, all-female is okay.

I see a tremendous number of proposals for “empowering” women to get into technical professions that they may just not be interested in, but if the number of women in technology is considered problematic, then the number of women in nursing (and other over-represented professions) has to be considered equally problematic.

Where else are the additional women in technology supposed to come from?

Thus spoke The Programmer.


The Man With Two Hats

6 Aug 2010 /
Peterbilt cap

At the doctor’s office this afternoon, there was a man about 70 years old in the waiting room wearing a Peterbilt cap and holding a similar cap in his hands.

Later I asked the nurse why the guy needed two caps.

“He left his cap here on his last appointment,” she said. “We gave it back to him today so now he has two.”

“Oh that makes sense,” I said. “I was thinking it was maybe a symptom of whatever it is he’s being treated for.”


I Went Deaf on Christmas Eve

24 Dec 2008 /

I. At home

I tell my son I’m going to the urgent care walk-in clinic.

“What for?” he asks.

“I want to find out why I’ve gone deaf in my left ear.”

“You’ve got an ear infection,” he says. “I had one when I came back from Thailand. I was also coughing 24/7 so I had to take this insane cough syrup and ear infection pills.”

“I’m not coughing 24/7. I’ve got a lot of congestion though.”

“You’ll just get the ear infection pills then.”

“When you took them, could you feel your ear canal cracking open? Man, that’s the best! It’s almost worth it to have a clogged passage just to feel it cracking open again.”

“Yeah, but it takes a couple of days.”

II. At the doctor’s office

The nurse takes my blood pressure. “100 over 60,” she says.

Nurse

“Is that good?” I ask. (I already know it’s good . . . I just want to hear her acknowledge that, even though I’m much older than she is, I’m in excellent physical condition and could undoubtedly satisfy her sexually.)

“Yes. Now I’m going to take your pulse.” She takes it and writes it down on the chart.

“What was it?” I ask.

“Sixty-four.”

“Is that good?”

“Yes. The doctor will be right in.”

The doctor looks in my ear and tells me I have an ear infection. She gives me a prescription for antibiotics and recommends Sudafed — “the kind you have to ask for” — for the congestion.

III. At the Pharmacy

I pick up my prescription and I ask the pharmacist for Sudafed.

“What kind?” he asks.

“The kind you have to ask for.”

(A couple of years ago, the original Sudafed, and all other products containing pseudoephedrine (PSE), was moved “behind the counter” by federal legislation because PSE can be used to produce methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth. The over-the-counter version of Sudafed is now called Sudafed PE and contains phenylephrine instead of PSE.)

So the pharmacist brings the Sudafed, asks for a photo ID, and says, “You have to initial the form there to indicate that you’re not going to resell it.”

“Really? How much do you think I could get for it?”

“Kids resell them at clubs for 3 to 10 times market value.”

“Wow. That really highlights my lack of initiative. I’m just hoping it makes the inside of my head feel less like a toasted marshmallow.”