Saturday, January 14, 2012

The ironic guest blog post

I've got another guest blog post up at the Women in Tech blog.  Betsy retitled it, controversially, to "Do Women in Tech Deserve Special Treatment?".  It could use a little comment love, so please go on over there and join the discussion.  It's a rewrite of my post here, with some additional info from the insightful comments you guys left me on Facebook and here.

Ironically, Betsy decided to publish that post on the same day I started my 'Learning Circle' training, through our Women's Leadership Council at work.  Heh.  I was wondering if my classmates would think I was some kind of traitor, but no one said anything.

The format of the class is interesting.  It's 2 all-day workshops and monthly 2 hour peer group sessions.  The whole thing lasts 6 months.  It's way more about personal development, though you can address work-related concerns.  The idea is to built a small tight-knit community of women to support each other.  Sort of like informal group therapy.  I was pretty weirded out by it at first, but by the end of the day, I was more relaxed.  I'm an introvert, and not super-comfortable with all the personal sharing a class like this entails (funny, isn't it?) so I knew this would be a stretch for me.

The facilitators are dynamic and likeable.  They had us do a self-assessment of things that are going well, things that are ok, and what needs work in our lives.  Then we had to choose one thing that needed work and really analyze it - why are we in that state, what's keeping us from resolving it, what choices we might make differently to help.   We had to do this in pairs, with a "coach" who was one of the other participants.  Yikes.

In going through the exercise, I found some surprising things lurking in my brain.  My partner had some good insight and offered some help as well.  It was nice to meet new colleagues and learn more about *them*.  On most days I feel like I work with a bunch of robots, because we never talk about anything personal.

sad face (19/365 dps)
 photo by selasasore on Flickr

I can't honestly say I *liked* it yet, though.  It was not uplifting and inspiring like the Mondo Beyondo class.  Right now it feels like I'm wallowing in my biggest issue (not surprisingly, it's weight-related).  And, even worse than that, hearing about things the other participants are struggling with made me feel like a big complainer, because I'm lucky to be in a place where things are going really well for me overall.  I guess the "community" part of it is already working, because the weight of their sorrows is really bringing me down too.

I'm bummed.  I can see it's a great program for building self-awareness and helping us solve some of our pressing issues while building a peer group of women in our division.  But I walked in there at 9am feeling happy, on top of the world, and excited to have been chosen for this program.  I left at 5pm, exhausted and sad, lower than I've felt in ages.  I went home and slept from 6pm to 7:30am.

Of course I'll go back, and hope it gets better as we all get to know each other and start vanquishing our demons.  But for now, I'm a little disappointed.  :(


  1. I wish I had some great suggestion or something. I'm sure coming off MB your "calibration" for what's good is set a little high right now. :) I hope the group ends up better, and maybe you were a little sick the first day (all that sleeping makes me suspicious, though I know hard mental work can make you tired, too).

  2. @Stephanie - You are so wise :) You're probably right that my meter is set a little high. And I'm still getting over the crud that I've had for the past couple of weeks, so that could definitely be it.

    Someone who's done this workshop before told me that it DEFINITELY gets better, too :)

  3. I do not like groups where I have to share. It would probably drive me nuts. In fact, that reminds me...

  4. @nicoleandmaggie - Love your post, thanks for sharing. That's why i tend to avoid some of those random events, but I signed up for this one.

    I thought it was more of a "what color is your parachute/what do you want out of life" thing that would help me see where I wanted to go in both career and life. I'm still holding out hope.

    On the bright side, none of the folks in the group are people I actually work *with* so that's good.


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