Lu-Lu-Lucy's Rant

Picking up the mess | Living life | sans tiger-parents

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New year, new rant

It’s been nearly two years since I posted anything here! I apologize for my disappearance. Well, many many many things have taken place in the last 700+ days. Lots of happy moments, some very disappointing ones and some infuriating ones – all in all, I’d like to think that I have grown from them all.

The biggest change being that I left construction, cuz my boss was (likely, remains) a sexist loser. He walked into my office one day and told me that I sucked at 3D visualizing, but it’s expected cuz I am a girl. This coming from my supposed mentor, my supervisor, the owner of the company, and worst of all, a father of a teenage daughter – it was most disappointing. I left that job. I filed a complaint with WorkSafeBC that got nowhere. Their procedures included speaking to my ex colleagues – are we surprised they denied that their boss was a sexist bully?! I tried to file a complaint with APEGBC (the Association of Professional Engineers and Geologists of BC) and was told that they only care about engineers who fail to comply ethically in a technical way (ie designing an unsafe building). What a pile of shit. How could this association which is supposed to hold members to their highest standards put up with men treating women unfairly? Quoting their code of ethics #7: Conduct themselves with fairness, courtesy and good faith towards clients, colleagues and others, give credit where it is due and accept, as well as give, honest and fair professional comment. If the association does not (want to) acknowledge such happenings, then why is it even part of the code??

It was definitely a low point in my life – I even donated all my codes / reference material and thought I was saying goodbye to construction for good! People love to talk about gender equality, how it’s come such a long way since women could vote, etc. But really? A woman only needs to work in construction a few days to see how backwards this industry alone remains. It is mostly still run by 60/70+ year olds, who have mentored the up-and-coming generation of mostly men. I guess I can only hope that the world out there is generally bigger on gender equality, cuz… from my personal experience, construction certainly isn’t.

When I was 23 and fresh out of school, guys on site or in the shop catcalling… old men calling me “honey” or “sweetheart” didn’t faze me one bit. I was too young and too naive to even think about wage inequality. I was like, “bring it on! I am ready to show you how I will kick ass in construction and earn your respect!” Maybe it’s my bad luck, maybe it’s my glass-half-empty attitude.. I just haven’t worked somewhere that I truly felt respected. Not to mention having a mentor. So, all these years later, my career is in shambles. I have left construction twice now, only to realize that I miss it whenever I am out of it. I miss the efficiency of the industry (no one wants to pay for a crane or a whole crew on site doing nothing, not even a day), everyone’s common goal is to get the damn thing built as efficiently, on budget, on time as possible.

When I first walked away from the monsters (parents), I became very black and white. I demanded it from self and those around me. Needless to say, that does not bode well in a work environment (and I am thankful for friends who have put up with me and remain by my side). It’s not to say I regret leaving the job with the sexist boss. It’s just that I understand now that I cannot wage battles everywhere. It’s nearly damned impossible to find friends who share (can put up with) my values and ideals and moral compass, work is certainly not the place to do so.

In the job following the sexist boss, I walked into a tech start up (oooh, sounds like an awesome work place, right?!) ruled by an evil queen. I saw something unfair taking place at work, spoke up about it, and got threatened by said evil queen and HR, who was the queen’s pet. It opened my eyes that unfairness, corruption, fcked up politics, ass-kissing, sexism – all this shittiness exist across industries. My new conclusion is that construction is not the only sucky-ballz industry. My silly, innocent brain thought that I would find bliss outside of it. I guess some things we just need to learn on our own.

So, I am writing this entry as a jobless person. Trying to get back into construction. One of my new year’s resolutions is to “Be Positive!” A good friend recently told me that my general tendency is to see things in a negative light, while she is the exact opposite. In fact, she said she is so positive that she is unable to see / feel negatively overall! So this is my #1 challenge in this new year. I am training myself to see the glass as half-full all the time!

I guess I am lucky that my brain seems to have a fairly high capacity of blocking out shitty experience. Only this time, I have lived through it, allowed myself to be present and feel the sadness, rage, disappointment, etc. I have learnt to recognize my feelings, remind self that my feelings do not rule over me and will pass. And now, I am ready to move on.


Can equality exist?

Most of you have likely seen this French short film through some form of social media: it flips women’s and men’s roles and let men get a feel of what it’s like to be women. If you haven’t already seen it, I invite you to check it out. It’s worth the 10 minutes.

Some of the events which struck me as really ridiculous – ie. effective for men to witness in this light, were the day home care-giver (dude) sporting the headdress, and the sexual assault victim and his experience at the police station. I was sexually assaulted by my freaking ancient 65+ year old neighbour a few years ago.  It was the most awkward and uncomfortable thing when the policeman showed up to my apartment to ask me questions.

I feel like being a woman is an everyday battle. We don’t have to bring up “rape culture” to stir up a discussion. Let’s talk about income disparity. Are men proven to be smarter, more hard working, more career-focused? Is it because they are not the ones having to give birth, therefore usually not the ones taking a year off to care for new borns? Are women paying for the biological make-up and functionality of our bodies? The top-earning (CEOs) men in Canada bring home an average of $2 mil, while the top-earning women in Canada bring home an average of $500k. 

What about toys for children? Have you walked into Toys”R”Us? Why is it that the girls aisles are pink, and the boys aisles are full of colors? Are we conditioning and perpetuating the next generation to repeat what we are going through? Did you know the first talking Barbie said “Math is hard!”?? Is it interesting (or disgusting?) that girls have a greater selection of toys that don’t require any skills of putting any parts together, maybe besides stickers? While boys get to exercise their brains by putting together Lego, robots, and cars? Is that why in college/university, the number of young women makes up less than 15-20% of most engineering classes? I graduated 10 years ago. I just attended an industry and students mixer last night, and I don’t quite see a break in this trend.

Why is it that generation after generation, women feel the need to show off their bodies, get photographed half or completely naked for magazines? And then we demand to be respected?! Well, no wonder men think of us as sex objects.

It is very tiring to fight an uphill battle every day. What can I do? How can I help to bring about some positive change for women? Should I simply accept that women are the sensitive, nurturing ones, the care givers of homes, who will always make less money than our male counterparts? Should I accept that equality is not meant to exist..??