Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gender and College Majors

I recently came across this article:

The primary point of this article is that one of the reasons men make more money the women is the choice of college major - that accounts for 19% of the income gap for the high school class of 1999. This isn't particularly surprising - men choose engineering more, women choose nursing more...this ends up skewing the aggregate pay comparisons between men and women. Fine.

The more disturbing stat is that once women begin achieving parity in male-dominated fields, overall pay for that career goes DOWN. Case in point is biomedical engineering. Yes, engineering. Now that it's basically 50-50, pay has stagnated, whereas male-dominated engineering fields, like electrical engineering, are still highly paid.

They suggest one reason could be that women don't negotiate as much, bringing down the aggregate pay rate of a field when they enter a field en masse. Or that once women join a field in large numbers, the field becomes less valued.

Either way, it's pretty depressing. Selfishly, I guess I'm glad that I'm the only woman for miles in my company. In a larger's pretty depressing. What do you think it is? The lack of negotiation of the devaluation of a field once many women enter it?

Friday, August 14, 2009

This is nice to see

Glenn Beck is a motherfucking douchenozzle.


I bought this today:

It makes me happy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

One more thing

Another thing which I cannot get used to about corporate life is the feeling that you are on the clock. No, I'm not really on the clock. No one is timing my trips to the bathroom. No one is making sure I am there N hours a day. No one is making sure of anything. Yet, the feeling persists.

The primary effect this has on me is the post-lunch nap. Sometimes, I get painfully, unbelievably sleepy at lunch. As I've blogged before, I can usually alleviate this problem in about 10 minutes with a desk nap. It's all I need - to put my head down for 10 minutes and when I wake up again, I am generally really refreshed and ready to go.

Except that I feel certain that it would be frowned upon for me to do that. Even though no one cared in grad school.

The frustrating thing is, I *know* that if I just did it, I would be much more productive, but instead, I spend 45 minutes to an hour, just suffering and trying to fight it out. Staring at computer screens or pages and blinking, trying hard to almost fall asleep but not. I try some caffeine, but not too much because I don't want to be kept up at night, and chances are by the time the caffeine kicks in, I'll have slipped out of the danger zone anyway. I literally lose an hour-ish a day in this zombie-zone, and it drives me crazy.

I'm not sure if I should bring this up to anyone/my boss and just say, "look. I need a 10 minute snooze, and I promise you I'll be better for it."

What do you guys think? I think it really depends on the work environment, and I'm not sure how mine would take this.

Another Industrial Observation

So another thing that comes with industrial work is secrecy and lawyers.

When you're in academia, and you go to a conference, run into your friend, and decide over beers that you'd like to collaborate on something, you do it. Even if you are from different institutions. And if someone asks you about what you are working on, you're pretty much delighted to tell them about your brilliant ideas.

When you're in industry, it's fairly easy to collaborate with academics, but other companies, other labs? Forget it! It can be a nightmare. Call the lawyers! Who owns this IP? Good golly. Not only that, there is all sorts of secrecy within the company as well. Who ever heard of a grad student keeping their work under wraps against their own labmates? I'm not talking about the kind of knowledge hoarding like how to use this tool, or how to use this technique. I'm talking about not telling anyone anything about what you are doing at all.

I don't really mind any of these things, it's just quite an interesting transition. It makes life somewhat interesting, this life of intrigue...I think because I am somewhat interested in the business aspects of what I work on...I don't think of my ideas just as in a vacuum. Thus, thinking of the work as a part of holistic view of the company, I don't mind the secrecy because I can see how it is parter of a larger corporate strategy. I would think though, that people who are idea people and don't care about practicalities or business would completely chafe at these sorts of restrictions.

I do sort of mind the lawyers I guess...not that I have anything against lawyers, but having to check with them sometimes about how to interact with colleagues at other corporations is just annoying.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Note to Traveling Parents

It seems every time I get on a plane these days, there is a parent who is traveling with 1-2 small children who don't seem to get that children cannot be still for 3+ hours, no matter how much you shush them.

A few months ago, I went on a flight with a young mother and her two sons, I'm guessing 3 and 5 years old. a 5-6 hour flight, and she had NOTHING for them to do the whole time. I felt so sorry for the poor boys, who I'm sure were getting sooooo restless. The whole flight, she just said to them, "SIT. DOWN." or "STOP IT." I thought, if they have no toys, no coloring books, are not allowed to get up and run around for a few minutes, what do you think is going to happen? They are going to fuss, we are talking about little boys here!!! She basically wanted them to sit completely still the whole time. Whaaaa?

Yesterday, I was on a 3-hr flight and a mom was holding her ~1 year old baby. She was sooo in love with her kid, and he *was* cute. You could tell she's a new first time mom though. This kid fussed for a long time, just kicking his legs around and squirming, and I thought...lady, this kid needs to stretch his legs! The more he squirmed, the more she tried to swaddle him with a blanket and hold him tight. She endlessly wrapped this blanket around him while he kicked his way out of it. And I'm like, this kid needs some activity!

Anyhoo. That's just my random advice to people.