Monday, November 03, 2014

Listening

Friday night I was very privileged to be able to hang out with my wife at her place of employment; it's a very cool, very forward-thinking place to be working and I'm extremely grateful that my wife gets to work there (not the least of which because it means that my night-terrors about being out of work aren't money-related). I've met a number of really nifty people who work there, but that night was special. That night, I was surrounded.

Specifically, I was surrounded by enormously talented, confident, intelligent women who work in development, engineering, and operations. It was not exactly brand-new to me; I've taken to trailing along to PyLadies with my partner and it's where I met some really fantastic people I'm very happy to know. But this was an environment where everyone knew one another; everyone was relaxed and open and laughing and having a good time and talking about nerdy stuff and the energy was just fantastic.

I tried very hard to be quiet. As a man, especially as a white man in IT, my voice is basically the default one; it's the voice that comes out of most of the CEOs and CTOs and CFOs and the rest of the alphabet-soup-level people not to mention most of the Dev and Ops people. So when I found myself in a situation where my voice wasn't the default, I tried very hard to listen more than I spoke.

I had a great time, but I was reminded again that there are amazing people here in Portland and amazing companies here in Portland and I want to be a part of that amazing stuff. And that listening is a skill that I need to work on.