Tales of a Mac Tech

Yes, it’s true. I am a female technician. Shocked?

You are thinking, well, NO, I’m not shocked by that, I know lots of women who work all day on computers. Let me ask you this: how many of those women are technicians? Not designers, not database designers, not web designers or hackers. Now add in “Macintosh Specialist”. Don’t be alarmed if you can’t think of anyone–neither can I!!

This, my first commentary, is about how I feel about being in my unique position as a female Mac tech in a male dominated, PC dominated world.

First off, let’s tackle the Mac issue. This is one irritating facet of my professional life. If I had a dollar for every comment that began “You know, if you’d learn Windoze, you’d make a LOT more money…” I could retire right this minute!! The fact of the matter is this: I LIKE what I do and I’m damned good at it! Why should I support a platform that I do not ‘get’ and I do not enjoy supporting? Oh, yes, I can do Windoze support, and I do occasionally if I must, but as a rule, I get no satisfaction from it.

The abuse we Mac people take from MicroSoft drones is really ridiculous. It seems that the millions of Mac users out there just don’t exist, according to the drones. The fact is that certain industries are almost 100% Mac, despite what the pimply faced teenaged salesman at Best Buy will try to tell you. You would not get your newspaper in the morning if Macs were not involved! Oh, and there is a ton of software for Mac, too. Don’t buy into the herd mentality!

I think of the whole computer industry as a yin-yang model. There are PC users (yang) and Mac users (Yin). As the yin-yang model goes, yang is male, aggressive, dominating and Yin is female, intuitive and accomodating. It is interestng to me that the users of these computers fall into similar categories. Both platforms have strengths and weaknesses and both are necessary to balance the other. All the stupid arguments about This is better than That are simply futile. If you really want a new and improved platform, then you need to look into Linux! But that would put you WAY outside the mainstream–kinda like being a Libertarian…

Now about gender bias. It seems as though I’m the only FEMALE Macintosh technician in Metro Atlanta. I know no other females who do support! I am a member of my local Mac User Group, AMUG, and I am the only female tech in the group [that has identified herself as such]. That wouldn’t be an irritation IF I was given equal billing as the male techs. But as it is, whenever there is some sort of technical discussion or Fix Your Mac day, I am not called upon for input. I was not even included in the Consultant listing, which was all male. This bothers me.

Of course, being in the South doesn’t help matters, either. Gender bias is an insidious problem and it is a very subtle kind of inequality that runs rampant in the o-so-conservative South. My last job is a prime example of being paid less than my male counterpart AND having NO seniority despite the fact that I had worked for the company for 9 months when he came aboard! My male boss claimed that there was not a problem!! The male support tech ordered me around, disparaged my work and even raised his voice with me. I took the matter to Human Resources (ha!) and was met with the same incomprehension.

Even the female designers were paid less than the males. Is it just me, or is this a total crock of shit?

I truly believe that if all salaries were made public this would no longer be an issue. Imagine the outrage if ALL salaries were listed publicly! Who, in her right mind, would knowingly and publicly work for 25% less just because she lacked a penis? Of course this begs the question: why do women do it now? We all know that there is a salary gap, but it is not spoken about in the name of privacy. Does it really make sense that salaries are not discussed due to bad taste? Puhleeze! They [and many other “taboo” subjects] are not discussed to keep the status quo.

This is one of the main reasons that I am self employed. I left that semi-corporate job because of the gender bias and I’ve never looked back. I left that job in the name of equality and honesty. I refuse to reinforce the notion that it is OK for me to be paid less and treated differently than ANYONE. If enough women refused, then there would be change. If enough people refused the status quo, this would be a different world, wouldn’t it?