Jaded as F!
Where do I begin? When I started studying physics I was oblivious to sexism. I knew I was treated differently (like I was a dumb infant), but I thought it was because I was 18, 19, 20 years old! I’m 26 and feel like I have not been treated with respect and like I am the intelligent person that I am. More recently, in graduate school my advisor was in the physics department and my coadviser was in the materials science and engineering department. A graduate student peer in my lab was extremely sexist towards me, but I put up with it because I needed to learn how to use a type of microscope that was built in the lab (no manual or help desk). I hardly learned anything from that ass because he would tell me he couldn’t teach me certain things because I “would not understand it” (his words). Then, I developed a chronic stomach illness from the harassment from him, causing me days of work lost due to painful bouts of nausea and cramping (this was in addition to the depression – yay grad school). I told my advisor about the illness, but he and my coadvisor did not inform me that I could sign up with disability services for help. NOPE! After a colonoscopy, lots of meds, and psychiatry appointments, I figured out on my own that stress and harassment were causing my illness and started yoga/meditation. After a year of illness and a couple months of self-care, I cured myself, but my advisor told me “I wanted to fire you, but it would take too long to train someone new.” Fast forward a couple months, I taught myself how to use the microscope instrument and modified it to image using a different technique. I started getting real results! I presented at a conference! I was working 50-60 hr weeks! I was on track to advance to candidacy! I was doing REALLY WELL! And my advisor and coadvisor stopped helping me with my project, told me repeatedly to leave and “GET A JOB”, that my personality wasn’t that of a researcher (WTF does that even mean?!?), told me they did not have funding for me but hired a post-doc for me to train, told our collaborators I was not making any progress, and gave me two unsatisfactory grades so that I could not apply for funding through a TA or some other avenue. (Did I mention I earned a fellowship ALL BY MYSELF the previous year to support me, saving my advisor lots of money?) After doing everything within my power to stay in grad school and change my grades, I left because my health and happiness needed saving. Now, I work as a researcher at a company. I love my job, but my coworkers (male) do not like that my boss put me in charge of their team after one month at the company (because I am that legit and experienced as a coordinator/leader; I have skills). They had a secret team meeting without me last week where they discussed how to work AROUND me instead of with me (yes, I listed to their conversation through the door. no, they do not know I heard them… YET! I get to have that fun discussion about how to be professional in the workplace when I hold the team meeting this week.). I have been literally sick and tired from sexism; it is everywhere I go in my young, budding career, and I am getting Jaded as F! dealing with these situations EVERY WEEK. I love science. I love my job. I am good at science. I am good at my job. WHY DON’T THESE MEN WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE FACT THAT I AM SMARTER THAN THEM?!? Instead they belittle my work and accomplishments and plot behind my back to get rid of me. Also, I am pissed that I know so many smart women who believe that what they experience does not matter. Too many women underestimate themselves and don’t live out their full potential because they believe when someone tells them they cannot do something. I have done things professors and students and advisors told me NOT to do, and that is how I got to graduate school in the first place, and why I have amazing leadership skills and experience across many disciplines. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do!!