But mostly I don't talk about work because my job isn't all that interesting to people who aren't doing my job, or doing a job that relies on me doing my job. My job is figuring out how to get computer systems to do stuff the users want computer systems to do, but the users don't want to do anything particularly fascinating.
Don't get me wrong - I love my job. It's quasi-nerd heaven. I say quasi-nerd because to be full-nerd I'd have to be a programmer, and I don't program. It's too much like math. But I can put together a workflow diagram that makes grown men cry. I get to spend enormous amounts of time problem solving and diagramming and brainstorming. Pig in slop, I'm tellin' ya.
So, instead of posting about work, I'm going to post about a conversation I had today at work. Clever, no? The conversation was with a woman I used to work with often, but rarely even see any more, since she's been working on projects that don't involve me, and her group has moved to a different building.
Her job is similar to mine, but more technical. We work on different computer systems. My system does some stuff and then hands off data to her system, which proceeds to do different stuff, and sometimes hands off data back to my system. These systems were originally developed independently of each other, and so getting them to play nicely has been an ongoing challenge. Right now we're completely redesigning and upgrading our system, and her system is getting upgraded and slightly redesigned, so our paths are starting to cross again.
Today we had a meeting to discuss one of the touchpoints between our systems, and after the meeting I went back to her desk to pick her brain a bit about another issue that we're having. We have an old joke between us that if they'd just leave us to our own devices for a couple of days, we'd fix all the quirks that make our two systems so cranky when they talk to each other. Today, she commented on it again, then remarked that we'd do a good job of it because we're good at seeing the big picture and how everything affects everything else. Which led to a discussion of how women tend to be very good at the kind of job we do, because women tend to consider a broad range of factors when problem solving, while men tend to be more linear thinkers.
Before you get all snippy with me about gender bias, I'm not making this stuff up. It's basic brain theory. Men think in one direction; women think in all directions. Men think with one side of their brains at a time; women are more likely to engage both sides of the brain when problem solving. So leave me alone, OK? It was just a conversation! Don't call HR on me! I've been to diversity training, dangit!
See why I don't post about work?
In any case, we were chatting about men being focused thinkers while women aren't, and she commented that she's finally figured out - after being married for a gazillion years - that men are simple creatures and she's been giving way too much credit to her husband's thought processes. This realization came to her one day, when she left behind a laundry basket of clean clothes one morning and came home to find her husband had folded everything in the basket except her clothes.
She was immediately on guard. What did it mean? Had she made him mad? Was he trying to tell her something? Was there some underlying message he was trying to send, something wrong in their relationship? Not being the shy type, she asked him about it.
And this was his answer: Well, I saw some socks in the basket, so matched them up, and then I saw some t-shirts and folded those, and there were some towels so I folded those, and then the rest of the stuff in the basket looked kind of complicated so I didn't try to fold it.
Yes, folks, he was sending her a message all right. And the message was, It was hard, so I didn't do it.