So for a bit now I have seen lots of friends partaking in the bit going around Facebook where they post 10 bands/singers they’ve seen live in concert only one is a lie and everyone else is supposed to guess. I generally don’t follow along, but I started seeing people adapting the meme a bit – e.g. “I don’t go to rock concerts but here are 10 operas I’ve been to.”

That’s when, combined with other news coming out about diversity/harassment issues I got an idea. So here’s what I decided to post a couple days ago (I gave my friends time to guess):

OK I’ll jump on the latest bandwagon, here are 10 performances I’ve seen can you guess which one is the lie?

  1. Man pretends he’s not staring at my chest for half an hour while asking me questions during a job interview.
  2. Lead designer of a game makes a big show of bringing me into a dog and pony so I can give feedback on a storyline because I can speak for ALL women gamer’s opinions and he really wants to diversify their audience this time around.
  3. COO of a company proudly claims they have a pure meritocracy and he just needs to work out a better way to screen female candidates since none of the women seem to succeed there.
  4. Audio guy loads up a whistle .wav on a hotkey that he then plays every time I walk by (talk about lazy to not even just whistle himself!).
  5. Marketing director walks up behind the chair I’m sitting in, kisses me on the top of my head, yells “isn’t she great!” to everyone sitting nearby, and then walks away.
  6. Male boss tells me that while yes I am doing the exact same job as my male coworkers, with the same level of quality, there’s a “very good reason” why they are getting paid more even though I’ve been there longer.
  7. New employee sees me, a senior producer at the company, come in the front door from lunch and asks who my boyfriend/husband is here so he can take me to see him. I tell him I’m the senior producer for the game he just got assigned to and I’ll see him in the all-hands meeting in the large conference room in 5 minutes.
  8. Lead programmer ‘sits me down’ to try to explain ‘how to use a command prompt to fix this simple issue by releasing my IP addy’ and ensures me he’ll do his best to not ‘go over my head’ on this (while I have a whole monitor half filled with a command prompt screen filled with ipconfig, /release, and /renew commands shown).
  9. EP always asks me, and not my peer male producer, to go make coffee for the team before every all hands-on meeting.
  10. Male coworker who I would occasionally play card, dice, board games with during lunches/breaks sees me come in from lunch holding a motorcycle helmet after I’d just gone on a ride on the back of a friends’ bike. He then joins me in a small conference room to finish up one of our games for the rest of that lunch, talks to me about the bike he used to have and it looked like I enjoyed the ride, and then shows up the next day riding his brand new motorcycle.

Although I was tempted to make them all true I did actually put one lie in I decided against it. Sadly, so many friends and colleagues remarked about how difficult it was to guess because of how plausible each of these items were. This was especially true for the women who often guessed a number because it was the only one that they hadn’t had a similar experience to in their career.

It sparked some interesting discussions and I even have had some friends create their own lists to post on their wall, but this clearly shows we still have a long way to go. Here’s hoping that the current workforce starts making the changes they need so that the next generation of women won’t have such an easy time to create a list like this.

P.S. The lie is #9. I don’t drink coffee and have only made it a few times in my life so my guess is it never happened because the coffee drinkers didn’t want to deal with potentially bad coffee!

UPDATE: A friend and long time vet in the tech industry kindly gave me permission to share her list – which gives you the more solid tech instead of mostly games perspective. I wish I could say I was surprised by her list, but I wasn’t. Hopefully this helps show that this permeates all fields and things need to change.

Here’s what she posted on her wall:

9 things that have actually happened to me in the workplace while working as a software developer. 1 thing is a lie.

Guess which one is a lie. *

1. Executive sees me walking by his office. Asks me to come in and then asks if I can take out his trash.
2. First day on the job, receive extremely long instant message containing a love poem about how we should get married.
3. Working at a start up, conference rooms aren’t big enough for all technical employees so some of us sit down on the floor. Database Administrator starts to play footsie with me in full view of everyone.
4. In technical design meeting with my entire team present, I state my opinion on a somewhat controversial matter and am told that I’m only there to flip my hair around and look pretty.
5. At daily meeting, technical lead regularly talks about strip clubs and how we should all go together.
6. Am physically blocked from leaving a room while being yelled at in a completely unprofessional manner. Repeated attempts at leaving the room are blocked.
7. See co-worker having a hard time personally, cover for them by doing their work, see them get rewarded and recognized for hard work. Co-worker makes no mention of me. I am never rewarded or recognized in that job.
8. Am asked repeatedly, by many, if I’m absolutely sure that I don’t want to be a project manager instead of a developer.
9. Complain to HR that technical culture is hostile. HR person tells me that maybe I’m not suited to work in technology and suggests that I become a bartender instead.
10. Am told that I should drink less water because my repeatedly walking by to use the restroom is “too distracting.”

*these are all true. None are a lie!

Note: If you want you can post your own list in the comments below, but make sure you’re comfortable with anything that can be tracked back to other folks in case that worries you!