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Matt Wilcox

Musing

Aug 20th 2014

Guys in Tech

Work is a place for professionalism. Here's a reminder of what that entails.

No, you can not debate who's the hottest female in 'the scene'. Much as it is not appropriate to bring a bottle of whiskey into work, nor your pets, nor smoke in the office – it is not appropriate to bring your sex drive into the workplace. Kindly leave it at the door on your way in.

I can't help but think half of the problem with the tech industry's above-average prevalence of casual sexism (and the harm it is doing to women and our industry) is due to a general lack of professionalism in many work environments. So many people are 'in tech' having come straight from their dorm-rooms, and they work inside organisations that emphasise 'a comfortable environment' for their staff (heyyy, come to the ball-pit, bring your nerf gun and we'll hash out what we're doing on that big project).

The value of professionalism has been forgotten, or in some cases was never recognised to begin with because the many people in our industry never experienced a professional environment in the first place. That's not a fault of these people, but it's true non-the-less, and it could do with changing.

To be clear; work is a place to get work done. It's not a place to pick up ladies. No, not even though there are some really pretty ladies at your place of work who are smart and fun and you spend more time with them than most any other people in your life. Work is not a party or casual get-together, and the stuff that goes at a party or a casual get-together is not the stuff which can go on at the workplace; the people at work are entitled to expect a general focus on the job and be free from distractions, including that of your sex drive.

Now I've been saying 'work' a lot. The same goes anywhere you are that's career or job focused and that includes conferences. These are professional events, and they have all the same properties as the workplace, the only difference is the 'amount of staff' goes up a lot. And here's the thing; the 'after party' many conferences have, with all the booze and networking… yeah, still not really a good place to bring your sex drive. Personally, I think event-organised 'officially blessed' after-parties help fuel the problem because they foster the party attitude – but that's my personal opinion.

Let's also remind ourselves that 'being professional' doesn't just mean 'to the women in front of you', it also means not having a boys club comparing notes on who you'd like to bang most. I can't believe that needs stating, but apparently some people don't get that. What you do with your sex drive outside work and the work environment is up to you. But can we please all remember to be a little more professional? Can we leave the sex drive at the door on the way into the office?

Thanks.