With this pandemic, it’s morning zoom and night.
By that I mean I’m lucky enough to be on non-stop conference calls with Zoom — the best of the fucked-up softwares that make every virtual meeting feel like it’s taking place in a busy bus terminal.
You know with the shitty lighting, the echoes of 30 people talking almost all at once, and the sounds of stray dogs barking outside. How come at every third meeting, it sounds like someone is being beaten to death down the hall?
I say lucky, because I can still work — or whatever I do they call work. Which is mostly organize meetings, filter through a thousand ideas at once and try to figure out how to complete just one thing that might do us all some good.
Beats the shit out of unemployment. I’ve been there. So I really feel for all the people losing jobs to the coronavirus.
Once I hang up the phone and close the laptop and after I stare at the wall and breathe for 10 minutes just to get the echo and other people’s stupid shit out of my head… I do feel lucky.
Another fucked-up theory
It’s the talk-over theory.
Google it and every article is about men talking over women. It’s mansplaining, and manterrupting. It’s Uber boardrooms and Senators interrupting and stopping their few female members.
One study counted interruptions in 1-on-1 conversations with a man and a woman. It concluded men interrupt 3 times more often. I know some men like that — but for fuck’s sake they only listened in on 12 conversations, so don’t believe everything you read.
Despite the caveat, the manterrupting is all very believable to me.
I’ve had a lot of jobs in a lot of different environments.
- I was a journalist at a small paper — the entire editorial staff (4) was male.
- I taught 9th grade English for 7 years. I was always the only man in the department meetings.
- I worked in software (all white men).
- I worked in corporate training, mostly female.
- My current job is 2-to-1 female leadership with female CEO.
So I’ve seen manterrupting. I’m sure I have done it. But don’t get all cocky ladies. It’s a two-way street.
It’s Not Gender
I don’t think it’s just a gender thing. It’s a numbers game.
Whichever gender has the most numbers, (especially as leaders) does the most interrupting and/or “gender-splaining”. I don’t have any studies or evidence, so it’s just another of my bullshit, fucked-up theories. But I believe it, because I’ve lived it.
When I taught or worked in training, I gave up trying to talk in meetings. The reasons came back to me with the pandemic this March.
Everyday, it was the Zoom talk over. It got so bad, one of the females had to stop the other women from talking and “call on me” like I was in the 4th grade so I could actually respond to a question they asked me 3 minutes before. I know it was 3 minutes. I was timing it as I tried to speak and was talked over, and over, and over again.
It’s not just me. There are 3 other guys on the phone and after we “talked.”
“I can never get a word in edgewise,” one said.
“I try three times, and then I give up,” said the other.
The third dude doesn’t talk unless they call his name, and sometimes even after they call on him, he doesn’t respond. He wasn’t really listening. Works for him.
This sounds whinny, but everything I write sounds whiny and angry — it’s just the tone of this bullshit. But it’s not how I really feel on this topic.
Culture and interactions are always controlled by the majority. In this job that’s not me. I can adjust.
I just get a little pissed at the hypocrisy. Women don’t seem to know (or want to know) they do womansplaining and womanterrupting too.
They get a little more than pissed when you bring it up. And yeah they are on the receiving end a lot more often, and have been for a lot more time. And yeah, they have a lot to say. And yeah, this group I work with are all wicked smart, and who the fuck can keep up with a bunch of smart women all talking at once.
But when they pat themselves on the back for being more “inclusive” or “better listeners” or “talking to build collaboration.” I say bullshit.
When women get to be in the majority in leadership, they act a lot like men when they were the majority in leadership.
Hey, maybe this god damn virus is going to Zoom us straight into gender neutrality or gender equality (or whatever the fuck is the right PC term for “treat everybody the same”) after all?