Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
@devdame
HOW TO BE EVERYTHING:
A Look At
The Way We Give
Advice
@devdame
HI! I’M
LAUREN SCOTT
Software Engineer at
Braintree
RailsBridge Chicago
Co-Leader
Dev Bootcamp Grad
@devdame devd...
@devdame
Being a programmer
is hard.
@devdame
BUT PEOPLE ARE AWESOME
supportive!
caring!
kind!
@devdame
Own your ignorance!
❧
@devdame
Own your expertise!
❧
@devdame
SO, JUST BE EVERYTHING
‣ Be a novice and an expert!
‣ Be humble and confident!
‣ Be empty and full!
WAIT WHAT HOW...
@devdame
This started as a talk
about what to DO
with this advice.
@devdame
CLASH OF THE SYNDROMES
Impostor Syndrome Entitlement Syndrome
Belief that your
successes are
flukes
Belief that y...
@devdame
WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS
Number 1:
We give specific advice generally
@devdame
Number 2:
Privilege factors into the way
we view ourselves
WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS
@devdame
Number 3:
Advice for the privileged is “default”
WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS
@devdame
Number 4:
Disadvantaged groups are more
frequently burdened with
conflicting advice
WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS
@devdame
Number 5:
We tell the oppressed to change
because of problems fueled
by the oppressor
WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS
@devdame
Number 6:
It’s hard to separate personal
shortcomings from biased
and bigoted assumptions
WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS
@devdame
Number 7:
When we treat the wrong
problem, we miss out
on opportunities
WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS
@devdame
when people assume
we don’t know anything
we are harmed by admitting
we don’t know everything
@devdame
when our confidence
is called bitchiness
and is treated like a problem
it is painful to wield it
@devdame
when we aren’t allowed to ask
without being treated like we know
nothing
we miss out on learning
@devdame
NO NOPING—LET’S GO CLOSER.
time to do some research!
@devdame
DISCLAIMER!!!!
This is not
a scientific study
❧
@devdame
‣ How often have you been told to “own
your ignorance” or something similar?
‣ How often have you been told to “o...
@devdame
WHO TOOK THE SURVEY?
‣ 217 responses
‣ 135 women
‣ 70 men
‣ 5 non-binary people
‣ 22 people of color
‣ 32 LGBTQA ...
@devdame
Until I have more data,
I’m mostly focusing on gender
@devdame
HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU BEEN TOLD TO
“OWN YOUR IGNORANCE”?
0
10.5
21
31.5
42
Women & Non-Binary People
Never Once or t...
@devdame
PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS WHO REPORTED
“FAIRLY OFTEN” OR “ALL THE TIME”
Women: 46%
Men: 46%
Non-binary: 60%
Peopl...
@devdame
HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU BEEN TOLD TO
“OWN YOUR EXPERTISE”?
0
15
30
45
60
Women & Non-Binary People
Never Once or twice...
@devdame
37% of men who responded
had never been told to own
their expertise…
…compared to 10% of women.
@devdame
PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS WHO REPORTED
“FAIRLY OFTEN” OR “ALL THE TIME”
Women: 53%
Men: 28%
Non-binary: 60%
Peopl...
@devdame
DID WOMEN & MINORITIES HEAR THIS IN
A DIVERSITY-FOCUSED ENVIRONMENT?
Ignorance: 25%
Expertise: 63%
This includes ...
@devdame DO YOU FIND THESE PIECES
OF ADVICE HELPFUL?
I analyzed each open-ended response:
positive
language
negative
langu...
@devdame
DO YOU FIND THESE PIECES
OF ADVICE HELPFUL?
36%
35%
29%
😀 😠
😕
@devdame
DO YOU FIND THESE PIECES
OF ADVICE HELPFUL?
56%
44%
Women & Non-Binary Men
17%
83%
16%
84%
😀 😕 😠
@devdame
Do you find these pieces
of advice helpful?
@devdame
“I would like for some of the men
I work with to hear that own your
ignorance bit.”
@devdame
“Sometimes I feel like they don't
understand what it is like to show
weakness when you are proving
yourself every...
@devdame
“I usually receive backlash for demonstrating
competence, even more so for actual expertise. I
usually do it anyw...
@devdame
“I have trouble enough as it is to "own my
expertise" when I am not listened to on topics that
I know well, and "...
@devdame
“It feels like a Catch 22.”
@devdame
“It seems like women are put in the
impossible situation of having to
simultaneously project confidence
and humil...
@devdame
“Each side seems oblivious to the
double bind many women are in.”
@devdame
“I’m doing everything
all wrong!”
@devdame
“I feel like both pieces of advice annoyingly put the
burden on the recipient, like your career is not going
well...
@devdame
“There is an analogy here
to rape culture. The burden
shouldn't be on the victim.”
@devdame
THE GIST OF IT
‣ There likely is a correlation between
demographics and advice fatigue
‣ Regardless: people are p...
@devdame
“It is easy to be confident in yourself and/or
expose your ignorance when you feel safe,
supported and encouraged...
@devdame
Why aren’t we better
at this?
@devdame
VICARIOUS GOAL SATIATION
‣ Watching others achieve goals makes us
feel like WE achieved them
‣ So, we can relax! ...
@devdame
I LIED. I AM GIVING MORE ADVICE.
@devdame
TWO COURSES OF ACTION
‣ As writers say: show, don’t tell
‣ Seniority = influence
‣ Normalize honesty and openness...
@devdame
“I need to see senior people
admitting their ignorance and
nothing bad happening to them.”
@devdame
When established devs show
what they don’t know, they give
permission for everyone else
to be more honest
@devdame
TWO COURSES OF ACTION
‣ Don’t scoff if someone doesn’t know
something
‣ Stop the language/framework/etc wars
‣ Be...
@devdame
Remember: advice is good!
but
wield it thoughtfully
@devdame
Thank you!
❧
How To Be Everything: A Look At The Way We Give Advice
How To Be Everything: A Look At The Way We Give Advice
How To Be Everything: A Look At The Way We Give Advice
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

How To Be Everything: A Look At The Way We Give Advice

866 views

Published on

From our first lines of code onward, we are bombarded with well-meaning advice on How To Tech Right. Often, this includes “owning your ignorance” and “squashing your ego” in order to embrace a learning mindset. But we also frequently tell people, particularly women and minorities in tech, to “own their expertise” and not be afraid to confidently stake their claim as a programmer. The fight between impostor & entitlement syndromes has left us with a confusing assortment of advice we dole out to beginners and vets alike: be humble but be confident, be a novice but an expert.

So what can we do with this incongruity? Is there a way to find balance? Or do we need to rethink our guidance model altogether? In this talk, I’ll examine the impact our advice has on disadvantaged groups in tech and explore ways in which we can move the onus of change from the impacted individuals onto the community very large.

Published in: Engineering
  • Be the first to comment

How To Be Everything: A Look At The Way We Give Advice

  1. 1. @devdame HOW TO BE EVERYTHING: A Look At The Way We Give Advice
  2. 2. @devdame HI! I’M LAUREN SCOTT Software Engineer at Braintree RailsBridge Chicago Co-Leader Dev Bootcamp Grad @devdame devdame.com
  3. 3. @devdame Being a programmer is hard.
  4. 4. @devdame BUT PEOPLE ARE AWESOME supportive! caring! kind!
  5. 5. @devdame Own your ignorance! ❧
  6. 6. @devdame Own your expertise! ❧
  7. 7. @devdame SO, JUST BE EVERYTHING ‣ Be a novice and an expert! ‣ Be humble and confident! ‣ Be empty and full! WAIT WHAT HOW OH GOSH
  8. 8. @devdame This started as a talk about what to DO with this advice.
  9. 9. @devdame CLASH OF THE SYNDROMES Impostor Syndrome Entitlement Syndrome Belief that your successes are flukes Belief that your failures are flukes
  10. 10. @devdame WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS Number 1: We give specific advice generally
  11. 11. @devdame Number 2: Privilege factors into the way we view ourselves WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS
  12. 12. @devdame Number 3: Advice for the privileged is “default” WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS
  13. 13. @devdame Number 4: Disadvantaged groups are more frequently burdened with conflicting advice WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS
  14. 14. @devdame Number 5: We tell the oppressed to change because of problems fueled by the oppressor WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS
  15. 15. @devdame Number 6: It’s hard to separate personal shortcomings from biased and bigoted assumptions WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS
  16. 16. @devdame Number 7: When we treat the wrong problem, we miss out on opportunities WE’VE GOT PROBLEMS
  17. 17. @devdame when people assume we don’t know anything we are harmed by admitting we don’t know everything
  18. 18. @devdame when our confidence is called bitchiness and is treated like a problem it is painful to wield it
  19. 19. @devdame when we aren’t allowed to ask without being treated like we know nothing we miss out on learning
  20. 20. @devdame NO NOPING—LET’S GO CLOSER. time to do some research!
  21. 21. @devdame DISCLAIMER!!!! This is not a scientific study ❧
  22. 22. @devdame ‣ How often have you been told to “own your ignorance” or something similar? ‣ How often have you been told to “own your expertise” or something similar? ‣ Where have you heard this? ‣ Do you think these pieces of advice are helpful?
  23. 23. @devdame WHO TOOK THE SURVEY? ‣ 217 responses ‣ 135 women ‣ 70 men ‣ 5 non-binary people ‣ 22 people of color ‣ 32 LGBTQA people
  24. 24. @devdame Until I have more data, I’m mostly focusing on gender
  25. 25. @devdame HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU BEEN TOLD TO “OWN YOUR IGNORANCE”? 0 10.5 21 31.5 42 Women & Non-Binary People Never Once or twice Fairly often ALL THE TIME 0 6 12 18 24 Men
  26. 26. @devdame PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS WHO REPORTED “FAIRLY OFTEN” OR “ALL THE TIME” Women: 46% Men: 46% Non-binary: 60% People of Color: 50% LGBTQA: 56%
  27. 27. @devdame HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU BEEN TOLD TO “OWN YOUR EXPERTISE”? 0 15 30 45 60 Women & Non-Binary People Never Once or twice Fairly often ALL THE TIME 0 6.5 13 19.5 26 Men
  28. 28. @devdame 37% of men who responded had never been told to own their expertise… …compared to 10% of women.
  29. 29. @devdame PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS WHO REPORTED “FAIRLY OFTEN” OR “ALL THE TIME” Women: 53% Men: 28% Non-binary: 60% People of Color: 55% LGBTQA: 61%
  30. 30. @devdame DID WOMEN & MINORITIES HEAR THIS IN A DIVERSITY-FOCUSED ENVIRONMENT? Ignorance: 25% Expertise: 63% This includes spaces/events focused on women, people of color, and/or LGBTQA people.
  31. 31. @devdame DO YOU FIND THESE PIECES OF ADVICE HELPFUL? I analyzed each open-ended response: positive language negative language
  32. 32. @devdame DO YOU FIND THESE PIECES OF ADVICE HELPFUL? 36% 35% 29% 😀 😠 😕
  33. 33. @devdame DO YOU FIND THESE PIECES OF ADVICE HELPFUL? 56% 44% Women & Non-Binary Men 17% 83% 16% 84% 😀 😕 😠
  34. 34. @devdame Do you find these pieces of advice helpful?
  35. 35. @devdame “I would like for some of the men I work with to hear that own your ignorance bit.”
  36. 36. @devdame “Sometimes I feel like they don't understand what it is like to show weakness when you are proving yourself every day.”
  37. 37. @devdame “I usually receive backlash for demonstrating competence, even more so for actual expertise. I usually do it anyway. Best case scenario is that my suggestions are adopted but I don't get credit for them.”
  38. 38. @devdame “I have trouble enough as it is to "own my expertise" when I am not listened to on topics that I know well, and "owning my ignorance" would be detrimental and cause many on my team to take me even less seriously than they already do.”
  39. 39. @devdame “It feels like a Catch 22.”
  40. 40. @devdame “It seems like women are put in the impossible situation of having to simultaneously project confidence and humility.”
  41. 41. @devdame “Each side seems oblivious to the double bind many women are in.”
  42. 42. @devdame “I’m doing everything all wrong!”
  43. 43. @devdame “I feel like both pieces of advice annoyingly put the burden on the recipient, like your career is not going well because you are doing something wrong. When often, I think it is more likely that the person is not in a supportive environment.”
  44. 44. @devdame “There is an analogy here to rape culture. The burden shouldn't be on the victim.”
  45. 45. @devdame THE GIST OF IT ‣ There likely is a correlation between demographics and advice fatigue ‣ Regardless: people are pained and confused by this advice ‣ We are putting the burden on them
  46. 46. @devdame “It is easy to be confident in yourself and/or expose your ignorance when you feel safe, supported and encouraged. If it's hard to do that... maybe there's a reason you need to protect yourself.”
  47. 47. @devdame Why aren’t we better at this?
  48. 48. @devdame VICARIOUS GOAL SATIATION ‣ Watching others achieve goals makes us feel like WE achieved them ‣ So, we can relax! It’s done! ‣ We expect others will follow our advice ‣ So when we give advice, we follow it less “Practice What You Preach? Advice-Giving and Vicarious Goal Progress“ classic.marshall.usc.edu/assets/146/24403.pdf “Vicarious Goal Satiation” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3630077/
  49. 49. @devdame I LIED. I AM GIVING MORE ADVICE.
  50. 50. @devdame TWO COURSES OF ACTION ‣ As writers say: show, don’t tell ‣ Seniority = influence ‣ Normalize honesty and openness 1. Show by example
  51. 51. @devdame “I need to see senior people admitting their ignorance and nothing bad happening to them.”
  52. 52. @devdame When established devs show what they don’t know, they give permission for everyone else to be more honest
  53. 53. @devdame TWO COURSES OF ACTION ‣ Don’t scoff if someone doesn’t know something ‣ Stop the language/framework/etc wars ‣ Be patient and trusting 2. Help change the culture
  54. 54. @devdame Remember: advice is good! but wield it thoughtfully
  55. 55. @devdame Thank you! ❧

×