I Am An Idealist

A very, very dear friend was reading through my blogs and was horrified by
the content  – profanity, typos, etc. – but was particularly
horrified about the one about Uber where I talk opening about the sexual
harassment, sexism, and hostile workplaces I’ve sadly suffer through.
This friend was so alarmed and dismayed by my public writings, he/she felt
compelled to tell me why he/she was so concerned and suggest that I should
stop.

The concerns were seemingly reasonable and came from a genuine place of
love, respect, and concern. This friend was concerned that my blogs would
likely repel any future employer. He/she was concerned about the damage
to my professional brand. My friend was concerned that besides the
profanity (I did write the word “cock”, but I used it correctly to
identify a penis, not call someone a name), there was far too much
activism in my blogs. I was accused of being on a soapbox and it was
suggested I should quit my day job and become a full-time activist.

After getting over the initial anger of being called foolish, I took
his/her comments to heart and really thought about a few things.

I am an idealist. I am an activist. I am an automotive technologist and
enthusiast.

These are just a few sides of my many personalities and I bring them all
to work, to home, to play, to love, to fun, and well, they are just parts
of me. I gave up a long time ago trying to please everyone or hide who I
am.

I believe that when I show up at work, by brining my full self, I am not
only more authentic, but more productive. I bring all my intellectual
curiosity to bear on my job, all my humor – sick, silly, profane, witty –
I try and laugh way more than be uptight and serious. I bring my full
emotional state with me and my honesty. I am honestly exactly who I am
and I do not put on airs nor pretenses. I am direct, candid, and have
often times been told I am fierce, but know all too well the price to pay
for those particular traits. I get angry and do my best to own my anger
and contain it so as not to negatively impact others. I usually do this
by getting very calm, very quiet, and when all else fails, excuse myself
from the presence of others. I am quirky and openly own my quirks. Like,
don’t ever touch my computer screen. I might break your hand. And heaven
forgive you if you do not know how to correctly use a serial comma! I can
be insensitive and when pointed out, am quick to apologize and genuinely
try to not offend or upset people. I am not a sadist. Unless I don’t
like you. I try every day to make new mistakes and not repeat the same
ones over and over again. I am shamelessly well-read and try and read
more and more of the classics, old and new. I like poetry. I like to
drink scotch.

I do curb aspects of my personality, for sure. I try every day to be a
better person and overcome that lizard-brain, baser instincts that are in
all of us. For example, recently a very old Camaro parked in my driveway.
I live near a sports bar and during the excitement around the Warriors
games, some people in their rush, park in my driveway. I happen to be
walking out of my house to take the dogs out when the owner of the Camaro
appeared and instead of apologizing for blocking my driveway, told me I
deserved it since I lived near the Dutch Goose. My first instinct was to
pick up a rock and throw it at his car. I didn’t. I actually curbed my
real desire and just said, “No need to be a douche bag. Your car is nice,
which is why I didn’t have it towed.”

I curb my personality all the time to accommodate people. If I know
someone is very religious, I will do my best to not take their Lord’s name
in vain. I do stop swearing if I know it makes someone really
uncomfortable.

There is a delicate balance between being your honest full self and
editing your behaviors. I understand this friend really felt that I
should curb more of my blog behaviors to be more accommodating to future
employers who were more “buttoned up” and conservative.

I’m not sure I want to work at places that are stiff, uptight, and
conservative. I need to consider where I thrive and where I do not
thrive. It is non-trivial. It requires honesty and some very deep
thinking. It requires thoughtfulness. Thoughtfulness is one of my
favorite actions and ask of others.

I am really fucking good at what I do professionally.

I understand telematics, but I am not so full of myself that I think it impossible to
make mistakes. Or to know everything. I have a profound willingness to
wade into insane complexity, to drive clarity around all those shades of
gray, and I am never afraid to ask. I am always willing and eager to
learn. I am a natural team-player and actively seek different opinions on
the same topic in an attempt to be holistic in my understandings. I
share. I share my intellect, I share my contacts, I share my knowledge, I
share my lunch. I do not stand on hierarchy and work across all levels of
the organization. A “no” to me (at work) usually means I have either not
done enough research to understand or I have not adequately explained my
thinking. I am an excellent delegator, but still willing to get my hands
dirty with the details. I am not afraid to make decisions.

If a future employer reads my blogs and says “no thank you” because I
swear too much or am too much of an activist, then I just dodged a bullet.
I do use curse words at work, but hardly ever in genuine anger and never
at anyone. Usually, it’s either for shock value, to provoke a laugh, or
as an exclamation mark.

I am an activist. I will try and make the world a better place. I will
correct you if you call me a girl because words matter. I will not
tolerate racial or homophobic remarks in my presence. I will get upset if
people use body parts as an insult. I will challenge prevailing
viewpoints. I am already and have always been a full time activist and do
not need to quit my day job. I am changing the world in a positive
manner.

Being an activist doesn’t just mean helping enlighten people about speech,
it also means insisting on diverse candidates for your open positions, not
asking about salary histories because it doesn’t matter; it only matters
how much you are willing to pay any candidate for the job. It means
pointing out the lack of men/women/LGBTQIA/black/Latina/etc. in your work
place.

It also means making sure your organization is aligned for success, that
the right metrics are in place and work. It means paying for the right
behavior your expect, having the tough conversations, and being open
minded, empathetic, and loving.

Yes, loving. Loving yourself, loving your colleagues, loving humanity.

At the end of the day, I must be true to myself. Jobs will come, jobs
will go. Promotions will come, demotions may come. Relationships start
and some end. I must be able to look at myself in the mirror and be okay
with not just what I see, but what I feel, what I represent, what I have
done. I want to change the world to be more loving, more accepting, and
more full of grace.

To me, that means shining a light on the shitty stuff, calling it out for
what it is, and doing something about it. So, future employers beware!

I am an idealist.

I know that my friendship with deepen with the trust and the respect we
share. But I will not stop writing my dirty, imperfect blogs, dumping out
my thoughts on automotive, telematics, mobility, autonomous, and the
workplace ecosystem. I am not going to overly edit nor censure my thoughts.

It feels good to write.