Thursday, April 05, 2007

Is it sexism?

There's a subtle, invisible line you're not supposed to cross in interviews about your potential employee's personal life, at least in american interviews, that is definitely stepped over here.
At almost every interview I've been at so far in Japan, the same questions in the same order...they go down the resume and ask questions about all the information on it. So normally they start off with
"tell us about your programming experience.."
it then gets a little more personal, with questions like
"So, how good is your japanese? " which is fine, I now have at least some certification, even though I usually have to explain what it means.

Next is slightly more personal, but still work related.
"how long will your commute be? Is that going to be alright for you?" Well, you know, hour long train rides suck, but minute for mintute it's probably better than being stuck in traffic.

...and then there is a little check box on these resume forms here that says if you're married or not, which generally leads to the question:
"I see you're married. Is there a particular time you need to be home at?"

I never know how to answer that.
Yesterday I tried the tact of saying:
"Um, I don't have a curfew, if that's what you're asking..."
The interview guy exchanged glances with my company's contract coordinator, who was also in the interviewing room, and together they sort of hummed and hawed.

I felt myself starting to brew with a slightly unwarrented anger.
"WHAT? go on and SAY it! You mean, 'Don't you need to GO HOME and COOK YOUR HUSBAND DINNER?' because you're a WOMAN?!"
the little feminist in the back of my head was standing on her soapbox with a megaphone, causing the drunken crowd in my mind to yell"MrRRRYYYEAHYOU TELLEM!!"

As I tried my best not to burn smoking holes into the interviewer's shirt with my glaring eyes of vengeance, the contract coordinator stepped in with a quick "well her husband works at a bank on a shift schedule, he often has the late shift".
This caused the interviewer to look a bit relieved, so it looked like the day had been saved.

Still, did he really need to say that? Did he really just say "she's not a bad wife for being willing to work late, her husband has the late shift so it's ok if she doesn't make him dinner?"
I hate to sound mean, but he's a big boy who can use a frying pan all by himself now!

Maybe I'm overanalyzing this.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"She's a WOMAAAN!!"

Yes, it's sexism.

I wonder if/when that's going to change. Still, it's not like the US doesn't have a long way to go.


10:48 PM  
Blogger Catherine Weaver said...

Did you check his shirt to ensure it wasn't smoking a little?
Those burning eyes of vengeance you have can be dangerous.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just be glad they don't start asking you to serve the tea...

... do they?


8:17 PM  
Blogger Kyra said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Kyra said...

heh.. no, no tea serving for me! Thank god for that. And there is approximately the same (albiet small) ratio of female to male programmers here as the US, which is encouraging.
...I think it's mostly the 'married women belong in the home' subtle mentality everywhere that bothers me. Ggrrrh.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL that one made me laugh Kyra. Next time you just turn it around and say...oh it's not a problem, my husband doesn't mind warming my dinner up if I come home late. Love to be there for the awkward silence at that one ;) --Jen

5:38 PM  
Blogger CyberLaura said...

What a trick question. Are you supposed to say that you're loyal to your husband an not your company? No fair.

Speaking of dinner cooking... who does cook the dinner? I hope it's a famous chef. Yum.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Kyra said...

Ha! Good idea Jen, I'll totally try that at my next interview. ^_^
I just hate them making assumptions about my home life that are totally none of their business....
Because yeah, we totally have Iron Chef make dinner.Tonight's main course is filet mingon!^^ (in my dreams... )

3:28 AM  

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