Thanks to Johnny Cash, we know that boys named Sue grow up mean and keen, but according to a recent viral blog post, men named Kim better add a “Mr.” to their resume, if they want to get interviews in a technical field.
One day in the late ’90s, Kim O’Grady, an Australian technical business manager, took a leap and quit his job. The goal was to take a little time off, and then apply for jobs that would use his experience and qualifications, and offer room for growth and a decent paycheck. There were lots of job opportunities in his field, and he anticipated no problem finding a new gig within a reasonable amount of time.
Things did not work out that way.
“Then the rejection letters trickled in,” he wrote. “I could take rejection, it goes hand in hand with business, but after the first few months I was frankly confused. I hadn’t had a single interview. Instead of aiming high I lowered my sights and started applying for jobs where there was no career advancement. Now I had everything these employers could possibly want, it would be a shoe in. But still not one interview came my way, not even a phone inquiry.”
Four months later, he made a slight change to his resume. He added the title “Mr.” before his name, and scored a job interview the very next day.
Prior to his experiences, Grady said, he believed that women could break into his male-dominated industry, if they really wanted to. Afterward, he found it “embarrassing to think I once believed that.”
Or, as Katy Walden at Slate puts it: “Discrimination is abstract until it suddenly isn’t. (Hence the glass, rather than steel-reinforced, ceiling: The pane looks as insubstantial as air until you knock against it.)”
O’Grady’s experiences took place in the late ’90s, and it would be nice to think things had changed since then. There’s just one problem. As Walden mentions in her piece on Slate, a study at Yale produced similar results … in 2012.
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