Thursday, February 10, 2011

Getting in the Game, Being in the Room

Capitol Weekly featured a piece today by Robin Swanson and Shawnda Westly addressing the continuing fallout from California's seemingly willful ignorance of its female power players and announcing the launch of a new website, by women, for women, and for California.

The site, presents its mission thusly:
to give women working in politics a place to post their resumes so that employers can find high-quality women to work in campaigns, elections and political positions throughout California, and perhaps across the country. We want to make sure that we have a deep bench of women working in this business, so we continue to take leadership positions throughout the state - and take our seat at the table.

This site is only as useful as the content that drives it – so it’s our hope that women will take the plunge and start posting. In fact, we’re going to take the first resume poster to coffee, because we like women who aren’t afraid to step forward.
My gut instinct is to post my resume immediately. Not because I'm necessarily looking for a new job, but because I want it to be clear how much talent California has to offer. Come court me, right?

Except, yeah, I'm the sole breadwinner and keeper of medical insurance for my little family. Would my current employer see my bold statement in support of California political women as a bold statement in support of California political women? Or would my employer see it as a rude gesture to an entity that's been and is very good to me and show this ingrate the door?

Hmm ..... Before I had a kid, I might have chanced it. Now, can't do that.

Of course, I'm hardly alone in having those fears, right? Most people engaging in a job search do so somewhat, well, politically. If you're in a job, you don't risk it until there's a sure landing pad, right? We've all been part of those hushed conversations, the personal e-mail account exchanges, the "keep this on the DL, but . . . " Vallejo's run-ins.

And what of the founders comment that they like women who aren't afraid to step forward? Calculated to raise my blood pressure for sure. I've never hesitated to raise my hand, to step forward, to volunteer, to toot my horn, etc. Were it just me, like I said, I'd be doing that now. My friend correctly identified this line of reasoning as an excuse. It is an excuse. She's totally right.

Is there a way a website like this could allow us to step forward prudently? I have no problem stepping forward to illustrate the kind of experienced, educated, bad-ass talent available to employers. I just have a problem gambling my current employment to do so. What if the information were presented without a name? Sure, it's a damn small town and it wouldn't take much work to scare up the identity of a set of job experiences. But at least in the first pass, job-seekers would remain google-nonymous. Then would-be employers fork over $10 (payable to Emerge) to view the name and contact information of the resumes in which they are interested. Everyone wins! Especially when you factor in all the other biases such a structure could combat.

I know there are plenty of fantastic women who will leap on this service immediately and I'm already proud of them for doing so - and a bit ashamed of me for not doing so.

Hopefully, by the time my daughter is looking for work, this site will only need to exist for men.

Updated: This is from the site as well. Cool.

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