The first two months at Uber was an exhilarating experience. I sat amongst the cream of the crop of Silicon Valley in fancy rooms where new innovations were being thought of at rocket speed. We had engineers who are stolen from Google, NASA, Apple and even a guy who used to work at a high position for the Federal Government. My team was made up of 21 people. There were just two women in the team, and I was one of them. The other female member soon switched teams leaving me as the sole female team member. The next few months at Uber were grueling, unforgiving, exciting and exhausting at the same time. Deadlines were set without any justification and we were expected to meet them at any cost. It was normal for me to get to work at 7 in the morning and leave late at night with only a thirty minute break in between. Our work revolved around database and networking scalability. Some days, I loved working 12 hours straight. But, there were days when everyone in the team were on the brink of giving up. The supervisors were often arrogant, impatient, and aggressive with their expectations. It was normal for our supervisors to openly appreciate the performance of one member over the other and publicly demean members who did not perform as per their expectations. Chauvinistic, racist and homophobic attitudes were far too normal at Uber. Once in a group chat, team members referred to a new Asian American recruit as slanty eye joe. It was normal for guys to refer to other guys as fags when they didn’t participate in private parties where sex and drugs were involved. It was normal for guys to openly refer to attractive female colleagues as sluts when they refused to go out with them. They had private chats where guys wrote sexual fantasy stories about female colleagues and supervisors where they performed all sorts of demeaning acts on the women. I confronted the guys on my team whenever they passed lewd comments about female supervisors but never felt comfortable confronting guys who were not in my team.
I am a midwestern girl in her late 20s working in a silicon valley start-up trying her best to survive in the tech industry as a woman who hates wearing make-up. My paycheck is 18% less than my less qualified male colleagues. I was raised by a working class single mom who taught me to work hard, be kind to others and contribute to the society in any way I can. I went to public schools my whole life and worked two jobs to put myself through a top private college. I have a degree in Computer Science and a Master’s in Information Systems. I am 5 foot 7, Caucasian, and I never dye my dark hair. I like New Balance sneakers, love Golden Retrievers and hate wearing heels.