One could even make the case that I should have been reporting to Jessica. But it was never mentioned to me in hiring, and it never occurred to me to propose it. If we generously assume that HR reneged on that arrangement with Jessica because they just decided to go along with my blasé seizing of the boss privilege, then the whole thing is squarely my fault.
The Easy Failure of Professional Male Feminism
Chris Mohney
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Not to detract from your or Jessica’s point at all, but, as a contemporary at Tumblr, I think it’s also important to keep in mind that Tumblr’s shall we say peculiarities also very much tended to precipitate these sorts of confusing situations. I too came on board thinking that I was going to be in charge of a department (mobile engineering) only to discover that a someone else was hired at the same time in essentially the same sort of role but with a different title at basically the same level as me. We got along OK, but ended up spending a lot of time trying to figure out who was actually making decisions and that dynamic made progress difficult. The reality in a place like Tumblr is that there’s only one person with any real power — the person at the top. Everybody else may be nominally “director” of this or “manager” of that but the reality is that no one has any real power except for the CEO, which creates a lot of fraught political dynamics as everyone frantically jockeys for the fickle approval of the one true source of authority. That kind of situation creates pretty toxic power dynamics all around, which of course gender is only going to throw into sharper relief.

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