are you the secretary?

Bharathi Jagadeesh bjag at
Sat Feb 24 14:41:06 EST 1996

Galloway Cynthia M (kfcmg00 at TAMUK.EDU) wrote:
: This has been an interesting thread and it is a bit of a relief to hear 
: that this happens to other people.  I come into work at 7:00 a.m. to use 
: the secretary's computer, since she has a 486 and I have an 8088.  Since 
: I am sitting at her desk I can see the confusion to people who don't know 
: me.  Who would expect students would be around at 7:00 wanting to make 
: appointments with the chair, drop classes and leave things in the faculty 
: mailboxes.
: Dr. Cyntha Galloway

I know of a female attorney who refuses to use a computer
precisely because she's afraid that if anyone sees her sitting
at a desk at a computer they'll assume that she's a secretary.

This happens to me, too. When another post-doc in the lab went to
our occupational medical service for his pre-job workup, they assumed
that he was a physician (he's a computer modeler) and asked him
for his advice on treatments. On the other hand, when I came here,
everyone assumed I was everything but a post-doc -- i.e. technician,
animal care personnel, summer student, etc. One person
even asked me if I was a summer student (they're 20 years old!) after
I'd been here for a year. And I don't particularly look young, it's
just an assumption everyone makes about an Indian woman.

I don't get really upset about this, but it is annoying. One of
the things that I find most annoying about it is that I really
don't want to be snobby -- I think that there are technicians,
animal care personnel, and summer students who all do excellent
jobs, and I don't want to put them down. But, on the other hand,
I do wanted to be given the same status as my white male colleagues.

I'm coming to the conclusion that one has to give up being modest
and make sure that people do know who you are (not only for yourself,
but for everyone else).


Bharathi Jagadeesh/bjag at

Lab of Neuropsychology
Building 49, Room 1b80
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

(312) 496-5625 x270

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