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Dear Male Colleagues,

To the men that hired me in my first job out of college, thank you. I don’t think you’ve had a female developer on your team since you let me go, but I’m forever grateful for the opportunity you gave me because it’s made me into the engineer I am today.

To the guy that shared a boobie photo in our hip chat room, and then swiftly removed it after I wrote “lol”. I got boobies too. You posting that photo didn’t offend me, but I appreciate the effort you made to not make me feel uncomfortable. You didn’t really know me well at the time, so there’s no way of knowing if I was going to run to HR or not. These days, I’m more upset when people try to be politically correct. If I’m offended, I will tell you without blowing up in your face, running to HR, or crying. I’ve learned it’s better to deal with problems as they come, instead of letting them fester and grow into an even bigger problem.

To every male supervisor I’ve ever had, you intimidate me. Granted, 100% of my supervisors have been male since college. With a justified reason, you can fire me and take away my projects, my income and deplete my self-worth in the process. I honestly have no idea if that’s just a fear of my boss or a fear of my male boss. It’s an irrational fear that I try to fight through every time I interact with you. It’s a work in progress and I’m trying not to let it affect my performance in the workplace. I’d like you to know that you are not responsible, and never have been responsible, for making me feel that way.

To every guy in every engineering job I’ve ever worked with, thank you for treating me like anyone else in your circle. This might mean treating me like “one of the guys”, but that’s not really what I mean. Every job circle has their own way of doing things, regardless of the quantity of gender in each group. I didn’t decide to work as a web developer for you to change how “men” do things, or even to be the one woman in a male-dominated workplace. I like my job. I like working with people who are smart, talented, (a lot) nerdy and push me to be a better developer.

Thank you for accepting me, for fostering my learning, for treating me as an equal, for never putting me down as a woman, and for just being an awesome mutha fuckin’ human being.