My Name is Carol

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“Carol” overcame harassment, discrimination and threats, but none of these things prepared her for being fired when she asked for maternity leave. She declined to provide a photo.

My Worst Moment: Was when either when fellow grad student tried to rape me at night in the lab and my graduate institution tried to expel me for fighting him off. But I’d called the city police who took a report, and used it to threaten name the dean as a material accessory after the fact to attempted rape. Or perhaps it was the time a senior faculty member had me fired from a staff IT support position I held between finishing my Masters and starting my PhD thesis — when I refused to date him. But I really think the worst moment was the day after I asked for maternity leave from the tenure-track faculty position I’d landed a major research institution and the Dept Chair (who’d tried to get me to stay at his apartment when I was applying for the job!) fired me on the spot, causing me to miscarry three weeks later, bleeding badly due to the stress. I almost died. My prospects of ever having a family certainly did.

I Have Given Up On: An academic career as a scientist and ever having a family of my own.

Screen Shot 2021-06-20 at 12.01.28 AMI’m Afraid Of: I am afraid of having no health insurance, nothing to retire on, and no children to support me in my old age. I guess I should have gotten a more serious education — more serious than a PhD in computational physics, anyway. Or perhaps I should have taken up something more practical and technical — more practical and technical than software engineering. Do you think?

What Has This Cost You? Over a million dollars — at least $50K/year for 25 years.

Something You Should Know About Me: I worked as a software engineer continuously for 20 years after the worst moment. I’m not even close to retirement age, but age discrimination is starting to hit, which compounds the gender discrimination which is rife in high tech. I haven’t been able to find work since 2014.

Is There A Bright Side: Having time to write.

My Fight Song: Mr Big Stuff

Secret Weapon: Writing.