Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A few words on feeling inferior in the workplace...

Today is not a good day. No, it isn't. I was talking with a co-worker of mine about apprenticeships. I'd love love LOVE to be the apprentice of a wonderful, reputable editor and / or motion graphics artist but there's one problem: most of them think they're superior to the rest of us. Now I'm not saying ALL of them are like that but they can get a little patronizing.
Yes, I know what After Effects is and no, I don't use it to its full potential and neither do you.
Yes, I have worked on Avid before (granted it was only DV Xpress but Avid is still Avid) and yes, I work on Final Cut Pro now but that doesn't make me any less of an editor.
I know that the job I'm in now doesn't really let me have my full range of creativity but I make it work. I graduated college in 2001 and A LOT has changed in the post-world. But I have two things working against me that have been a major issue since the dawn of man: 1) I'm a minority and 2) I'm a woman.
So, working in a predominately male field was going to be a challenge from the start. I knew that when I had to teach myself tape-to-tape editing in my freshman year of high school (since no one would help me). But in high school, many people took video classes for the semi-easy A (or to make Quentin Tarantino-style shorts). I took it because I genuinely liked it. In fact, I liked it so much that I went to college for it.
In college, I met great friends. I rounded out a group of friends by being the "token" girl and the "token" minority all in one! And we made hilarious (Wes Anderson-style) shorts. But I noticed there was one small problem: I didn't really get to do anything technical.
I've always wanted to be an editor. Especially after I found out about Avid. Shit, even Media 100! Editing is, like, my dream job. Taking the chaos that comes with filming and putting it into a nice, pretty, entertaining order. I didn't really get a chance to do that in college. And the few projects I was able to got very weird reception.
My projects are strange, yes, but I've always loved film/video as an art form. When I had my first After Effects class, I freaked out.
After Effects is amazing! You can do so much with it! I love it! And if you've never used it before but you know Photoshop, it's easy as pie - for the basics. After you've mastered the basics, the possibilities are endless!
My knowledge with After Effects is fairly basic. When I do complicated things, I take the "long way" - I keyframe for days and days because I like that part. I enjoy the convinience of the Animation Presets but I prefer the tediousness of keyframing. It gets a little frustrating now and then but so what?! It's YOUR creation. Your own, personal creation with your own little quirks and things. That's what I enjoy.
Every once in a while, I get asked about it and I end up teaching someone the basics. Just the bare bones minimal. No problem there. But many times after that, they all think I'm some sort of idiot and they've surpassed me in After Effects knowledge - which makes them superior to me in every way. It's not just After Effects (or FCP, for that matter) - it could be anything. I took a Deko class just for the company I was working for with 4 other employees. We all learned the same material at the same time and I was given the task of maintaining the Deko machine. For some reason, one person in that group thought he was superior to me (with seniority yeah, sure) but little did he know that I would have to go back and fix his errors from Thursday night on my Friday house-keeping day. Every fucking Friday.
And sure, I was outside of "post-world" for a loooooong time and it's taken some getting used to but, dammit, I'm still fucking awesome at FCP. And I may not use the animation presets in After Effects but, dammit, I still get the mother fucking job done.
So where is this leading? When my friend and I were talking about apprenticeships, I told her that a lot of the "masters" in my field (in every other field, too, I'm sure) is kind of a dick - especially if you're a woman. The attitude always seems like, "Hey you crazy lady, what are you doing out of the kitchen?" Oh fuck no! There is no excuse for that sad, sorry attitude anymore. And what's funny is is that the company I work for now is predominately women! But since I'm the only editor on staff, they've had to out-source. No problems there - except one place where I felt inferior to all the men that do the same things I do except this time, I was telling them what to do as the "producer" of sorts. No problem there, I enjoy bossing people around in my own way, but there was an undertone that reeked of lack of respect. Like I wasn't a good enough editor so they had to pass it off to "real" editors. Fuck that! My bosses didn't realize that the amount of work they have is too much for one person to do alone (7 1 hour+ DVDs to edit and author PLUS in-house online only content and inter-office training sessions, etc). So, the bulk of it was passed off to a post house and the inter-office stuff lands on me. And there's plenty to do. But I just can't shake the lack of respect I'm getting as of late.
When we film for our DVDs, I'm in charge. The in-house folks ask me questions and they ask me my professional opinion. That part makes me feel validated and confident. But when someone comes up behind me and re-words what I say to make it sound like it was their idea, I really fucking hate that shit. Don't argue with me over something that will end up helping you in the end. It really knocks me down and makes me start to wonder if I even picked the right field. But discrimination and bullying like that is everywhere - no matter where you look, even outside the work place.
What people don't realize is that it is a form of bullying. Yeah - high school bullying. It's all petty and shit and I shouldn't let it get to me but it does because at the core, it still fucking hurts. It hurts to be undermined, it hurts when you patronize me, it hurts when you take my fucking ideas as your own, it hurts when you fucking treat me like shit, it hurts when you make me feel inferior and it hurts when you don't respect me.
I love everything about post production but I hate the attitude of the people around me. And it's not as easy as "If you can't beat them, join them" because that's not right. Post production is teamwork. If you can't respect your team, then why do you do it? I have 1000% respect for my "old" team. We have eachothers' backs. We don't pick on one another if we need help somewhere. In fact, we're not too proud to ask for help - we help each other out. But now, I feel like it's being thrown off balance because this lack of respect thing has gone on far enough. I mean, I am fucking turning 30 this year and I'm still dealing with the same kind of discrimination that I was dealing with in elementary, middle and high school. I thought that shit was over and done with but I guess some people just can't grow up.

< / rant >

Sorry for the rant, I just had to put this out somewhere.
Thank you


PS - This was SLYASDI's 100th blog post! Wowzers meowzers!