Article “How I deal with sexual harassment in tech” by Gillian Morris

A few years ago, I gave a pitch at a startup event and a young man came up to me afterwards.

He was looking to transition from his work in consulting to something in ‘tech’. I’d been a consultant before learning to code and starting Hitlist. He asked if he could buy me a coffee and learn about how I’d made the transition from consultant to founder.

I proposed we grab a beer instead. I don’t drink coffee, and I don’t like taking non-business related meetings during the day. In my previous jobs it had been common to mix business and beer, so I didn’t think much of it.

We ended up having a few beers. We talked about the practical concerns of how to downsize from a consultant paycheck to startup salary, but then the conversation began to branch out.

We talked about our personal goals, our appetite for adventure, our past relationships and how we managed work/life balance.

I realized I was incredibly attracted to him. I felt like I was getting similar vibes from him, though it might have been the beer. And then he asked me if I’d ever consider bringing him onto the Hitlist team.

It wasn’t a total shock. He’d said he was interested in working in startups, I was hiring, and I’d gone into the evening thinking I’d assess him as a potential candidate. I didn’t realize that I was going to end up with a crush on him.

I suggested we meet on a Saturday afternoon to dive into our business model and figure out if there might be a role for him at Hitlist.

That Saturday, we tore apart the pitch deck I’d been using to raise money and came up with something that was, conservatively, ten times better. We got fired up about where Hitlist could go. We laughed, and I wondered whether he was flirting with me, and whether that was clouding my judgment.

I sent one of my advisors the revised pitch deck and he agreed that the young man would make a great addition to the team. I was conflicted because I knew one thing without a doubt: if I offered him a job there was no way I could explore the personal side of our relationship.

And I’m human. We got along well. He had a great butt. Could I have this guy work for me without the attraction side of things driving me nuts?

How is that even a question?

Of course I could. I’m an adult, not an animal. It would have been completely inappropriate for me to hit on someone who had come to me for professional advice and a job.

I knew that it might be distracting to employ someone who I found so appealing but the ethics of making a move on him were so black and white that there wasn’t a choice. And I wasn’t going to let a good candidate walk out the door because he happened to be attractive.

This is what gets me about all these ‘code of conduct’ pieces that have been coming out in recent days: I don’t understand why this is so hard for people to grasp.

If someone comes to you for advice, applies for a job, and/or pitches you for funding, don’t hit on that person.

Am I saying that workplace romances can never happen? No, but if you’re the person in a position of authority, you don’t initiate them, full stop.

If your subordinate makes a move on you, you two can discuss the ramifications like adults and decide whether you want to have a romantic relationship (or be friends with benefits, whatever).

That discussion should happen when you both have clear judgment, i.e. not at 3am at a conference when either or both of you have had alcohol. And that expression of interest from your subordinate should be crystal clear: an invitation to grab a beer is not a date unless he or she explicitly says it is.

In the words Anjali Kumar, founding general counsel at Warby Parker, former senior counsel at Google, and current angel investor:

Resource: https://medium.com/startup-grind/how-i-deal-with-sexual-harassment-in-tech-3bce2ab93a32
Edited by: Sena Sarıhasan

Article on Immigration by David Sax

Last fall, I took a taxi home from the airport in Toronto. As the conversation with the young driver moved on from the weather, I asked how he got into driving. He was a Punjabi from India, a member of an immigrant group that tends to dominate jobs at the city’s airport. He had moved to Canada two years earlier, when he was twenty-seven, and now drove his uncle’s Lincoln Town Car several nights a week, while studying engineering at a nearby university.

I asked him how he liked the school, which was reputed to be the best in the country for engineering. “The school is great,” he said, “but it’s kind of pointless for me. I know everything they’re teaching, because I did it all before back home.” In India, he already had a degree from one the country’s top engineering schools, and had spent several years working there for the global engineering firm Siemens, as a mechanical engineer. “You see that train there?” he asked me, pointing at the new express train linking the airport to the city’s downtown passing overhead. “I designed, built, and maintained airport trains exactly like that back in India. Now, I have to finish my degree just to apply for an internship with Siemens here. It’s insane!”

Our conversation happened just two weeks after the election of Donald Trump, who last month backed sweeping changes to America’s own immigration system. At the heart of this is the raise Act, proposed by Republicans senators, which would move the United States from an immigration system that focusses on family reunification to one that prioritizes skills and experiences suited to the job market. Though Trump’s primary motivation may be cutting legal immigration to the United States by as much as half, the core of the raise Act has frequently been compared to the Canadian immigration system.

If you want to immigrate to Canada, and do not have some other form of entry (such as refugee status, as hundreds of Haitian asylum seekers now housed in tent camps along the U.S. border are claiming), you can apply for the Federal Skilled Worker program, which ranks applicants based on a hundred-point scale. Points are awarded based on how an applicant matches up with the current needs of the Canadian job market: education, work experience, age, a spouse’s qualifications, whether a person has a job offer here, proficiency in English or French, and whether that person already has family in Canada. Those with scores of sixty-seven or above qualify, and are sent an invitation to apply to a specific program. Acceptance, however, is by no means guaranteed.

The system is lauded around the world as fair and effective, and successive governments, especially that of Justin Trudeau, love to brag about its basis in making Canada a land where immigrants are encouraged to come and prosper. The country is second only to Australia, which has its own points-based system, for the percentage of its population that is foreign born. Shouldn’t countries choose the best and brightest candidates to live there, the logic goes, just like a company would seek the absolute brightest person to fill a job?

The problem is how the lofty rhetoric that surrounds Canada’s points-based immigration system contrasts with the reality on the ground. As that young taxi driver’s tale highlighted, there is a tremendous disconnect between the way Canada brings people into the country and how their talents are applied after they arrive. More often than not, the taxi driver’s story is the norm rather than the exception. Pakistani and Indian engineers, Polish accountants, and Colombian teachers drive cars, fold laundry, and sling shawarma late into the night. Talented individuals are brought to Canada for their skills and experience, only to find those skills ignored once they land here.

Immigrants to Canada in their first ten years are more likely to be unemployed than the rest of the population, according to government statistics. That applies even when the immigrants are college-educated, compared to those native born with only a high-school diploma. Among those who have jobs, only a quarter of Canada’s immigrants are working in the fields they trained in, compared to more than sixty per cent for native-born citizens. A government report in 2013 showed that more than a third of recent immigrants to Canada were living in poverty, particularly in immigrant-heavy cities like Toronto and Vancouver, where half of residents are foreign born. The problem has become so acute that policymakers have coined a specific term for this phenomenon of squandered immigrant intellectual talent: brain waste.

The reasons why Canada’s skilled immigrants struggle so mightily are numerous. Immigrants lack the professional and social networks that native job-seekers have, and their knowledge of local markets and practices are understandably limited. Many professions are protected by unions and guilds that erect significant barriers to entry. I have two friends who were successful lawyers in Mexico and Israel, respectively, but who, once they moved here, found that their experience was essentially useless in the eyes of the Law Society of Upper Canada, which is the Canadian equivalent of the American Bar Association, and the Canadian law firms that operate under its rules. Both had to return to law school, at great cost, for several years, all while raising young children, only to compete in the same apprenticeship program with twenty-five-year-olds who were fresh out of law school—all before they were even allowed to bill a single hour.

Professional standards do vary around the world, and no one is keen to go under the knife of a cardiac surgeon who just arrived from a distant country without having her qualifications thoroughly vetted. But I also know of a Canadian cardiac surgeon who trained at the finest teaching hospital in New York, then moved back to Toronto and was made to requalify over several months under strict supervision, as if the practice of cardiovascular medicine in Canada were so radically different from professional norms just a hundred miles to the south. An orthopedic surgeon I met in Argentina lasted just two years after he moved his family to Winnipeg, before his frustration at being unable to practice led him to return the whole family to Buenos Aires. While a shortage of health-care workers continues to plague rural Canadian communities, more than half the foreign-born doctors living in Canada are not practicing medicine, according to figures compiled by academics Michel Girgnon, Yaw Owusu, and Arthur Sweetman. And while some of these people end up finding work in other areas of health care, other medical professionals, including nurses, pharmacists, and and even E.R. surgeons, are driving for Uber, or operating a gas station that they bought when they ran out of other options.

Jeffrey Reitz, a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, has been studying this problem in Canada’s immigration system for years. Reitz said that it emerged very shortly after the country adopted a skills-based immigration system, in the nineteen-seventies. “People’s skills are not being used when they immigrate,” Reitz told me, noting that there has actually been a slow decline in the employment success of skilled immigrants over the past forty years, despite the government raising the level of skills that it wants immigrants to have. “The problem of underutilized skills has actually gotten worse,” he said, noting that this could be fertile breeding ground for the sort of anti-immigrant sentiment that Canada has not yet seen. “If immigrants are stumbling and not doing well, then it may eventually undermine the success of the [skilled] immigration program.”

Often, the system falls short on what is broadly defined as “culture fit.” This is the shorthand for the kinds of stereotyping, subtle racism, and general conservatism that some employers have regarding those who look, speak, or think differently than they do. When my wife worked as a corporate headhunter, she was often asked by clients not to send in “new Canadians” as candidates to finance jobs, even if they had worked at investment banks in cities like Singapore, because of a lack of “Canadian experience.” This is a tidy euphemism for “no immigrants wanted,” especially if they are dark-skinned or if English is not their first language.

No society can perfectly cherry-pick the immigrants it needs and have them fit neatly into all the open slots in its economy, like pegs in a hole. Migration is messy; people’s lives aren’t easily tallied as points; and no culture ever fits together perfectly. Behind this notion lies the false belief that we can be like Dubai, bringing in only the wealthiest, best, and brightest, as though immigrants were something to be ordered off a menu.

“In both Canada and the U.S., when you have skilled immigrants with university degrees, they struggle,” Reitz said, noting that the same problem already exists in the United States, though it is dwarfed by issues around illegal immigration. The key, he said, is that the children of skilled immigrants do well, in what he deems “a kind of delayed positive impact.”

The economic reality is that all countries, including Canada, need a wide variety of immigrants from different national, educational, and vocational backgrounds. Despite what Trump says, skilled immigrants, but also unskilled ones, are needed.

Resource: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-fantasy-of-trumps-skills-based-immigration-proposal

Edited by: Sena Sari

My film critic on Rashomon

 

Hi everyone! From now on I am planning to publish some of my critics on films that I find interesting and worth to comment on. It might be a good start to produce and spread ideas. Lets start with the first one:

Rashomon directed by Akira Kurosawa in 1950 is based on that narrative where a Japanese samurai and his wife see a bandit on their way and he rapes samurai’s wife ,and then samurai is found death. Story just begins with woodcutter’s point of view how he finds the body and other stuff , later we listen the background of the murder and rape event in three different eyewitnesses’ (the wife, bandit, woodcutter himself)  accounts. But woodcutter also  being storyteller in the film by telling what happened in the court to the commoner in the Rashomon gate. In the court each eyewitness sits in front of a judge who is invisible to audience as if the audience itself is the judge. Director uses flashbacks while each one begins to talk and leaves the decision to the audience which one is true or is there any absolute truth. This technique is a great way to question about perception and reality, emphasizing  the main theme of the film, reality.

The film starts with a raining, cloudy environment at Rashomon gate, woodcutter’s saying “I dont understand “. This scene perfectly confronts with the main theme of the film, we are not able to understand or know the reality and there is always uncertainty due to insecurity of human perception. Later, it goes on with woodcutter’s words and flashback to the time in the forest. Now, we are able to see a little bit of sun light among the trees, meaningly the film begins to give us clues about the reality. While he is walking, the sound follows his movement and stops at every moment he surprisingly finds some staff from samurai and his wife.We don’t see every angle from these scenes which makes us being not totally informed like we don’t see the samurai’s body, only hands. So we can not be sure that if woodcutter is telling the absolute truth in the court although we see the court scenes as the most lighted ones where we come closer to the reality.When we look at the flashbacks that Bandit tells the story in his point of view, quick cuts, close ups are seen in the forests. In contrast, while we are in the in wife’s flashback, much longer takes and longer shots  director chooses and he uses more slowly cuts to a close-up. The technique perfectly confronts with the idea that reality changes according to the perception of each character.  Additionally, we don’t hear the judge’s voice during the film and  it makes us to feel like we are the judge and we investigate the truth. Thus, director succeeds to make audience participating in the film.

rashomon

Second eyewitness caught and brought by police is bandit. We see first perspective to the murder and rape by his telling that the wife was also willing to be with him. But most importantly, he tries to justify his act by claiming it was because the soft wind while he was resting in the forest. Then he tries to give a reason why he wanted to rape her by describing the wife’s anger making him seduced. Also, he says that they fought with honor and that can be a justification or comment to look better in the eye of judge So, we may conclude that even in any disgusting crime people wants to justify their act and secretly hopes to be understood. This might be a criticism to the human nature ‘do people really feel guilty from their acts or they find ways to justify their acts’. As Gopalan Mullik  (Head of Film Studies Deptt, St. Xavier’s College, “ Kurosawas Rashomon”  Nov 16th 2010) suggests that “deeper conflict between human being’s primitive instinctual desires of lust and greed on the one hand and his social values on the other which seek to curb such instincts. The distortion of facts which each person indulges in is really the result of trying to make them appear to be better than what they actually are in the eyes of the society!“. So we may consider bandit’s distorting the fact that he committed such a crime results from his concern in front of the  judge symbolizing  society.

rashomon2

The film also intensively questions that if there is goodness in the world or  in the humanity,if  memory is a good or bad thing, why or how people distort their memory. Distorting memory is explained in the dialogue between commoner and priest as  “ –Commoner: Well, men are only men. That’s why they lie.They can’t tell the truth, even to themselves. Priest: That may be true. Because men are weak, they lie to deceive themselves.” So, human nature can be considered  weak and their distorting even their own memory results from it. This might be another perspective to distorting reality besides from social concerns. Secondly, we need to examine the goodness assumed that people have inside in the film. Priest  symbolizes  moral part of the film and make us to think about humanity in a broader sense. He claims to have faith in humanity and wants to keep his faith. Even though commoner advocates the dark side of humanity by his speech and his act at the end of the film, priest insists on believing goodness and spirituality in humanity. At the end of the film, a baby in the Rashomon gate appears. I think, this part might be included to summarize ideas about human nature in a humanistic perspective. The opposite way of commoner’s and  woodcutter’s behaving  represents our contradictory nature while emphasizing there is still hope in humanity

 

Published by: Sena Sari