Moving beyond mansplaining

My name is Justin Dearing and I am a head down tactical white male geek. Between being good at what I do, and being white and male I get away with a lot of social ineptitude. Generally, I have no problem with getting away with being socially awkward for being good at my job as long as no ones feeling get hurt or no one has to clean up my messes. In other words, if someone says “Justin is awkward in conversations, he needs to iron his short and his desk is full of papers he never throws out, but damn he is a good coder,” that is a generally virtuous situation.  However if someone says “Justin’s desk is full of spilled food that bacteria is growing in and his argumentative method of conversation excludes a lot of people, but he’s a damn good coder” that is a viceful situation.

So with that guideline in mind, competence should excuse one from pointless social moors but not the purposeful ones, lets look at this article that came up in my tweet stream.

The article talked about mansplaining, but broke it down in a way that made it really hit home for me. Men like to hear the sound of their own voice. Mansplaining is a symptom of that. So this of course begs the question, “is there something more basic than mansplaining that is a viceful behavior, or is seeking to talk for the sake of talking inherently viceful?”

I don’t have an answer, but I know I definitely enjoy having an audience, and I am long winded. I speak at several SQL Saturday’s across the country. I pay my own way for these. For the majority of my time doing them I was a W-2 employee of companies that were not sponsoring the events I spoke at. Even now as a 1099 contractor, most of my work is dealing with DB2 on the IBMi (formerly iSeries and AS/400 before that). I don’t have a commercial interest in being there. Why do I speak at SQL Saturday?

  • I love getting to present on the topics I choose
  • Networking is good, and yes some of my income I can directly attribute to “someone saw me speak at PASS and recommended me for something” However, I’m running a huge net loss in terms of money I spent to get to SQL Saturday versus direct opportunities it gave me.
  • I do get to do precons, but I’ve yet to run a profit on one of them
  • Usually there is a speaker dinner, but considering I usually need a hotel room and might need a plane ticket, its the most expensive free dinner money can buy.
  • I love getting in front of people and having them listen to me.

So is my speaking at SQL Saturday a direct result of the same root cause of mansplaining? Most likely. Is me speaking at SQL Saturday a bad thing? I don’t know. If so what’s the correct solution? Paying speakers? I know a lot of well paid people that like the sound of their own voice. What are your thoughts?

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