Jan 13, 2010

My Soapbox on Diversity

This is my blog and I can write whatever I want. Right? Even if it's not politically correct, right? OK, great. Here we go.

Today I read an article about diversity in the workplace. It talked about how diversity is now more than race and gender; it encompases sexual preference, religion, veterans status and a whole slew of things. So far, I agree. When I think about how diverse the Girl Scout executive team is, for example, I don't just mentally divide it out by race and gender. I think about level of education, military v non-military families, sexual preferences, geography, etc. And this makes the execs at my office a pretty darn diverse group. I think that rocks.

But I gotta say, even as a woman who enjoys a diverse set of supervisors, I am just not into this idea that HR or an organization's management actively seeks out diversity. I don't want co-workers who are white or black or male or female just because of that attribute. I want good, qualified co-workers. If all the best applicants have similar traits - well then fine. That's just how it is.

I have a vague recollection of a cousin of mine doing singing auditions where the judges could only hear her; not see her or even read her name. I know that's not always realistic, but in some ways, isn't that ideal? To judge a person only on their relevant skills?

I know you'll tell me it isn't feasible. That there are some jerks in the world who wouldn't hire me based on me being a woman so we must encourage diversity in the workplace. But on the same token, aren't there some people who will hire me because I'm a woman and they need more women on their staff? Honestly...it kinda makes me want to say "to hell with you." If I can't get someplace based on my skills, then I don't want to be there. I don't need your handouts.

I'm sure I'm a little naive and maybe overly prideful. I probably fall into that pretty privileged group that really doesn't have room to complain. But still, it makes my skin crawl to think people get hired for things other than their skills.

I'm sure no good HR person would tell me that diversity outweighs skill sets. I certainly hope not anyways.


Anonymous said...

Yes, it's your blog and you can write what you want but what you put on your blog, or any electronic communication, is there forever, for anyone at any time in your life to read and make a judgment. Even if you delete it, someone can recover it. The world of blogs, facebook, twitter... social networks in general...will change just how spontaneous our choice of words should be. Even "private" text messages are becoming headline news. However, with regard to your blog's topic; diversity is good as are relevant skills for the job at hand.


Cheryl said...

While I agree that you have to be careful about what you put out into the cyberworld, I also think we get to have opinions and shouldn't be scared of sharing them honestly. I know its only been a few days but I still stand-by my opinion that I would rather be judged and judged others based on skills, not unrelated attributes.