It's the loneliness that hits you first.
I love being a developer. I love the challenge and learning every single day to get better.
The reality is, I'm really f*cking lonely here. When you feel lonely, you don't feel part of the team. You feel like you don't deserve to be here.
I'm a pretty ordinary person—but as a developer, I've become introverted, shy, and just awkward to be around sometimes. I have zero female friends, I moved away and had to start again.
This isn't my fault, I've just learnt to adapt to the people around me, those I work with. As you can imagine, when I started at this software company, I was the "fresh meat x1000" because I was a woman.
The company milked this fact; I was always the one they picked for interviews, brought along to Uni open days and showed off to people. They claimed it was because I came in as a graduate, but there were 2 other guys in the exact same boat. Choose them please, and f*cking let me work.
I don't involve myself in meetings anymore, I feel like I shouldn't be there. I try to get my opinion across but the other 20 guys on the team thought about that weeks ago. We're already cast out by most of the company by just being the "IT guys," please don't cast me out even more.
When someone makes a rude joke or takes it too far, they always assume I'm going to be offended and report them to HR. C'mon guys, I have a funny bone. Don't be afraid to point out my gender, don't ignore it. Make fun of it, god damn it!
I remember coming into work one day, and one of the guys had left me a Valentine's card. Everyone could see it on my desk as I walked in. I was so embarrassed and didn't open it. From then on, they all assumed we were "seeing each other," that pissed me off. Even my boss was asking questions, I was scared of being labelled.
Some of the guys are really close, to the point where someone invited the whole office to his stag-do. I laughed at said "See you there!" obviously as a joke. Oh god. This guy was walking on egg-shells, trying not to upset me as he said "Please don't come." I felt stupid after that.
On many occasions, my boss has had private meetings with me, to discuss my work and "how I'm doing." I don't have the heart to tell him just how unhappy I can be in this job sometimes. That wouldn't go down well. I've cried at my desk a few times when the office was quiet (many developers work from home), I cry because I haven't had a legitimate conversation with another female in... 6 months?! I don't expect them to understand. But being at work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, I deserve to be just as happy and fulfilled as they do.
I have yet to find a solution to this—I understood what I was getting into when I took on this role, but I don't think my employer did. Have you really not made an effort to employ more female developers in the years I've been here?
They need to know that I live in a different world here, I speak a different language. I get emotional on things that don't require a second thought. I just want to be as happy as they are.