Susan Fowler’s Story and What Can We Learn From It


Some of you might have already heard about Susan Fowler and ex-Uber engineer who wrote a blog chronically the sexual abuse and sexism she encountered while working at Uber. Which added on to the #deleteUber movement. Here is the link to her blog. She seems like a super smart young lady to me, reading 52 books per year as a goal.

After the first couple of weeks of training, I chose to join the team that worked on my area of expertise, and this is where things started getting weird. On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.


For Manager: Don’t make an advance toward a subordinate if you’re in manager position

For HR: If they report it, there should be some documentation, and proper counsel so these kind of stuff doesn’t pop up again.

For regular people like you and I: There is a lot of craziness out there, people actually have open-relationship? What???!! That’s another reason not to move to California or Silicon Valley, people has so much money, that they don’t know what to do with themselves, and had to resort to this.

I received a great review with no complaints whatsoever about my performance. I waited a couple of months, and then attempted to transfer again. When I attempted to transfer, I was told that my performance review and score had been changed after the official reviews had been calibrated, and so I was no longer eligible for transfer. When I asked management why my review had been changed after the fact (and why hadn’t they let me know that they’d changed it?), they said that I didn’t show any signs of an upward career trajectory.

For Manager: Don’t change the performance review after you’ve already appraise it, computers leave digital print. Be Fair. Stay Fair.

For HR: Please do protect your good workers.

For Regular People like you and I: Really? If everything is going against you, find a way to get out.

She’s not alone in the situation. Company like Facebook has less than 0.2% of black and latino. Their HR says, even when a black guy or a Latino guy made it to the last round, they still wouldn’t get hired. Team white male and team Asian males (South Asian) (Indian), and East Asian) only hire their own people to be on their team.

You heard about tech companies was silently telling other companies not to recruit their engineers, and got fined for it. Now, it’s not a big issue anymore, when a head engineer is leaving, he could “take” his entire team with him. So when they hire, I guess, it’s a more convenience thing to hire people you want wherever you go from the get-go.

Company will almost always choose profit and The bottom line is HR is not your friend. The HR people did consult with the upper manager. But they chose not to do anything about it.

I was reading the Facebook story the other day. Mark Zuckerberg was writing off his friend as a co-founder, knowing that he will get sued, but he was doing it anyway, to move the company forward, including screwing his own friend. He later donated millions to New Jersey public school system, it still didn’t change the fact that he choose profit over friendship.

How do I reflect her story to my own situation:

I’m blessed to be in a profession that there are a lot more females than males. My hospital is embrace culture diversity.

I’m still doing renovation on my rental property, a lot of times, guys came out to give me an estimate, and it’s absurd that when he sees that I’m a girl, he jacked up the price. To combat this problem, I had multiple companies or contractors come out at the same time.

  1. They know they are not the only one out there.
  2. I get the truest price when there are more than one parties coming out. By eliminate me as a female out of the equation (because they saw their competitors), they would give me their truest lowest price.
  3. I have guys cutting corners because they wouldn’t think I would go up the to the roof to check if they actually do the job, or went up into the attic to check on the job. I don’t know if it’s a women thing, or they’re that way. What I’ve learned is no matter how much I pay for the job, they ALL will try to cut corners.

Another way to put this: Financial Independent empowered women. I’d have to say, if I run into this sort of issue, I can always choose to walk away from the job, and not having to worry about my bills will be paid. Granted, she kept saying she likes the project, and she felt like she was getting somewhere, doing something good with her career, and she didn’t want to walk from it. But base on what she said, it seems hellish to me. If someone that miserable, documenting everything at work, wouldn’t she a little tired of all this? I’m pretty sure, at some point, somebody must have said something inappropriate to me, and I’d just shake it off and walk away from the situation. Memory that is unpleasant, people that I don’t want to hang out it, I don’t have to endure their abuse. And I wouldn’t let them abuse me any further by documenting what they said, or keep thinking about it.


Was it a smart move from her? It’s 50-50

1. People who are hiring her from this point on know she keeps record of inappropriate behavior of bosses or corporate culture going around her. This probably the very thing that prevent people from reporting it fighting when they face oppression. 

2. Now everyone knows who she is, what a great engineer she is, and how strong she is. This will open a lot more opportunities for her in the future, whether it’s in the engineer world, or in policy making somewhere.

Would I do it? Probably not. I’ll find my own solution to work around it or not throw myself in that situation. I play soccer with men before, some of them didn’t like it, some of them think it’s cool.





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