Hi! Welcome to The Data Are Alright, a blog about tips and tricks for changemakers. According to my stats, most of you found your way here through Google. I hope you enjoy the post below. If you’d like to stick around, here are a couple of great options to read. You can even SUBSCRIBE, which would absolutely make my day! (I post approx 3x / month)
- How social justice makes me a better database admin
- Why changemakers need good data
- 4 part series on Mail Merge
- 3 part series on digital self-care
- Clipboards and Megaphones: a new perspective on Dr. King’s legacy
Frankly, I’m surprised that it’s taken me this long to realize that I needed to blog with emojis, given that I use my Emoji keyboard in almost every text or slack message. But, here we are. Btw- WordPress (my blogging platform) isn’t great in the emoji department, but I found a workaround. Bear with me.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve been working night 🌛 🌠 and day 🌻 to roll out registration for Amplify’s Salesforce certification study groups (read more about why this is important to me!). And to my delight, we already have 85+ people signed up, centering people from underrepresented communities in tech and the Salesforce ecosystem. 🌈 (no good emojis on this platform for Black and brown people, booo).
So perhaps you can imagine my complicated feelings when I was texting about this project near and dear to my heart, and my phone “smart suggested” the “woman” emoji 👩 when I typed the word “admin.”
For changemakers, “admin” or “database admin” might not mean a whole lot. For our purposes, think of whoever manages RSVPs, sends out emails, deposits checks, keeps up with shared calendars, and all the other behind-the-scenes, must-get-done, un-sexy stuff that often involves spreadsheets. 🙂 you with me?
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the girl emoji, and I do use her, not even infrequently. But if I had to pick an emoji to represent being a Database Admin, I would probably choose “ballroom dancer” 💃 or “megaphone” 📢 or “wrench” 🔧. Some days, I feel like “take a bow” emoji 🙇 and others, the “detective” emoji 🕵. I like the “fireworks” emoji to symbolize automation 🎆 and “tada” 🎉 for “I didn’t even know this was possible!”
My job spans predicting the future “crystal ball” 🔮 to finding red flags
🚩 and ringing alarm bells 🚨. I think I would also consider the “teacher” or “scientist” emojis (MIA in WordPress…). Then there are the times when admin means repetitive minutia. Good thing there’s an emoji symbol for that, too. 🔂
On one hand, I feel happy that my phone suggested “woman” for admin at all, since we are sorely underrepresented in the pool of database managers and other techie fields.
But on the other hand, I think that my phone interpreted “Admin” as in, administrative assistant, a role that’s waaaaay more complicated than anyone gives credit for, and for that reason, (since people think it’s simple) is often assigned to women. Sometimes representation is what we’re fighting for. Sometimes, over-representation at low paying jobs is what we need to change.
Since the emojis fell short, I decided to take this as an opportunity to share some *ACTUAL FOOTAGE* of life as an Admin / spreadsheet wizard. Juuuust kidding!!
- I think we should all value admin functions more!! but not to the exclusion of organizing against extractive industries and structural violence (btw – this isn’t a zero sum game!)
- We need to challenge our mental images (and how our mental images are informed by gender, race, etc) when we hear about types of work. Doctor? Scientist? Teacher? Chef? Admin?
- We need to do better to honor people in receptionist/executive assistant/admin roles and acknowledge their invisiblized labor.
- We need to critically look at admin roles (in the database admin sense of the word) and keep figuring out how to apply the parts we want to keep in our social movement work. Salesforce has one definition (and branding #AwesomeAdmin) around being a System Administrator, but we can continue to expand it and define it for ourselves!
- Speaking of evolving the Admin job, we also gotta make racial equity a real priority in all of our work, which is one reason why I’m sooooo excited about our upcoming batch of Amplify Study Groups!