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Ask L2: Anxiety, the Burden Women Carry in Patriarchal Capitalism, and Intrinsic Motivation

Updated: May 14

"I'm conscious of the double standards I'm held to as a woman in tech."

Disclaimer: Identities are kept confidential. The advice given here should be taken at your own risk. If you are having true mental or physical issues, please seek professional assistance.

How do I differentiate between anxiety, the additional burden women carry in patriarchal capitalism, and intrinsic motivation?

I think about work all the fucking time. I dream about it, I wake up to it, my mind wanders to it. But, honestly, I'm tired. I used to have a personality and I think I lost it along the way. 

I'm intimately conscious of the double standards I'm held to compared to my (all male) counterparts as a woman in tech. I know that any tiny slip and I'll be out (again) of the project or team. But I also really believe in what I do and want the highest standards to be maintained. 

It's less that I want people to go easy on me, it's more that I want stability in that we are all trying to solve problems together and lead to greatness. I'm also a perfectionist, but what women do you know who aren't when under fire!?


Ah, yes, the burden of being an overachiever by nature who, intentionally or otherwise, hinges self-worth on output and success. We’re all naturally anxious people. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t care about the success. 

My dad always used to say that anxiety is your brain’s better judgment telling you that there’s a problem. It’s pretty easy to say that all anxiety is irrational or a problem, but that’s really not the case. A lot of it comes from the warning signs that we need to look around the corner or make sure we’re safe. The problem is when everything becomes a warning sign. 

Unfortunately, that line is not up for me (or any layperson) to decide. That’s between you and a mental health professional if you think it’s that severe. If you’re worried that it’s just anxiety, then it’s probably based in anxiety. Talking to a professional about that is a good idea. If the parts of it that are uncomfortable rather than your nature are based in anxiety, there are good treatments for that, and that will bring the rest into focus.



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1 Comment

I appreciate the response you gave, but I feel like it's not addressing OPs question.

Sure, anxiety is definitely worth seeing a professional about, but it doesn't change the fact that they (like so many of us) exist in a professional world where danger is around every corner. We ARE facing higher levels of scrutiny, there IS an ongoing risk to our careers that has little to do with performance, and we ARE trying to make our way in environments where we are often unwelcome.

Answers often include "find a workplace that's welcoming," and while this is not bad advice (it's certainly what I strived to do), not everyone can change jobs, and even if they can, not everyone can…

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