Did Supreme Court Justice Also Say “Don’t Ask For Raise”

Stephen Breyer is one of the Supreme Court Justices. In an interview in 2010, he was asked to give young persons career advice. He said these words:

My father gave me a good advice. He said when you have a job, someone wants you to do something, the thing to do is you do it. You do it as well as you can and you take into account what other people are thinking and what the needs of other people are. He said, now if you do it real well and you pay attention, then maybe someone will notice. If you’re noticed, you might get a better job. But maybe they won’t notice. But you still have done that job well. So there is no lose.

What if Stephen Breyer was invited to speak at the Grace Hopper conference and said the same words when he was asked to give advice? Did Stephen just say the same: (don’t ask for raise, instead,) just do your job well and a better job might come.

The Tech Gender Gap

In the last a few months, people are talking about the tech gender gap, that a lot more software engineers are men (e.g. 80%) than women (e.g. 20%) in big Internet companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, as well as in the tech industry.

I am not suggesting that the current gender gap is justifiable. I am just curious: when folks crucify the tech companies and industry, what is the right ratio in their mind? One can’t just say “there should be the same amount of men and women computer engineers because men and women are equally smart”.

Put that aside, why is the companies and the industry to blame? It seems to me that the companies just inherited the gender gap from their talent supplier — the colleges. Per the data on Wikipedia, the men-women ratio in college students in computer science related majors seems to be in line with the ratio in the companies.

Actually, in the tech companies, the age discrimination may be a much worse issue than the gender gap.

I Want An Owl

Harry Potter has an owl, Hedwig. I want one, too. For many times, I wished I had one. That would have saved me a lot of time and hassles. Here are three examples.

Example one: repair my iPad. Last Saturday night, the home button on my iPad stopped working. I went to the Apple Store in the university village in Seattle on Sunday morning. The store was full of people and I was told that the waiting time would be half an hour. So I made an appointment in the afternoon, hoping that would get shorter wait. But when I came back and checked in on time, I still waited more than twenty minutes until I got help. The rest didn’t take more than a couple minutes. Since I was still in warranty, I simply got a replacement iPad. I wish I had an owl, which can carry my iPad to the store, get replacement and fly back, so that I don’t have visit the Apple Store in person and wait in line.

Example two: pharmacy trip. We were traveling in San Francisco last year and in that night, my boy had fever and cough. My wife needed help but we had to get some Tylenol. It was after midnight and not quite easy to get a cab. It took me about an hour to get the Tylenol from a 24-hours pharmacy several miles away. If I had an owl, I would have sent my owl to the pharmacy so that I could stay with my boy and give my wife help.

Example three: garage door. Yeah, there are many people like me: I often don’t remember whether I have shut my garage door, so I come back from a few blocks away to double check. For the record, I did forget for a couple times. So it wasn’t always wasteful. But if I had an owl, I would keep going and send my owl back to take a peek. After that, the owl would fly back to where I am, which might have been several miles away from where I launched her.

Harry Potter’s owl only lives in the books and movies. The owl that I want will be a drone, a smart drone. It may take quite a few years to get there: that I can send my smart drone to run the errands for me. There will be things to iron out, such as what if somebody shoots down my drone and takes my replacement iPad; how will it launch and land in urban area; etc.. Affordability is a thing, too. But thirty years ago, a PC wasn’t too affordable and twenty years ago, a cell phone wasn’t too affordable.

I believe the dream will come true and when I am old, I will send my drone to pick up my prescriptions rather than going to the Walgreens by myself.