Reviewed by Kristine Eckart
A piercing & poignant memoir on pregnancy discrimination in the tech world
Chelsey Glasson explores the prejudices she & others experienced during pregnancy at some of the biggest places in tech in Black Box. Navigating these issues which ultimately derail her career, her health, her family, and potentially, her future, she is forced to choose between the job she thought she always wanted and standing up for her rights and those of others harmed by the culture of tech giants.
“It was easier to not think about it, bury the feelings, and pretend it wasn’t happening. “
Glasson begins her memoir by looking back on a traumatic relationship with her parents and the abuses that caused the imposter syndrome and mental health issues that would influence her later in life. After she graduates from college, Glasson begins her career with T-Mobile and Salesforce, gathering the knowledge and experience that will lead to her ultimate dream job: working for Google.
From the beginning of the hiring process to her very first days, Glasson’s Google experience is fraught with red flags that she and other colleagues overlook; from subtle microaggressions to overt discrimination, she experiences it all. Still, she performs well at Google until her first pregnancy.
But soon, she must decide how to respond to these discretions, ask herself how far she’s willing to pursue reparations, and choose what she’s willing to sacrifice to take on a giant like Google. The memoir also includes the testimonies of other women who have undergone pregnancy discrimination and includes Glasson’s recommendations to improve the support systems. We even receive a copy of the official complaint filed by Glasson and her legal team to see firsthand how it is handled.
“There’s also a double bind at work: the heightened level of self-promotion necessary to advance at Google requires engaging in behavior that women are often judged and penalized for exhibiting.”
From privileges to self-care time off to admitting her shortcomings and mistakes, Glassonis an open book in Black Box, giving an all-encompassing view of her experience navigating discrimination in the workforce. The details of the pregnancy and promotion plan meticulously outlined on a whiteboard, the levels of experience and cycles of promotion requirements, and the intimate and medical aspects of Glasson’s pregnancy provide unique insight into this journey from her experience and those of others.
This inside look at work culture and how it affects personal lives will pull you in and keep you there. An eye-opening look at the tech industry and the discriminations that still pervade the workforce, Black Box is an informative and gripping read that will have you seeing red flags in your own life more clearly.
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