I signed up for journalist Ann Helen Peterson’s newsletter a while ago; each week has a “just trust me” link with no explanation. This week’s link was an essay by Victoria Gannon about working as a contract UX writer in San Francisco. It is wonderful and awful and captures exactly what being an outsider at a mostly male company feels like (see also: Pixar’s “Purl“).

From “The Metrics of Backpacks“:

I am in a foreign country; these are my hosts. I study their dialects and graph their inflections, seeking fluency. I listen as they discuss fishing trips and ways to get their wives to watch science-fiction movies and how annoyed they get when she eats their leftover burrito from the fridge. I offer up pieces of my own life that I think they will like: stories of my boyfriend’s obsessive CD collection, memories of the science-fiction movies my brother made me watch as a child. I too cringed at the green of the Emperor’s blood in Flash Gordon; I also sat in awe when the owl in Clash of the Titans moved its brass wings. But this is belonging by proxy, a male escort at my side; it is never inherent.