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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  433 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why I think the tech interview process is broken – Medium

The University of Washington required two communications courses of all engineering majors because Boeing, Microsoft, Genie and Weyerhauser were sick of getting engineers that couldn't speak English.

As such, every engineering student at the University of Washington was required to take two "tech writing" classes where the white kids are judged based on Strunk and White while the foreigners were judged based on Hooked on Phonics.

It's a vitriolic process all 'round. The foreigners hate the shit out of it because most of them are going back to Korea or Nigeria or Cambodia and fuck you, I can do your damn story problems why the fuck do I need to do a persuasive speech in Engish. The Americans hate it because goddamn it, we did all this basic shit two years ago in fucking English 101 except at least there, everyone was on a level playing field. The engineering departments hate it because FFS, now they have to hire TAs out of the Humanities department and squeeze another ten credits out of their students that could be better spent on something else. And the TAs hate it because the seething loathing they get from all sides for minimum wage can't feel good.

My TA took a list of subjects for our capstone presentation so there would be no duplication. Then she deliberately put the person who was duping mine the day before mine. So I had to throw out two weeks' work and wing one the night before, complete with eight minute powerpoint. Why? Because she was a bitch. Except two weeks later she realized that we all got to review her and UW's reviews were public because of a student reform that she didn't know about because she was new. So she spent an entire class crying and beseeching us not to skunk the shit out of her and we all sat, coldly watching, no one saying a word, letting her cry. Because she was a bitch. And she got fired. And fuck her.

One of our assignments was a business letter attempting to persuade someone of something. I wrote a business letter to the dean of the college of engineering to persuade her to drop the communications classes. I got a D. Six years later the dean jumped off a goddamn skyscraper. I cheered her death.

I bring all this up because I think it might be valuable to you to catch a glimpse of the burning resentment I still feel for a class not unlike your own. You've never been anything but gracious to me and my keenly unpleasant experience within "writing for engineers" (and it was ostensibly tech writing!) has absolutely nothing to do with you. Looking back, I can safely say I was better with words than any teacher I had from about 8th grade on and even then, the fact that poets get away with grammatical murder because they're poets is the sort of thing that will drive a STEM student bonkers because they simply don't get to.

Pretend you're a runner. You're in the olympics. You win the gold because your time was the lowest. Then someone decides that in order to compete you need to do some floor exercises. You win the gold because you have the highest average score among ten judges that are using a byzantine process utterly opaque even to them (and, often, because they're bribable). There is no aspect of this decision that doesn't strike you as unjust, arbitrary and quixotic.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar but "poetry offends masculinity" could also mean "this stuff makes me angry and the only way I can think to explain it to you is to poorly string words together."