2 min read


I type really fast.

It’s not so much a brag, really, as a fact. #humblebrag.

Last night, the CEO of my company sent out an email to the entire internal mailing list with the subject line “I was 76wpm” and a link to a typing test. I’ve done this typing test before, and I don’t think I’ve ever scored below 120wpm. It’s just a fact. Not a brag.

A few emails later in the thread someone commented, “Wait until you see Ashley’s!”

And then I didn’t want to show them anymore the screenshot I had taken of my results of the typing test. (146, by the way.) It feels uncomfortable to call everyone’s attention to some great thing I have done, to bring the topic of conversation to me and invite everyone’s praise.

Of course, this is for a really small thing and I’m overthinking this. And I do frequently boast that I never (rarely) lose in typeracer games, so there’s no reason to be shy about my typing ability.

But what about in other areas of my life? I brace myself for the slight “oh!” and “wow!” of surprise every time I reveal that I am a “software engineer at an education startup working in the city.” (My go-to “about me” at every introduce-yourself event.) “Wow, you must be so smart!” “Did you study engineering in college?” “Teach me!” I don’t know if this is subtle sexism at play (which is something I’m also grappling with – how to be a “woman in tech” when I don’t feel sexism or oppressed at work and don’t feel like a minority. Although I suppose I still am supposed to stand strong and be voice for women in tech, otherwise I frustrate women like the one who wrote this article.) but I can’t help but feel like such a poser talking about my career, because to be honest it’s not one I wanted nor one I was even actively searching for, nor one I was that qualified for. And when I repeat that to the person questioning me, it feels again like I’m bragging about where I am because of what I’ve done and who I am.

It seems like it’s so great nowadays to be an engineer. The salary, the progressiveness, the cool perks. (I actually don’t get that many perks. I just get free pizza every other Friday, which is still awesome.) I love my team, and I love what we do – but when I talk about edu-tech, I generally get some sort of response about how the education and tech industry has so many opportunities right now – and then I wonder, am I an engineer in edutech because I wanted a high-paying job in an industry that is growing, or because I want to help kids and take part in education reform? Do I sound like I’m trying to be a good person if I want to “do something that helps change the world” – trying too hard?

I want to find the balance between caring about the image I present to the public and caring too much about what other people think of me. The balance between being proud of what I do and being humble – humility, that elusive characteristic…