Last week the staff of the Douglas County Herald placed a filing cabinet outside adjacent to the lobby entry. The cabinet is a safety precaution and is intended to be a place for us to deposit newspapers for customers to pick up, as well as a place for customers to drop off requests, news items and print job needs.
The filing cabinet drop-off point was our solution to fulfilling the social distancing requirement and diminishing the need for personal contact with customers. In accord with the CDC and City of Ava guidelines, our goal was to minimize in-house traffic.
So far the plan has worked.
However, it has been a challenge for some, especially the men.
From watching the coming – and – going of customers, through our novice scientific research and observations, it appears men have little experience opening and closing a filing cabinet door. Whereas on the other end of the spectrum, 95% of the women who used the cabinet, had no problem.
The first filing cabinet we placed outside was a very old model, and each of the two drawers on the cabinet had a push button embedded in the pull handle, on the left side. To open the drawer, it was necessary to push the button with your thumb and then pull the drawer open.
However, most male customers were baffled by the sequence.
During the first few days, we had one man attempt to pry open the drawer with force.
Another nearly took the cabinet apart. He was pulling rods out of the filing cabinet –– we had no idea the cabinet had that many removable parts.
So, after two days of watching struggles with the cabinet outside, we decided to switch the unit to a more user friendly version.
The metal unit now sitting outside is a black filing cabinet that has a very noticeable, distinct silver button on each drawer. To pull open a drawer, that silver tab must slide to the right in conjunction with pulling the drawer open.
This cabinet seems to be working more efficiently, for everyone.
We found these incidents a little bit humorous, especially during this time of uncertainty and crisis.
And, the incidents were also intriguing and a reminder of gender differences. In our local culture, it is likely most guys do not use filing cabinets.
Research documents differences in cognitive performance between males and females, and sometimes, the difference is the result of social and cultural factors.
Which is likely the case here.
In a 2019 article by Careersmart entitled, Which jobs do men and women do? Occupational Breakdown by Gender, the research shows a marked difference when comparing male and female job categories. The highest career level for men, where male participation registered 99.48%, was categorized with jobs such as vehicle technicians, mechanics, and electricians. Females registered 0.52%.
The study shows 90-plus percent of the male workforce tends to excel in skilled labor and management positions, fields that include construction, trades, electrical technicians, electronic engineers, surveyors, and more. In those categories, female percentages are low, with numbers ranging from 0.52% to 8%.
In contrast, female workers register in the 90-plus percentile in careers such as secretarial, personal assistant, child care, case workers and home care givers. In these professions, male numbers are low, ranging from 2.41% to 9.46%.
So upon witnessing local males struggling to open the filing cabinet, it seems appropriate to make a scientifically unsound and gender stereotyped conclusion –– men have little or no experience with filing cabinets.
They didn’t know how to use it and it is likely their lack of knowledge to the task is a cultural- social issue.
Is The Snoop dissing men? Absolutely not.
Based on the workforce research noted above, male and female career paths simply run in opposition, they most generally counter each other. Men dominate and excel in specific areas, and women excel in others.
It seems our social distancing solution proved to be a corroboration of the differences in gender-job preferences. Our unscientific observation, no doubt.
But, back to the filing cabinet ––
Finding humor in flubs and blunders is a welcomed distraction right now. Off-setting our present crisis with laughter is key.
And perhaps, as the Herald staff discovered last week, real-life bloopers are best, no matter what the gender.