No one is “non-technical”

People in “non-technical” roles are typically paid less, afforded less flexibility, and granted less prestige. The categories of “technical” and “non-technical” serve wholly to privilege those in the former, at the expense of the latter. But literally no product organization would survive a week without the deep—and, I’d argue, technical—expertise of the people who are usually lumped into the “non” bucket: a bucket that includes knowledge of financial systems, laws, business models, operations, ethics, research tactics, user behavior, cultural patterns, learning development, communication practices, organizational psychology, and so much more than could ever be listed in a single paragraph. The “non-technical” nomenclature not only does a disservice to that work—and to those people—it also diminishes the ability of the organization to really get the most benefit from those skills. It’s difficult to earn value from the things you disparage, even if the disparagement is superficially polite.

Mandy goes on to point out the gendered nature of the work and labels tied up in “technical” and “non-technical”—and argues for being precise in our language, along with a healthy dose of humility and humanity, for the essential roles everyone plays in making work work.

8:50 pm on October 15, 2022