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Are Citrix support engineers exhibiting gender bias on support calls?

Townsend Carr

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I recently had the pleasure of being engaged in a multiple day support case requiring several long calls with Citrix support engineers.


I have been in Information Technology for 25 years. I manage the Technology Services and Support Service Delivery for an international unit of a 10 billion dollar a year financial services company (leaving my company out of this discussion).


During the call, the Citrix engineer -- deliberately not disclosing his name -- asked for information about the method of connecting to the URL for which we were attempting to remediate the configuration on the Netscaler. I replied that the connections would be generated from an application with a tcp socket call to port 443. He dismissed the answer and walked me through typing in https://URL_BEING_REMEDIATED.  I explained that it wasn't a HTTPS call, it wasn't using the HTTP protocol, it was a tcp socket call. He asked what protocol we were using. I responded that it was FIX, and that at no time, ever, was the request going to come from a browser because it was not an HTTP call. He said that wasn't a protocol. He again pointed me to the browser and tried to explain how to type in an address. I demonstrated my ability to type in the address field of a browser, and the request was unsuccessful.


The call went on for a few more hours after that. Not surprisingly, we were unable to successfully adjust the configuration on the front end because the engineer continued to insist that it was HTTPS because there was an SSL certificate applied to the Netscaler. The call ended with the engineer saying he couldn't proceed until he knew what kind of traffic we were trying to configure the load balancer to accept, and wanted a screen shot of a successful transaction. As the developers were off shift at the time, I had to disband the call until the next day when I had the development team available to provide a screen shot.


The developers provided the screen shot, and we reconvened the next day. The engineer -- not sure it was the same engineer when we resumed -- had some questions about the screen shot. He asked, again, how the request was being submitted to the URL. I answered, again, that it was a tcp socket call on port 443 coming from an application. He implied that I wasn't understanding the question, and asked to have development join the call. I had our development team join the call, and, when he asked the same question, the developer (male) answered that it was a tcp socket call to port 443. The engineer responded with what sounded like surprise and then adjusted the front end protocol to be SSL_FIX. Not too long after that, we had a working configuration.


So here's my question. Does Citrix only accept technical information if it is provided by a male voice? Do I need to have a male colleague attend every Citrix support call to reduce the amount of time it takes to get a resolution? Should I get a voice modulator on my phone so I sound male? Or perhaps claim that my audio is not working and answer all questions in chat? Is my name gender neutral enough that the information would be accepted?


I will add that Citrix is not the only vendor that seems to dismiss any information not provided by a male colleague, and prompted by my daughter, who is just starting her career in Information Technology, I am now reporting all vendors who make it challenging for female professionals to be effective executing their job responsibilities. So don't feel singled out or special -- Citrix has plenty of company when it comes to embedded gender discrimination.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been with Citrix support a lot. I have never seen such issue. Normally i have noticed they will be more patient and generous towards ladies call.

In this case, i assume it's more of the case of lack of knowledge of the support engineer on the call. FIX protocol is not very common and they are used to think anything 443 means it's SSL/HTTPS. I assume they might not have knowledge of this protocol during the call and later it was a co-incidence that they understood it at that point of time when the developer spoke to him or he might have did google at that time and understood what SSL_FIX is.


Anyway i am just a listener. I believe in your story and you have a personal experience and i can't judge that. If it happened and you felt like that then i am truly sorry for the support engineer behavior.

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