At the beginning of my career, I attempted to fill, what I thought of as, gaps in my current skills. I stayed late at work so no one would realize that I didn’t understand something, I would take training courses and would spend my off time learning new skills.
As a woman in the very male dominiated tech industry, I was nervous about admitting that I might not know something. All of the men at work seemed very confident in their abilities and I seemed to lack that same confidence.
Notice I didn’t say I lacked the same skills. I think as women we tend to undervalue our abilities.
This (Wo)man’s Work
There was a very interesting blog post that I read this morning about the lack of value that seemed to be placed on value a woman contributes. At the very beginning of the post, she quoted a survey of 1,732 Brits by YouGov who seriously thought that if they played against Serena Williams they could actually win a point in that game. Serena Williams! In my opinion, one of the best women tennis players that has ever played. A woman who had to step away from the game to get married and have a child. Someone who had to then fight her way back to top physical shape to enter back into the world of professional tennis. I’d like to see some of the men come back from a situation like that!
At this point in my life, I plan to concentrate on my strengths.
I have strengths like compassion, leadership, trustworthiness, creativity, integrity, honesty and determination.
I have strengths that I bring to the tech industry too.
- Understanding how to form a vision and lead a team towards that vision.
- How to see the big picture, putting together a high-level architectural view that explains the vision.
- Allowing for team autonomy and creativity by taking a backseat to my team to allow for the development of a solution
- Listening to the customer to understand the current problem and working with them on a solution
I’m not saying that I have nothing left to learn. I hope that there is always something new to learn. But…My strengths are different then a lot of people in the tech industry and that’s okay. Because what I have to offer is just as valuable.