In this episode, I talk to Tiffany Dawson, an ex-mechanical engineer turned career coach for women in STEM about a difficult time she went through in her career, and how by getting the support she needed, she was able to use that experience and help other women around the world to excel in their careers. She also provides specific ways that women in STEM can create barriers for themselves to help boost their confidence and advance their success in work and life.
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Women in STEM:
- Women in STEM generally face a lot of challenges, like not knowing how to progress their careers, thinking they are not good enough, and feeling lost. It is a good idea for them to get support from a manager or mentor to show them the ropes, which will spare them a lot of pain and suffering in silence.
- With more responsibility, you may begin to feel less confident and that you do not know what you are doing. This can lead to you overworking so that you can be half a step in front of everyone else and hide these feelings from your team. This, in turn, will start to take a toll on your professional and personal life. You will start to suffer from imposter syndrome, which makes you feel like you are failing at work and home, and turns into a vicious cycle that you get stuck in. If you are experiencing this now, remember that you are not alone, and other people are experiencing this as well.
- Once you share the way that you are feeling with your manager or mentor, you will get a sense of freedom because you were bottling everything up for so long. Your manager or mentor can help you to get a perspective on what is going on around you and give you advice on what you can do to prepare yourself better to carry on. If your manager or mentor cannot help you, start looking for someone or a group of people who will be able to help you. Do not leave everything as it is.
- What you need to do to take back control of your career and life:
- The first thing is to acknowledge the fact that you are in control of your career and life, and you have a choice in everything that you do.
- Women need to stop waiting for people to notice their good work. In the workplace, if you do not acknowledge your good work, it is almost like it did not happen. You must find a way to promote the good work that you are doing.
- Things you need to do to get promoted:
- Take control of your career by knowing what you want and what you are aiming for.
- Create a plan to get what you are aiming for.
- What women in STEM need to do before they start creating the barriers in their lives:
- Before you can start creating barriers in your life, first find what is important in your life, and how you can prioritize those things. By doing this, you can establish barriers that can help you to focus on those priorities.
- Knowing what your values are is especially important. When making big decisions in your life, if the choice you are going for does not honor at least one of your top three values, then you know that the choice will not make you happy.
- Figure out what your strengths are and honor them to ensure that you are going to have a good life.
- Advice for men who want to support women in the workplace:
- Creating genuine working relationships with women is important for women to feel included.
- Amplifying a woman’s voice in meetings will help them to not be talked over by men. A man’s deeper voice can easily overshadow a woman’s voice because of the difference in their voice tones.
More in This Episode…
In the Take Action Today segment of the show, Tiffany Dawson talks about the one key action that anyone can take to seize opportunities and move through the many challenges that we face in our careers.
About Tiffany Dawson
Having worked at global engineering consultancies across Australia and the U.K., she witnessed and experienced the many challenges women still face in male-dominated industries. After overcoming her battles with impostor syndrome and poor work-life balance, she was compelled to teach other women to do the same. You can often find Tiffany speaking at events about gender equality in STEM and sharing career advice on her podcast, How to Be a STEMinist.
“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” ~ Mae Jemison, first African American woman astronaut in space
Books Mentioned in This Episode:
Resources and Links Mentioned in This Session Include:
How can women in STEM take back control of their careers and lives?
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on Career Progression as a Women in STEM.
Please leave your comments, feedback, or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Jeff Perry, MBA
Host of The Engineering Career Coach Podcast
Founder of More Than Engineering