Thriving not Surviving

Strategies to go from merely surviving to THRIVING for women in STEM

Balance Emotions at Work

When I was the Supply Base Manager there was a period when we were dealing with steel and shipping surcharges. Every month I had to reconcile the surcharges from my key suppliers. It was a pain to do, and I hated it. Nothing like having to report on cost increases when you are evaluated on cost reduction.

I found myself gripping and complaining every time I was running the reports. I would be in a foul mood for several days getting it done. People started avoiding me at the end of the month because I was awful to be around. This task made me miserable, and I shared it with those around me.

One month I was grumpy as I worked on the data and made a comment about how I hate doing this. The guy sitting next to me responded with “I know, you say that every month”. Well, that was a wake-up call. I didn’t realize how much I was gripping about it or the impact it was having until Lee commented.

I was typically upbeat and positive while at work, easy to work with and highly...

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Perfectionism Isn’t Your Friend

I was working a split shift, noon – 8:30 pm, as the factory was ramping up a 2nd shift in one of the departments I supported. One day as I sat down at the beginning of my day to check emails Matt came in and said I was needed in out in department 91. So, I jumped on the scooter with him and he gave me a quick run down of what was happening, but he didn’t have time to give me all the details.

We went in to see the supervisor, Brian, and I started asking some questions to find out what was going on since I was 2 hours late to the party. Brian was furious with everything and jumped down my throat. It turns out my boss spent about 30 minutes asking similar questions to prove Brian didn’t know what he was talking about. Even though I was coming from a totally different place, he heard the same challenges to his experiences. Not true at all, but it was his perception.

I got what I could out of him, did what could be done and then left with Matt. I was in tears as we rode...

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Handling the Haters

midweekmadness Jun 22, 2021

     It’s the nature of humans to encounter those who feel they need to criticize, condemn, or complain about others. These are known as haters and critics, a special breed who seem to thrive on putting others down. Sadly, it seems like for women in STEM these folks are all too common.

     I’d love to say that at some point this will end, but it won’t. The key to staying excited about your career it to learn to handle them without destroying your self-esteem. This is hard, and well worth the effort.

     To get started pay attention to your thoughts and feelings around the situation. If you are finding yourself stressed, angry, and demoralized it’s time to get to work on gaining control again of your responses. Here three steps that will help you get started.

  1. Know your triggers. What is it about this person or this situation that is pushing you to despair? Are their comments feeding your doubts...
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Assert Yourself

As a woman in STEM it’s important to learn to be assertive when appropriate. It will help you build confidence, credibility, and respect for your expertise. It is also an effective tool to deal with bullies and co-worker conflict. Being able to stand up for yourself in a way that is calm, respectful, and positive helps you assert your rights while respecting the rights of others. It creates an equal balance of power.

The benefits of assertiveness have been proven and documented. Mastering assertiveness will benefit you by providing:

  • Greater self-confidence
  • Higher self-esteem / self-respect
  • A more positive self-image
  • An increased likelihood of finding positive solutions
  • More effective communication skills
  • Reduced likelihood of being exploited or coerced
  • An enhanced ability to control stress

The key to becoming assertive is creating a focus on your rights and needs while respecting the rights and needs of others. The concept is that it’s possible for both sides of an...

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