Category: Life

Did You Catch Shonda Rhimes’ Career Lesson For Women?

Shonda Rhimes – Image from Billboard.com

Yes, I know that I’m a tad bit late in posting this, but a few weeks ago screenwriter Shonda Rhimes killed off her central and much-loved character, Dr. Derek Shepherd, on her hit TV show Grey’s Anatomy.

There was, as expected, lots of shock around this decision — and fans are still trying to wrap their heads around the loss of McDreamy weeks later.

But what struck me most about the Grey’s Anatomy season finale wasn’t the death of Derek. It was that, had one woman stood up to her boss, Derek Shepherd would still be alive.

As we watch Derek mentally narrate the last 20 minutes of his life while unable to speak, we’re introduced to a female ER doctor who makes the suggestion to her male superior that they perform a CT scan. The doctor immediately shoots her down. Derek knows that she’s right, but can’t speak up to let them know.

Then, Derek acknowledges that her recommendation is being dismissed because she’s a woman.

In his mind, Derek keeps urging the female doctor to stand her ground. The look on her face suggests that she really does want to, but her lack of confidence and self-security in her role makes her hold her tongue.

Finally, a skilled male neurosurgeon comes into the room and asks why didn’t they do what the female doctor had suggested. At this point, it’s too late.

It may not have been a life or death situation, but as a working woman, how many times have you just gone with the flow because your male coworker’s voice had a bit more authority? How many times have you made a suggestion that was overlooked, and didn’t speak up because you didn’t want to ruffle any feathers?

Every time we step away from our values, our self-confidence takes a hit. When we fail to speak up, we’re hurting ourselves. We’re killing our careers.

My grandmother used to tell me, “When you know what you know, you know. Nothing else matters.”

Stand up for yourself. If your boss doesn’t value your voice, it’s time to find a new employer. You worked hard for your knowledge. You have a voice and it matters.

Don’t be a killer. Don’t bring death to your career because you’re afraid to speak up — especially when you know that you’re right.

If your fear of speaking up is keeping you from enjoying a Passion-Filled Career, join me on the Path To A Passion-Filled Career LIVE Online Career Training.  We’ll spend time breaking through your personal barriers to get you to the career YOU deserve.

The first class is launching Monday, June 01 at 9 PM EST.

Falling In Love Again With A Job You’re Beginning To Hate

loveyourjob-ericambaityRemember how you felt when you first started your job? You were eager to be a team player. You had an overwhelming desire to do well, and the drive to exceed expectations from all.

But now, you find yourself hitting the snooze button a little more frequently. You come into work later than usual. It’s become a chore to get even the simplest tasks done.

If this sounds familiar, you’ve probably got a case of the “tired of my job” blues — and it happens to the best of us. Just like any relationship, the one you have with your job comes with its highs and lows.

If the honeymoon phase has worn off, and you find yourself struggling to run off of fumes, here are six actions you can take to reignite that spark, and fall in love with your job all over again!

1) Reminisce about the early times

Think about what sparked your interest in your job at the beginning. There was something that made you love your job. Was it the opportunity to learn new technology? The ability to interact with adults after working at home for years?

Whatever the reason, take time to reflect on it and identify where and why the love began to fade.

You may discover that you’ve been consumed by other things, causing you to be distracted from the tasks which helped you enjoy your job initially.

When you’re clear on what sparked the love of your job in the beginning, you’ll be able to map out what caused the love to fade, and your path to making it right again will be much clearer.

2) Bring fun back into the office

Is your office life boring? If I worked at an office where everyone has their faces buried in their work, never once looking up to acknowledge one another, and the only sounds are keyboards being pecked at, I would hate going to my job too!

Brainstorm ways to bring life back to your office. It could be as simple as planning a group lunch every Friday, or having a weekly wind down, where everyone in the office takes 30 minutes to relax and mingle.

Fun human interaction can do wonders for work productivity, and you’d be amazed at how much better you’ll feel after taking the time to get to know your co-workers on a less formal level.

3) Shadow someone you admire at work

You’re not the only employee in your organization. When the love is fading, it may be time to tango with a new role.

See what the other departments are doing within your office, and work with HR and your boss to shadow another team member for a day. You may find that your work is easy peasy compared to others within your organization. Or, you may luck out and find a new passion!

4) Talk to your boss

Any job should have an open line of communication to talk with management about the issues that are pressing you.

Let your boss know that you’re seeking additional projects that will challenge you beyond where you are now. If your boss is a good team builder, they should understand your issue and be willing to accommodate you.

Who knows, there could even be some work in the pipeline that you could be tagged to lead!

5) Take a few days off

When was the last time you took a vacation? I’ve worked with people who have lost weeks and weeks of vacation time because they never actually scheduled any time off!

Vacation is offered for a reason: because your employer doesn’t want you to burn out!

Removing yourself from the office and disconnecting for a few days might be just what you need to help rekindle the love between you and your job. Take a break from the meetings, the sleepless nights of coding and presentation preparations.

It’s time to make some time for you! As they say, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

6) Learn a new skill outside of work to bring back to the office

Sometimes you have to step outside of your current role to find and reignite your passion. I’m an advocate for employees learning as much as they can — at their company’s expense, of course. Don’t let your training budget money go to waste!

Do some research on the latest technology or software for your industry, and see how it can be introduced into your current role. Take a class and teach your teammates what you learned.

The thrill of learning something new may give you the extra push that you need!

If you feel the love is fading, and are unclear as to where to start to get your passion back on track, schedule a complimentary career strategy session with me. We’ll work together to put the love back into your job!

 

How You Can Stop Discrediting Your Accomplishments

Accomplished_WomanI recently spoke with a woman who has two engineering degrees from a well recognized institution, is currently working on her MBA and has a solid software engineering background. She’s desiring to transition into a product manager role, but is hesitant because of her lack of experience, and concerned about her competition.

In reviewing her resume and hearing her speak about the key positions she’s held at two leading Fortune 500 companies (not to mention — she’s building a mobile app in her spare time), I didn’t expect her to be so unsure about her future career goals. She completely disregarded her achievements by focusing on the “half empty glass,” and as result, she failed to see the leverage she had in moving her career forward.

I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t relate. I too used to downplay everything. I would talk myself out of something before the thought or idea even materialized. I remember being a new member on a development team that was going up for an internal award. Although I busted my ass from day one and contributed as if I had been a long-term member, it was difficult for me to recognize the importance of the role I played.

Why do women struggle with recognizing their achievements and contributions? Men are so comfortable with showboating what they’ve done. They will gloat on for days with no guilt.

Thanks to my mentor, who told me to stop “brushing” off my skills, I was able to accept the great feedback I received from the team.

If this sounds all too familiar, here are five things you can do to become comfortable enough with your accomplishments to discuss them openly and not feel guilty about it.

1. Write down what you’re proud of and reflect on it until you have it memorized

Often times you don’t know all that you’ve accomplished until it’s shown to you. With 50 million other things going on in your life, its hard to remember all the things that you’ve achieved.

You delivered a project on time. You committed to your gym schedule for three months. You taught your little one to tie their shoes. You finally finished that DIY project that’s been lingering. No matter how big or small, be proud of what you accomplished and begin to take note.

Take 30 minutes to write down all of your accomplishments, no matter how small they are. Really appreciate all that you’ve done. Look at the past 3, 6, 12 and 18 months. Don’t neglect the grand scale of things.

Once written, take a picture and keep it on your phone, and look at that picture frequently. Absorb it. Memorize it. Feel happy in knowing that it was you who did all of it.

2. Celebrate every accomplishment (no matter how small)

It’s funny how, as women, we’re quick to celebrate everyone else’s achievements but our own. Make it a habit to do something special for yourself when you do something that you’re proud of.

Yes, you will probably feel guilty at first. This is normal. Things that we’re not used to doing cause us to feel uncomfortable in the beginning. But as the saying goes, “practice makes better.” The more you begin to celebrate your accomplishments, even the smallest one (e.g. completing one thing on your to-do list), the better you’ll feel about your achievements.

3. Counteract every negative thought with a positive one

Pay attention to what takes place between your ears. It’s amazing how we shut ourselves down with negative thinking. Did you know that how we view ourselves manifests itself in our day-to-day lives? I coach so many women who rule themselves out before they even begin, just through their thoughts alone.

Take time to hear what you’re saying to yourself.  You’ll be amazed at how critical you are.

You may have overlooked a misspelled word, or forgot to send a signed paper to school with your kids. So what? The world can get over it.

When these self-defeating thoughts pop up into your head, be prepared to counteract them with a positive thought. It will be annoying at first. But as you become more skilled at it, you’ll immediately know what to do when that nagging voice begins to speak.

4. Focus less on what you’ve done wrong and more on what you’ve done right

It’s so easy to pick apart why we failed at something. We often think, “if only I could’ve…”, not focusing on all the things that we got right.

Don’t be so quick to look at the negative. There’s a positive in everything no matter how bad it may seem.  Start giving yourself credit for what you’ve done right. If you busted your ass to meet an aggressive deadline and you missed it, don’t hone in on missing it. What about the other 99% you completely nailed?

Remember to congratulate yourself on all that you did right. Imagine how much happier life would be if you saw the good in everything, including yourself!

5. Accept compliments from others

The next time someone says good job, say “Thank you.” Acknowledge and appreciate the compliment. Add it to your bank of accomplishments. Don’t be so quick to share your spotlight with someone else or negate the role you had.

You busted your butt to get it done. Now sit back and bask in your personal glory.

By brushing off compliments, you’re automatically discrediting yourself and losing sight of your personal value. We’re so busy pampering others — let someone tell you how good you are for a change.

I challenge you to take the next 21 days to write out your accomplishments, pay attention to your thoughts and focus on all the good you do. I can guarantee you’ll be surprised to see the woman you find!

Ladies Listen, The Tech Industry Ain’t For the Faint At Heart

ericambaity.comLadies I’m going to give it to you straight. The tech industry is rough. And it takes a strong, driven and dedicated woman to navigate its wrath.

It ain’t for the weak at heart nor the emotionally unstable.

Although every woman’s experience in technology is unique, you have to be prepared to deal with the melodrama you will face.

By no means am I saying just deal with it.  What I’m saying is position yourself properly, recognize the game and study the rules of the playbook.

As a woman in tech or a woman considering entering the field, here are several characteristics that you must shake to quickly earn respect from your peers.

Constantly seeking validation

The tech world has no time for uncertain people.  If a decision needs to be made, make it and deal with the consequences, if any, later. People want answers and their issues resolved quickly.  They don’t want to always hear “let me run it by someone”.

Make the decision.  Be confident about it.  Be ready to explain if necessary and move on.

More concerned of what people think of you than what you think of yourself

If a few team members are talking about you, GOOD!!! People are going to talk.  Let them.  The product of your work and your work ethic will speak for itself and negate the words of others.

Of course we want it all to be positive.  But if you worry about what everyone is saying or how they feel about you, you could be missing out on rewarding opportunities.

You Like A Pity Party

So what you broke the build. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last. No one has time to sit and discuss the ins and outs, whys and hows as to what happened.  You know what went wrong.  Communicate it. Fix it. Now on to the next.  That’s the nature of the profession.

No one is going to stroke your ego to make you feel good about yourself when something is wrong.

You Wear Your Feelings On Your Shoulders

One thing we can all agree on is this is a male dominated field. And most men are not the most sensitive or emotional creatures.

Don’t expect your boss to give you empathy or to give you that emotional stroke you need when you’re down.  That’s what you have a spouse, friends and/or a coach for.

Pay attention to what’s being said and how it’s being stated. Filter out the stuff that’s not to be taken personally.

Constantly Comparing Yourself To Others

Your level of expertise will differ greatly from your peers.   Comparing yourself to someone else will lead you down a path of constant self-doubt and unfulfillment.

In Tech, as in other industries, people come to the table with varying skills and backgrounds.  Worry about where you are.  If you don’t like it, then you know what to do, change it.  Compare and measure yourself against yourself and no one else.

Afraid to Speak Up

Speaking up is very difficult to do if you’re not one to put yourself out there. But in this industry it is vital. Those who sit back quietly miss out.  Sitting in grueling design sessions with people who are passionate about their work can make you want to put your head in a hole when it comes to sharing your thoughts.

Sometimes you will have to forcefully interject.  Just get in. Say what you have to say.  Standing back and waiting to be heard will get you no where but leave you with frustration every time.

One thing I know for certain is you’ve got to have tough skin.  But remember to always demand respect, uphold your dignity and be clear on your values in all situations.

As stated by Oscar Wilde “Success is a science. If you have the conditions, you get the result.”

If this speaks to you and you need help getting over a few of these hurdles, schedule a complimentary coaching session with me to get you on the right track.

Women Can Have and ‘DO’ It All

Super_WomanWhen I was younger I used to wonder how do women find the time to do it all. Balancing life and work. Is this something you learn? Or does it come naturally?

I’m a developer and career coach by day and consultant by night.

I’m a mother to a 6 and 9 year old. Both have their own personalities and needs and they require a lot of time.

I’m a wife. In addition to taking care of my babies, I have to care for my big baby too. I swear his needs exceeds those of our little ones at times.

There are days I look at my calendar filled with gymnastics, soccer, karate, networking events, personal time, Girl Scouts, PTA and wonder how in the hell am I going to make this work.

Then like a plane on autopilot it just happens. It all miraculously comes together.

Now don’t get me wrong, with my ADD some stuff gets lost in translation but I manage. I amaze myself at all I can do without skipping a beat. And to be proud of it at the end of the day is the icing on the cake.

It’s as if being still is a violation to my mind.

If I listen to what the media tells me, I would surmise to believe I can’t be all of these things and be successful. I would have to let one area go lacking in order to get where I want to be in the industry.

Thd media outlets do a good job of telling what I can’t do and how I can’t do it but not a good job at answering the question ‘Why Can’t I’?

Why should I sacrifice some things in order for other things to thrive? I don’t have to. Why? Because I’m a woman. I can have and do it all.

You see as I evolved into being ‘this’ woman I realized that we were designed to be and do all things in one. Looking at the women around me showed me this.

I realized women came into this world as doctors, psychologists, counselors, ministers, teachers, caregivers, excellent orchestrators, artists and grand thinkers. We do this all in our day to day lives. We possess many skills and talents. Some we have yet to uncover.
Does this sound like you? You’re on an after hours conference call, cooking dinner, doctoring on a kid’s ‘boo-boo’ and checking homework all at the same time, aware of every event that is happening.

We as women naturally have super powers. With minimal thought we can find the good in the most difficult situation.

We have the ability to birth life. Have you ever felt life growing inside of you? Words cannot explain it. And dammit, any being that can do that deserves to be worshipped. And quite honestly, shouldn’t be afraid to have such expectation.

You see, we have a special connection to the universe. One that is unique to each of us. One that gives us the authority to walk with a special “umph” in our step.

You are not the weak woman the media portrays you to be. Especially my women in tech. You don’t have to accept that you’re being judged by your gender. You don’t have to accept that you will be paid less than your male counterpart. You don’t have to accept that its okay for a company to tell you they will pay for you to delay starting a family by freezing your eggs.

Women are the best. We’re not just good. We’re damn good at EVERYTHING we do. They downplay us because they fear our ability. There’s nothing more superior than a woman that knows and executes her value and worth. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

Start viewing yourself with the abilities you possess. Not just as a person, but as a woman. Think back to all the women in your life who survived when the odds were against them. Think about how you have made things in your life and in your families life just happen. You have a natural gift.

Now go put on your heels, your favorite lipstick and walk with a pep in your step. Why? Because you are woman. You are creator. You are a conqueror. You are a warrior. You can have it all.

Send me an email to schedule a complimentary coaching session where we will discuss the steps it will take to take your career to the next level.