- Adriana Compagnoni (Stevens Institute of Technology)
- Susan Stafﬁn-Metz (Women in Engineering Proactive Network)
- Elaine Weyuker (AT&T Labs)
The Mid-career crisis
Women in technical fields face challenges that their male counterparts do not. Women are expected to balance home life, children raising, growing their careers and often supporting ailing family members. Women are more likely to experience stress related illness. In attempting to satisfy all of these needs in their lives, they often loose touch with their personal needs and end up having a reduced quality of life.
In this interactive session, panelists and attendees shared their personal accounts of their mid-career crisises, the challenges that they faced, and how they overcame them to find success. Here’s a solution oriented summary of the topics discussed.
You cannot do everything
Society pressures us to juggle many things. Sometimes this is not possible. If you attempt to juggle everything that life throws at you, you may struggle. Decide what you would like to focus on, and be awesome at it. If you’d like to focus on building a successful career, do not be afraid to hire a maid or nanny. Just because you are not doing everything yourself does not mean you’re a failure. You are doing yourself and those around you a service by making sure that you stay healthy.
Mentors are important
Sometimes we are the only woman on our team. Sometimes it’s hard to find people near you for advice. One powerful way to avoid feeling alone is to find a mentor. Seek out and make use of a mentor. Mentors can span your entire career. They provide perspective on your situations that you may not find elsewhere.
If you’ve having trouble finding a mentor, leverage the resources around you such as the Systers program.
Live to work or work to live?
Some people live to work. Other people work to live. Do not assume that you have to follow the path laid out in front of you to be successful. It’s OK to not work late every night. Even if you have other priorities in your life, your contribution is still valuable.