The Rumors Are True
Minding your business, minding the gap, and the great exodus
It's getting real out here in these STEM streets. As we continue to navigate COVID and all the impacts on our professional, social and personal well-being, I think we're learning to extend a little more grace to ourselves. In the last few weeks alone, some pretty confounding stories have surfaced in the media, from a mass exodus across multiple sectors to Olympic-level athletes competing on the world stage telling us to chill and give them a moment to catch their breaths.
And in paying attention, you'll notice how women, POC, and experienced workers (I've seen the terms mature workers and even OLD workers used!) continue to be primarily affected, even more so than before. There were already barriers and challenges before COVID, and now they're even more prominent.
Where there once was a gap, there's a chasm, where there was little to no representation, there's no representation, and the she-cession (I'm still deciding if I like that word or not) doesn't just impact women; it affects families. And if families are impacted, communities are affected. And if communities are affected ...well you get my drift. Bottom line: if women are not set up for success, we all fail. To add to this, there's even a software company out here with a job post saying that "we hire old people."
This is all true.
As much as the prevailing thought of the day wants us to believe otherwise, one in four women have reported that they're considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce entirely. A June article from McKensey & Company reports, " The COVID-19 crisis has especially magnified the disproportionate challenges facing Black and Latina women in the United States. Nearly one in 11 Latina women in the country (8.8 percent) were unemployed as of January 2021; the group had the highest unemployment rate. More than one in 12 Black women (8.5 percent) in the United States were unemployed."
And ageism seems only to get worse. It's always been an issue in the tech, which prides itself on hiring the best and brightest -- this, unfortunately, translates to the young and youngest. Apparently, if you're over 35, you're over the hill -- excuse me while I clutch my forty-something year old pearls. So the founder of the tech company, RelevantDB, who is 60-years old, started his own tech company after facing some harsh realities in the industry.
Well played, sir. Well played.
In a time where most of us embrace our jobs as part of our identity, I think it's important to be able to separate the two. While we invest in our careers and do great work, it does not define us. What we do — and when we can do what we do — is not who we are. Our self worth is not tied to our jobs, so those who would stand in our way really have no power over us. I get a feeling that those folks leaving their jobs have figured this out.
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I’m keeping a keen eye on posts in the affinity groups and social media sites to which I belong. The one question I’ve seen over and over as the new school year starts from women majoring in STEM-related majors or transitioning to STEM roles is: where do I begin? If you know someone that’s interested in IT project management or just getting started in IT, they can reach out to me. I’ll be more than happy to share my thoughts.
Oh and I totally launched the InclusivelyHer podcast (yes I did!). I was super nervous playing around with the platform, getting my rhythm, feeling comfortable hearing my voice projected …now, I’m sold. I’m so excited to share this project with you. Please listen, rate, leave a message or review (depending on the platform). I want to know what you think. If you’d like to be a guest, let me know. We need your story.
I’m getting all the feels from a few social media posts I saw over the past few weeks:
and this one …because, well, the tea is hot:
I’ve been listening to good music and am reading good books over the past few weeks:
Fiction (I'm re-reading):
Thanks so much for supporting InclusivelyHer. As always, thanks for reading. It’s my hope in sharing stories and other bits of information, you’ll be inspired in your own journey.