Women Stop Whining and Take Charge of Your Life

I have been reading a lot of columns and following quite a few groups from various channels about feminism. The perception generated is that, it is an uneven playing field for women the world over. Recently, I attended a talk on ‘Women in Solar’ which was being organized by a Non-Profit Organisation I work with. The event was attended by senior members of the solar industry with Leadership Roles.  In course of the interaction, the panellists spoke about how things were tough for them in the energy industry and how tough it was to work in a male dominated industry. After the talk finished, there was the usual Q&A session. I decided to ask them what they would do in my situation; of having relocated to an unknown land with no job leads and having to start afresh. The panellists were completely silent for a while, perhaps wondering what made this girl leave behind assured job opportunities and relocate to a place which imposed severe limitations. Then one of the panellists, who had experienced a similar predicament to mine, took on my question. Her reply reaffirmed what I already knew.  I never felt as positive as I felt that day. I got many women to come out of their comfort zones and many connected with me. Some asked me to send my resumes to them, which I promptly did after returning from the event. However, only a couple of the ladies reciprocated the contact. This really got me thinking! These mentoring and women empowerment advocacy groups have their own place and must be used only for additional advice. There is no substitute for taking charge of your own life. No one will come out and give you the push. The push has to come from within and it is up to you to fulfil your dreams and work towards it.

But being the person I am, a challenge never scared me. I then realized I didn’t need these women to affirm my faith in myself. Yes, it is tough being accepted in any new place and stand on your own feet. Yes, it is tough to break the barrier to enter a male dominated work force. Yes, it is tough to let go of your comfort zones and venture into unknown territories. But once you are convinced that you gave it your best shot, overcame all your fears and went out of your comfort zones, the satisfaction and joy is immense. Breaking stereotypes is tough, but we need to do it for ourselves. In most cases we have to act as the change agents despite resistance from the society. If not, then we should have no reason to blame any outside force for our misery. Easier said than done!!

I am once again enjoying myself, embracing a new course of life completely unknown to me. The leap into the unknown is definitely exciting, despite the apprehensions it brings with it. I have decided to add some more skill sets to my already acquired knowledge and am looking forward to move in a new direction. Will that stop me from trying and fighting to get what I want? The answer is ‘No’. I will keep trying and get what I deserve. It is my belief that no one, but you, can empower yourself. Loved ones can support you, but the journey of empowerment is one’s own journey.

 

 

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Engineer, Married, Relocated….Now What???

As we grow globally and the world becomes more of a well connected village for all of us. It is inevitable that we may find us in an unknown strange country in a few years time. This can be a very unsettling period for all of us, as we adjust to our new  surroundings and take a while for everything to sink in. As engineers we are constantly made to think of solutions for any problem that we might encounter. We keep thinking of innovative solutions to all problems, but our minds hit a roadblock when we are shifted to a new place. No doubt, it’s a difficult challenge adjusting to a new place and new people, but this blog piece will help you know some innovative solutions to your restless and hyperactive mind.

1. My number one solution to knowing the place is through exploring the surroundings and talking to people around. Though I am new at this and still learning. Perhaps, join a local community or forum to find like minded friends and explore activities through them and do things together. Join meet ups through meetup.com and find like minded women like you or just join a Lean In circle in your area. Finding friends not only eases the boredom of doing things alone, which your spouse has no interest but also helps you keep motivated in pursuing your hobbies and goals.

2. Never stop learning. Even if you are a mother who stays at home or a working professional. Never stop the process of learning. To keep competitive in this diminishing job market, everyone must keep their skill sets updated.That can only be possible by keeping yourself mentally active and never losing your interest to learn more. Join conferences and big associations like IEEE and network. You never know what treasure you uncover from these events. As an electrical engineer I found Electrical Engineering Portal as a great resource guide for my learning needs

3. Learn a new language or a hobby. There are loads of free sites to learn foreign languages. My personal favorite is Duolingo and learning Spanish , French etc can be fun on it. For hobby classes you can always scout online for free online craft workshops and art lessons.

4. How about learning how to code. There are numerous resources in the web for learning to code in MOOCs like Udacity, Coursera, Codeacademy, Alison etc. So if you wanted to learn how to code, this would be a good time to start.

These are just things that can keep us occupied and mentally active. If you have more suggestions, please feel free to share them. Thanks and do keep reading my blog. Happy networking and studying everyone.

 

The Journey Of The Lone Woman Engineer

The recent countless write-ups and advertisements to get women in the STEM field got me thinking is it just me or are women finally being listened to seriously. As a female engineer from the Indian subcontinent I have often faced the statement ‘It’s not a thing women can do ‘. Coming from a progressive educated family in India, I not only studied to become an Electrical Engineer but also graduated with a postgraduate degree from a leading university. However, even though I am an Electrical Engineer with technical and soft skills possibly better than many of my opposite sex colleagues, I have frequently faced the gender bias when it comes to employment in technical roles. Mine is one of the many stories you will hear about women in the STEM field, who have faced the gender bias in this male dominated work force. This gender bias is greater in the Energy sector, as I have seen this first hand in my case.

If being posed with harder challenges and having to prove your mettle every day is not hard enough for a woman. Wait till you get married and start a family. Most of married women have to leave their jobs for either relocation with their husbands, having a baby or simply because of family pressures. These are only few of the reasons being stated here. We say that we look for equal pay and being seeing as equals, but is that really possible in this male dominated world? This is a question only we women can answer. Thanks to this fiercely competitive world, helping others is seen as a nearly impossible thing to do.

Most of us say that we fight for women empowerment and equal rights, but when was the last time we helped one another. When was it the last time we took time to let go of an opportunity to help a fellow female friend who needed it more than us. If we had taken the time and  opportunity to guide a female engineer towards fulfilling her ambitions and giving her advice when she asked for some, perhaps today we wouldn’t be in this state. I still remember asking for advice and mentoring from numerous well established professional women, who were all my LinkedIn connections and few responded. So where do all these campaigns for getting women in STEM fields get us. It can be seen clearly that there are a handful of women who do actually wish to help and do care about women empowered. The rest of us are silent spectators to a world which is increasingly becoming an obstacle course for ‘The Survival of the Fittest’. We wouldn’t need so many campaigns to attract women in the STEM workforce, if we would have understood our self-worth and supported each other. It is about time that we changed our outlooks and gave ourselves more credit for who we are.

 

The breaking of the stereotype of a male dominated STEM workforce can only be brought by the society itself. It is for us to remember that all the corporates who we deal with during our job hunts and who are sitting as board members are also a part of the society. Unless we change our outlooks we can be sure that nothing around us will change. The outlook has to change from how our spouses think to our parents to our bosses. Everyone has to understand that a woman can be productive in roles that men are doing and women should not be restricted to only child bearing and being a home maker. In addition to mentoring high school students and attracting women to the STEM workforce mentoring at entry level for women who are already in the field and helping them stay in the field must be encouraged. These are just few of the things that in my opinion need to be done. The change will happen gradually, but the change must start with you and me.The recent countless write-ups and advertisements to get women in the STEM field got me thinking is it just me or are women finally being listened to seriously. As a female engineer from the Indian subcontinent I have often faced the statement ‘It’s not a thing women can do ‘. Coming from a progressive educated family in India, I not only studied to become an Electrical Engineer but also graduated with a postgraduate degree from a leading university. However, even though I am an Electrical Engineer with technical and soft skills possibly better than many of my opposite sex colleagues, I have frequently faced the gender bias when it comes to employment in technical roles. Mine is one of the many stories you will hear about women in the STEM field, who have faced the gender bias in this male dominated work force. This gender bias is greater in the Energy sector, as I have seen this first hand in my case.

If being posed with harder challenges and having to prove your mettle every day is not hard enough for a woman. Wait till you get married and start a family. Most of married women have to leave their jobs for either relocation with their husbands, having a baby or simply because of family pressures. These are only few of the reasons being stated here. We say that we look for equal pay and being seeing as equals, but is that really possible in this male dominated world? This is a question only we women can answer. Thanks to this fiercely competitive world, helping others is seen as a nearly impossible thing to do.

Most of us say that we fight for women empowerment and equal rights, but when was the last time we helped one another. When was it the last time we took time to let go of an opportunity to help a fellow female friend who needed it more than us. If we had taken the time and  opportunity to guide a female engineer towards fulfilling her ambitions and giving her advice when she asked for some, perhaps today we wouldn’t be in this state. I still remember asking for advice and mentoring from numerous well established professional women, who were all my LinkedIn connections and few responded. So where do all these campaigns for getting women in STEM fields get us. It can be seen clearly that there are a handful of women who do actually wish to help and do care about women empowered. The rest of us are silent spectators to a world which is increasingly becoming an obstacle course for ‘The Survival of the Fittest’. We wouldn’t need so many campaigns to attract women in the STEM workforce, if we would have understood our self-worth and supported each other. It is about time that we changed our outlooks and gave ourselves more credit for who we are.

The breaking of the stereotype of a male dominated STEM workforce can only be brought by the society itself. It is for us to remember that all the corporates who we deal with during our job hunts and who are sitting as board members are also a part of the society. Unless we change our outlooks we can be sure that nothing around us will change. The outlook has to change from how our spouses think to our parents to our bosses. Everyone has to understand that a woman can be productive in roles that men are doing and women should not be restricted to only child bearing and being a home maker. In addition to mentoring high school students and attracting women to the STEM workforce mentoring at entry level for women who are already in the field and helping them stay in the field must be encouraged. These are just few of the things that in my opinion need to be done. The change will happen gradually, but the change must start with you and me.

How To Feel Satisfied & Happy In Life

We all have a lot of anxieties and pressures in our life, thanks to the never ending list of our demands and expectations to improve our standard of living and our aspirations to earn more. But do we ever take a moment to reflect on what we have achieved and what we have? The answer is ‘No’ . The more we get, the more aspirational we get. Our wants keep increasing and we will never feel happy. So how do we find ourselves satisfied and happy?

There are simple 5 things you could try and do, when you feel low and not satisfied with how life has turned out for you.

 

1. Volunteer your time: There is no better mood enhancer than volunteering your time for a good cause. I have personally seen that volunteering not only made me feel good about myself, but networking with less fortunate people made me see how fortunate I am. Doing something worthwhile for the community is way better than moping around about how unworthy your life is.

 

2. Make a list of your achievements: One thing I have seen from my personal experience is that we humans are always hard on us and the countless articles on ‘ How to be successful’, adds to making us work harder on us. Though I agree these articles are helpful and aiming higher is good for everyone, but it is also important to know your own self worth. Take time to make a list of your achievements, this will not only enable you to realize what you have accomplished, but also inspire you to do more. Reading and being inspired by other successes is good, but it is important to remember that everyone has their own version of lives. No person has a similar life path as another. Hence, it is necessary to make your own path.

 

3. Listing things you want to do: I have observed that when you have so much clutter in your head, the easiest way to deviate from your goals and ambitions is by procrastinating and doing nothing. Hence, make a list of all your long term as well as your short term goals. Make sure to follow up on each goal and see your progress. By doing this, you not only further your goals, but also accomplish adding value to your life.

 

4. Never compare your lives with others: This is a thing that most of us do and the main thing that keeps us unhappy. We must always remember, everyone who has a shred of self respect in them ,always show the positive and fun times they are having. Everyone has a set of good and bad times in their lives. Never mope on someone else’s good fortune. If you are facing some bad times, be sure that good times are not far away.

 

5. Don’t take things for granted: I have not been my self motivated self lately and have been  having my blues lately. However, what I discovered when I started counselling as an listener and active counselor on an online portal called ‘7 Cups of Tea‘ was amazing. I saw that the things I take for granted are not available to so many people. The people who we take for granted and who create so much value in our life are actually being neglected and not being appreciated , due to our never ending list of demands. There are so many out there who long for what we already have.

 

I hope this post motivates you to feel positive and listen to your heart. We all have our hangups and inadequacies, learning from what your mind, heart and soul tells you, is what will keep you happy eventually. As someone once quoted ” The key to your happiness is in your own hands“.  

How I Finally Started Blogging

After pushing myself a lot, I have finally started writing my own Blog. The idea of expressing my ideas and sharing it with the world, seems too good to be true. Now that I have finally got the time to write and also get my creative juices flowing, I am raring to share my world with my readers.

As an engineer who has recently gotten married and relocated to the US.  Searching for work in a foreign land can be daunting and stressful. So it was time I started something that I enjoy the most and yes that’s how I came across blogging. After a lot of venting of frustrations and fretting, I decided it was time I started writing and doing some freelancing work from home. BUT WAIT, here comes the part which I wasn’t prepared for. Not only is finding work online hard for a starter who has just started learning the ropes in this new world of freelancing and wants things fast, but is extremely frustrating! Once you go through these phases of frustrations and rejections of looking for paid writing assignments and see that you have to wait patiently, as everyone says online, you realize that every bit of what they say is true. So now that this realization has dawned on me, I have got myself to accept this and started writing my first blog.

For the lot who are still crying and fretting about “Man this is tough” OR ” Its hard to find something you like to do” etc etc. Join the band wagon, because there are thousands of us out there moping about how our lives are not how it should have been – PERFECT!! This horribly helpless feeling can go on and destroy your self worth OR you could simply stop it by doing something about it and taking charge of your life. I have decided to not give up and keep going forward and take charge of my life. I am not only learning that only I am the controller of my destiny and no matter what anyone says or does, my happiness is only in my hands. Of course we love our cozy lives, but does that really help us in the long run? Isn’t it essential for all of us to break out of our comfort zones and try something new. I wouldn’t trade anything in this world for what I have today, i.e a loving husband and a loving family. Think about the things that keeps you sane and grounded when you sleep tonight and if time permits also be grateful for what you already have

I hope my blog proves to be a good read for everyone who are searching for answers and feel stuck in a rut.

My Views On Life, Energy and Sustainability