Over the last week or two the WACM (Women’s Association of Computing Machinery) has invited some amazing ladies from the tech field to give talks about their experiences as a woman in technology and what they have learned. One was Arry Chu, whom’s career path has been all over the place with her position as a consultant (also has her own startup now) and the other was Christina Chen who is a project manager who has been at Microsoft for twenty-so years.
Both of these women gave talks in different styles. Arry’s was more of a casual “here is my life story and some things I learned”. After her talk, we all went to Wild Orchard (a thai restaurant) for dinner (how cool was it for her to have dinner with us!) and she mentioned her tips for success. Not tips as in “this is what you say to a client” or “how to get a raise” tips. They were more of a philosophy to drive your career in a way that gave you happiness. It was focused on passion and caring for others.
Caring about people is definitely something I want to create in my own team or corporate culture someday. And Christina Chen also noted on this. This concept of putting others first and creating a culture on thoughtfulness. She crafted this concept by selecting the people on her team based on how thoughtful they are. And doing so has increased productivity since thoughtful people try to help other people with their problems and etc. Now, that she is one of the senior executives at Microsoft and at this shift in Microsoft as a company in the products that they begin to produce, she is able to influence the type of culture the company has. She is nudging the mindset from “look at this cool piece of tech” to “look at this piece of tech that will address human needs and help people and make lives better”. And, I think that’s pretty cool. I hope that wherever I go a culture of caring for others in the world and within the workplace will exist.
I was also relieved when Arry mentioned how difficult it was for her to settle on a major and failing chemistry (because I failed physics last semester (also one of the most freeing things to have ever happened to me)). That sounds terrible, I know. I have been worried about being on the right path ever since I learned that careers, majors, and colleges were a thing. And when she mentioned going from job to job and doing all these things before she found something right. It’s scary when you are in school and you think about your job, you don’t see a lot of job mobility. You focus so much on finding the right path and making the right decisions the first time around. But Arry’s career path shows that you will always end up where you should be. And, that you shouldn’t be afraid of a healthy dose of failing, learning, and risk.
If I had not failed physics, since I still love the darn subject, I would have kept pushing myself through the major and cry all the time. I would be miserable since the curriculum and pushing myself to perform better on the tests was wiping myself out. But, I would not have given up because I am stubborn. And, though I did cry during the final, when I realized I had failed the class I never felt so light. It was like this thing just lifted off my shoulder. Life; it goes on. Failing physics wasn’t the end of the world. And, taking chances with my decisions won’t set me on the “wrong” path either. I get it now.