It’s International Women’s Day 2017! One of the people who tweets for @NESQLServer, Olga Demidova, had the idea to blog and tweet to celebrate today by talking about achievements and challenges. I thought I knew what I wanted to talk about until I started writing.
My first draft of this focused on one of worst experiences I’ve had as a DBA. To be fair, I’ve been pretty lucky in my career where the reason that particular story stood out was because it was not the norm. Of course, I have a story or two to add. (“I thought your division just hired someone for IT. Is he on vacation?”, “She’s just overly emotional and I don’t know how to handle it.”) I do have to step back once in a while and wonder if some of the issues that I faced were because I was the female DBA up against a team of (mostly) male programmers or was it just the old-fashioned conflict of being the one DBA against a team of programmers.
But it’s the 3 words included in the image at the top that made me rethink what I wanted to write about.
The one thing I have noticed about the SQL Server community is how supportive it is for women. When someone shared the sexist comment that she received as feedback from a session, men wrote and shared posts about how this does not represent their community and how it’s not welcome. When someone belittled professional development sessions about identifying gender bias and putting together PowerPoint presentations (led by a teenage girl), the community rallied to support those two sessions. The WIT luncheon at PASS Summit had a waiting list because so many women and men wanted to attend.
But even with this, we still have a long way to go. The above examples still occur. I recently saw two tweets in the past couple of days that did some analysis on the numbers of female Microsoft MVPs. (Here’s one of the tweets – it has links and credits for the authors. I’ll update with the other if I find it again.) The numbers were broken out in different ways but the conclusions were still the same. Other members in the community can quote surveys and studies about women in business and in tech but the results still show there’s work to be done.
Our goal should be to make sure that everyone in this community is welcoming, supporting and encouraging of all of its members so we are as diverse and as strong as we can possibly be.
On my best days, I’ve been described as being passionate about my job and what I do. This has been both my strength and weakness.
Part of the reason I started to this blog was to help myself work on areas that I don’t always get a chance to work on. Plus, it helps me get involved in the community. And by getting involved and finding these new challenges for myself, it helps breathe new life and energy into what I’m doing and what my career path can look like down the road. (Or at least this is what I tell myself when I find myself struggling with an idea.) But it’s also about reminding myself that it’s OK that I’m not expert or perfect but it’s just about learning how to be better.
I think this is something we all struggle with. But we should all find what we’re passionate about and find a way to go after it.
Some people have inspiration boards where you put up images that help you figure out what your dreams are. When you look at it, you’re inspired by the images to go and achieve those goals for yourself. I don’t have an inspiration board, but I have an image to share.
My go-to avatar for various instant messenger programs over the years has been a PowerPuff girl. For those who don’t know, the PowerPuff Girls is a cartoon about three kindergarten girls who are made up of sugar and spice and everything nice and Chemical X, which gives them superpowers, and they save the world in time for bed. I usually went with Buttercup, not just because she’s the brunette like me but because she’s the bad-ass of the trio. Let’s face it – I’m not really bad-ass, but we’re talking aspirations here. They recently did a reboot of the cartoon and introduced a website to make yourself a PowerPuff girl. Here’s what I came up with:
So what is it about being a PowerPuff girl that it’s my go-to? You are undeniable and unapologetically female. Plus, you have that Chemical X which gives you a super power. What’s that super power? Maybe it’s just the thing that makes you you. Altogether, it turns you into a bad-ass girl who saves the world in time for bed or whatever you have in your life that makes you strive for that work-life balance. Because in the end, you need that balance to recharge if you’re going to be a bad-ass girl again tomorrow.
This may not work for you but it does for me. But more importantly, you should find whatever you need to inspire you.
Encourage, Energize and Empower are pretty powerful words. Hopefully we all can come behind these words and find a way to embrace them. And I will do my best to help you achieve those goals. Just let me know.
Thanks to Olga for the suggestion to write about this topic. And while I’m on that subject, I want to say “Thank You” to all of those in the community who encourage, energize, and empower me – whether you know you have that influence on me or not.
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