May networking WiSE Up series: the round-up
Last month’s networking event concluded the WiSE Up series of workshops. I’d been really looking forward to catching up with the participants. To bring some structure to the evening, we asked some people to share their experiences of applying what we had learned in the four workshops. What an inspirational set of short presentations they turned out to be !
Keen to kick off, was one of the youngest members of the cohort, who had just graduated and felt that talking to professional women in addition to her student friends made her feel more assured in dealing with people in a professional environment. This was particularly useful during an interview, which resulted in a job offer!
Several women reported that the very first session, on Career Anchors, had forced them to think about their work choices within a bigger picture. For example, it gave one the impetus to apply for an academic research post, rather than continuing in her half research, half service post. It gave another the courage to actually resign from her job, despite not having another job to go to (the fact that she then landed a dream maternity cover within weeks was cause for much celebration!). She credits the second workshop (with its CV surgery annex) with getting her CV into excellent shape…
As preparation for the second session, we had to bring along job adverts that looked of interest. One woman realised the advert she’d brought as an example was in fact really the sort of job she wanted and applied. Now, as this is not a fairy tale or advertisement, she didn’t land the job or even an interview. It did make her keep an eye out for that type of job and when another one came up before Christmas, she was well prepared and… got the job.
One member successfully made the change from bench to medical writer. Another is still looking for her ideal career, but not through want of trying out options: in the meantime she has started a professional course, taken on a new part-time post and looked after her own business (and her young family).
Without wanting to diminish the total fabulousness of everyone who spoke, possibly the most dramatic story was from Fiona Nielsen. Her main career anchor was ‘helping people’. She didn’t feel she was doing enough of that in her job working for a manufacturer of DNA sequencers. Her idea, of facilitating sharing of big genomic data, precipitated into starting a non-profit organisation to do just that: DNAdigest. Good luck Fiona and I for one have already started telling contacts about DNAdigest … spread the word.
People who did not change jobs (and didn’t want to) still got a lot out of the sessions, for example the ones on confidence and on Myers Briggs. We enjoyed the fact that the group met regularly and became a real cohort. We talked about the “Imposter syndrome’ on which we intend to put together a piece for this blog – watch this space.
What came out strongly was that the workshops had been helpful in focusing people on the values that were most important to them, crystallising decisions for some quite dramatically! The cohort provided conversation partners with people primed to think about these issues.