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4 Tips for Women Navigating STEM Careers

Posted on: February 16, 2022

1. Be the Driver of Your Career

From a young age, girls are taught to follow the rules and obey directives. In a patriarchal society, this can often be reinforced through your school years into further studies. By the time you start your career in STEM, it can be easy to still follow this type of conditioned behavior. However, it’s essential to remember the career you are building belongs to YOU and YOU are in the Driver’s seat. You must take ownership and choose a path for yourself that you see fit. The decision you make should be based on fulfilling your passions and not on pressure from others.


2. Find the Work/Life Balance

Building your career is important but outside of work you have a life that can consist of family, community and other societal obligations that need your time and attention. At times, you may feel you are split into all directions and in those moments, here are some things to remember:

• Focus on your productivity at work: Do you really need to take work home or can you improve the speed at which you work, spending less time on trivial issues?

Multitasking is a skill that can be developed and improved, and as a female it’s built into your DNA.

When you get home, “BE” home. Stop thinking about work when you are at home, work is not thinking about you.

Spending time with friends and family is essential to give perspective, laughter, and relaxation.


3. Seek Out Training and Mentorship

STEM careers typically swing between not having enough time to train (or mentor/coach) as there is too much work, or not having enough money to train due to a lack of work. This can include technical and managerial training. There are several ways of developing your own skills or the skills of those on your team, including:

• Public speaking

• Networking

• Voluntary associations

• Management courses

• Research

• Bringing new ideas, innovation

• Being brave enough to be different

4. Welcome Change

Often in tough times, we take whatever job we can get. Or, if it’s your first job, you are just so grateful to get the job experience. You may move departments to try out other fields, but you are still not finding your passion. Years go by and although you are not happy, you stay because you have financial obligations. It takes a brave soul to admit the unhappiness, but an even braver soul to make a change. Welcome new opportunities as they come.

The Development of Women and Young Professionals in STEM Careers encourages young professionals and women in STEM careers to know that they are not alone and provides insight into their ability to deal with the stress of developing into a successful professional.