This is a topic I have been thinking a lot lately. Mainly because several people have asked me questions related to it and I had to think to be able to answer.
Yesterday I was speaking in an event in Tampere (Oracle 12c upgrade) organized by Oracle Finland, Miracle Finland and Arrow ECS. After the event the organizers and speakers had lunch. There were 8 people on the table: 4 men and 4 women, all working on IT. I was thinking that in my surrounding the situation is extremely good. But why?
In Finland women are equal to men in many ways. So being on IT in Finland is easier that in some other countries. I am sure it is not this easy in every country.
Then I started to think who have been the most supportive people in my career. Some men definitely (including my own hubby) but also a couple of women (my boss from years back and several colleagues). And I came to the conclusion that support is definitely needed and you cannot get the best out of yourself without that. And without the support from family you can actually do nothing.
Then I started thinking what is stopping me from doing even more and why did I not do these things I am doing now before. Number one stopping me is I. I do not know if that is because I am a woman or because I am a Finn or because I am who I am but that is definitely number one. I do not think I have special skills or knowledge (I know I do but I always “forget” it): I always think everybody knows what I know. My family is always number one whatever I am doing. So if I need to choose between a career and a family I would ALWAYS take family. It sounds strange because I am working like crazy and do not have enough time for the family but if anything happens family always wins. I like people and I always expect the best of them. That of course is sometimes disappointing… I want to help people and sometimes people take advantage of that. But I try not to care about it, I still want to be positive and trust people and humankind. What else prevents me in my career? Other people of course. I only remember a couple of men trying to make me change the career when I was younger but I do not think I actually cared about them: I just made jokes about the things they said. But I do not remember any men trying to make my life on IT harder recent years, all men have been very supportive. I think it must be that they can see I am strong and no use bullingJ Unfortunately I do remember several women doing that, when I was younger and still. And the way women do it is very bad. Why do women do that to each other?! They should be supporting other women. I think the reason is envy. Women envy other women. Why? If somebody has something good it is not away from you! Or another reason is that women do not have enough self-confidence and to hide that they try to make other women look bad. Just that you do not think I am talking about youJ Some of the most supportive people in my life are women (and I am not only talking about my amazing Mother :-)). When women are supportive they are very supportive: like mother lions.
I think what we all can do is to support other people. Listen to them and try to help in every way we can. And every now and then say something nice. People know they have skills and they are special but they forget that easily. Remind them about it. When they trust themselves they can do amazing things. And maybe they do not say NO to something very important just because you have been supportive… And remember to be a friend, a loyal friend. There can never be too many true friends. If you help others one day they will help you.