Mind Mapping the Next Steps

Picture Courtesy: http://www.mindmeister.com

Working from home has not been easy. Don’t misunderstand me – I am extremely grateful to have a job. Over the last 10 weeks, a lot of us have learned to make the best of the situation, connect with people, help those that need and stay positive. The last Women in Technology (WIT) Mentor-Protégé session, my match and I did a mind-mapping session virtually. While we did not draw out a graphic, we definitely put the visual thinking methodology to best use. As always, the common sentiment amongst women technologists is – “We feel stuck!”

The fundamental issues were; I am unable to develop in my current job or I am having a tough time getting promoted or my sponsor always points out to my weaknesses versus gaging my strengths or I am not ‘buddy, buddy with somebody’. The list occasionally appears interminable and the resources meagre. We are always told that we control our career. Women being women, inhibit their immensity seeking for acquiescence. So, we began recognizing what problem(s) we are truly solving for and what question(s) do we need to ask ourselves to take those strides in the right direction.

Are you able to take a risk?

  • If yes, are you willing to look for another job internally or externally? If internal, do you have the confidence and support of your management? Are they willing to put in a good word? Do you have to keep it secret from your current manager?
  • If external to your organization, will you be able to survive without a paycheck or two till you find a new job?
  • What are your ‘negotiables’ and non-negotiables?
  • Can you travel and for how many days a week / month; How close to home should you need to be? Are you able to work over-time as needed?

Re-branding for your new job or role

  • Do you need to update your resume / LinkedIn or need professional help? Do you have to up any of your soft or hard skills? Do you need to acquire any certification to augment your resume? Do you need to buy some sports jackets to be more business casual? “Dress for the job you want and not the job our have?” Do you have to join Toastmaster

Applying for the job and preparing for the interview

  • Apply if you are able to do 30% of the job responsibilities listed? Take a chance. (And we’ve heard this so many times that we as women don’t do justice to ourselves.) Be over-prepared – there is nothing wrong with it. Is it a good fit for you in terms of salary and title? Is the company culture conducive? Ask around…BUT BE YOURSELF!

Despite checking every box, we may not be at the right place – right time (it’s matter of luck). In that case, redefining our success criteria, doing a self-assessment or asking for tangible feedback and spending more time expanding our portfolio are few ways on how I’ve been taught to keep pushing forward and not blaming what is not coming my way. If everything seems to be immaculate but the ‘next level’ is still a conundrum, it just might be thr moment where you say to yourself, “It isn’t enough to think outside the box. Thinking is passive. Get used to acting outside the box.”

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