In a heartfelt bid to guide her cousin Mia through the challenging world of tech, the Original Poster (OP) imparts wisdom gleaned from personal experiences. But as her well-intentioned advice, spanning networking to navigating the workplace, reaches other family ears, it sparks an unforeseen conflict. Jeff, Mia’s protective father, confronts OP, setting the stage for an intense family clash.
A Family Gathering
At a recent family gathering, OP encountered her cousin Becky and her husband, Jeff. Becky and Jeff have a college-aged daughter, Mia, studying computer science. Eager for guidance, they requested OP to offer Mia some career advice.
Mia’s Distracted Year
Despite her academic pursuits, Mia seemed heavily involved in her sorority this year. This drew concerns from her parents who believed she might be straying from her studies. They hoped OP, being a software engineer, would guide Mia back to her academic focus.
The Power of Networking
OP emphasizes the importance of networking when seeking job opportunities. Drawing from personal experience, OP believes that extracurricular activities and connections often help more than technical skills. Mia’s involvement in a STEM sorority is a potential goldmine for networking.
The Interview Game
For Mia, interviews aren’t just about showcasing skills. They’re also about establishing a personal connection with potential employers. Researching interviewers can lead to a better understanding and potentially successful interviews.
OP cautions Mia about navigating workplace channels. Avoiding personal communication, especially with superiors, can prevent potential harassment. Relying on official work channels ensures any inappropriate behavior gets handled by HR.
Protecting Personal Information
In a world where personal information is readily available, OP advises Mia to guard hers. She should provide only a work line on her resumes, and never her home address. Services like Google Voice can help shield her actual number.
Checking Company References
While companies can check an applicant’s references, Mia can also ‘reference check’ potential employers. Reaching out to present or past employees can give her a real insight. This way, she avoids workplaces that might be toxic or discriminatory.
Setting the Pace
Entering a new job, Mia should avoid burning out early. By setting a moderate pace of 50-70% effort, she creates sustainable expectations. Such an approach leaves room for impressing others with occasional increased effort.
To avoid misunderstandings and hold people accountable, OP suggests documenting work-related conversations. Sending follow-up emails after verbal discussions can prove invaluable. This tactic ensures everyone is on the same page.
Climbing the Career Ladder
For growth in any profession, attitude matters. OP advises Mia to avoid being overly assertive while she is low on the food chain. Being supportive and collaborative can earn her allies and open doors to opportunities.
Transparency about Salary
Mia should always discuss salaries with her peers. This transparency ensures she’s compensated fairly and doesn’t get sidelined for being a woman. It can also give her leverage during salary negotiations.
Keeping Profiles Updated
LinkedIn is more than just a social media platform for professionals. OP believes that regularly updating it can present many job opportunities. Mia’s active presence there can attract potential employers.
Just as companies evaluate employees, Mia should periodically evaluate her employer. If they fall short of her expectations, she shouldn’t hesitate to seek opportunities elsewhere. Contrary to some beliefs, switching jobs isn’t frowned upon in tech.
OP’s Passionate Advice
While OP’s advice stemmed from personal experiences, it resonated deeply with Mia. They engaged in a lengthy conversation where Mia sought further insights. However, their discussion soon reached unexpected ears.
A few days after their talk, OP received a surprising and angry text from Jeff. He misunderstood and misrepresented OP’s advice, accusing OP of undermining Mia’s education. Meanwhile, OP firmly believes in the balance of technical and soft skills, insisting that blending both can make Mia stand out in a male-dominated field.
Was The Woman’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posted her story online for feedback and perspective from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “Sounds like the young lady misinterpreted some of your advice, but much of what you said was sound. In many fields, who you know will help you get started much faster than what you know.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “I screenshot that list for myself because it looks like great advice, and I am a working professional of four years! It seems like the parents are of old school thoughts where good grades = good career, which isn’t how the real world functions anymore.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “Of course, a man told you that your advice – as a woman in tech to a woman wanting to be in tech- was wrong. Of course, he said you were out of touch because he, A MAN, disagreed. Of course, your lived experience did not match his history as a Man. Who. Is. Right.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “I would add that it would have been easier to go into it with a gender-neutral name. So often, people automatically assume you know nothing because they read your female name on your email.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.