When society says a field requires inherent genius, women go running in the opposite direction (NPR). This happens in Math, Physics, Music Composition, Philosophy, and Economics.
A woman called in to NPR to tell the story of how she graduated with a Masters in Philosophy. She was a straight A student and she decided, because she loved it so much and performed so well, she'd get her PhD. She went to her advisor to devise a plan. He told her not to bother with a PhD. She didn't have what it took. She lacked inherent talent.
She became a social worker instead.
This got me thinking.
I love design. I was so passionate about it that I started doing it on the side of my full time job-getting up before work to consult and working on weekends. I risked my career-quitting my job so I could study UX and break into the field. I really freaking love design-no doubt about it.
Following my leap of faith, I joined a company-hoping that I could officially start my career as a designer. I worked my ass off. I was ridiculously hungry to learn. I commuted two hours a day. Regardless, I was never knighted with the designer title. Now I'm a Product Manager at another company. What happened?
This is what I was told:
- You wouldn't like it
- People are born with it
- It can't be taught
I came to the realization this morning that I may have become another statistic. Someone told me I didn't have the natural aptitude for a field that requires inherent genius and I accepted that as a fact and deemed I wasn't capable.
I'm not into blaming anyone for altering my career decisions. I do, however, want to bring this issue to light so advisors can be more aware of what they're saying to women and so they realize their impact on women's career decisions. I also want women to take certain feedback with a giant grain/crate/dumpster of salt and to trust their own instincts when it comes to assessing what they're capable of.