I am a people pleaser, which has been fostered by my environment; I grew up always taking care of others, and caring about their welfare before my own. Humility has always been something I’ve been taught as a virtue; as such I’ve been hesitant to celebrate my own successes, which I’ve found to be a very different reaction than that of my male peers. I’ve had to defeat this by constantly reminding myself of the road I’ve traveled and how much I’ve been able to overcome, due to my own tenacity. Of course, certain people have given me sound advice and career guidance, and for that I am more than happy to credit; but it’s been my own persistence and acumen that has made me push forward and prevail. I no longer desire to give credit to everyone else for becoming who I am today.
I worked full-time while attending college on an academic scholarship, and as such I missed out on the typical college experience that many of my peers had. I lived in Egypt for three years upon graduation, where I worked primarily in a caregiving capacity and also at a magazine as a writer and editor. When I came back to the states, I felt like my career was in flux, and I had hit a rut – I had taken a very decisive change in my career path and as such I looked at myself as less valuable than what I was. I felt myself giving in to nagging self-doubt. I knew I was smart and driven, but my limited experience in one industry meant that I had to work harder to get seen, and my morale was low. I knew that I needed to pivot and change direction since I wanted to leave the writing industry – my goal was to get my foot in the door at a flourishing startup and work my way upwards.
I have been incredibly blessed to find a company that helps me in my career progression and nurtures my career path. Since I’ve joined KIXEYE I’ve engaged in one lateral move and three promotions. I’ve been lucky to surround myself with a female network of heavy-hitters and women who have provided an organic mentorship to me. Most importantly, through hard work and self-introspection, I’ve also been able to cast aside my previous self-doubt and allow myself to retain my compassion and empathy, but also to allow myself to become more assertive and decisive. No, I will never have it all (nor would I want that), but I am very happy with striving towards it. There is nothing wrong with leaning in and being the first voice heard, especially when you have something valuable to contribute to the table. The most important thing I’ve realized is that if you never ask, you’ll never receive. Knowing your worth does not mean that you trample over the backsides of your peers; lift them up while you move forward. If you feel like you deserve something, don’t wait for someone to notice - make yourself seen and heard.
As a recruiter, I’m always struck by the difference between the males I interview and females. Females are much more apt to credit others for their success, are less willing to negotiate on their own behalf, and use the word “sorry” much more than their male counterparts. Men are much more able to express what they feel they are worth during the interview process. I’ve also been able to internalize this myself and realize the attributes that I need to change, which is an ongoing process. I encounter brilliant, talented women every day who shrink in the face of their own success – the one thing I want to tell them is to own their own achievements, for no one else can claim the same. You have a unique perspective that you bring to the table, so don’t be afraid to share it. On the whole, women need to be more supportive of each other as we move forward. I’ve often seen women tell each other how pretty they look or how nice their outfit is, but very rarely do I see females compliment each other on their intellect or ambition. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being beautiful, but true power comes from raw intellectual horsepower. These are attributes that we should embrace and praise more often. And when you are told how amazing you are, own it and don’t deflect – you are worth it.