Silicon Valley isn’t just a boy’s playground anymore. Over the last ten years, the number of women present and working to prove their place in technology has been going up- but only thirty percent of tech companies have at least one woman on their team.
That can be disheartening, and many women cite this as the reason they decided not to pursue a job in technology.
It doesn’t have to be like this, though.
I’ve worked to prove myself among my peers, more challenging than many of my male counterparts. It can be hard to think of myself as anything other than a ladder climber, but that kind of thinking can hurt people. It can make the glass ceiling even more unreachable for some women.
Self-care is a necessity.
Here are seven ways I’ve worked through it all, and taken the time to ensure I’m not running myself ragged. In an industry where women have to work harder to be considered for things, a balance is vital.
Although tech jobs are a lot of mental gymnastics and brainpower, these careers can take a toll on the body. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at my desk and had to remind myself to sit up or stand up and walk around for a break. Consider your surroundings, and furnish your home and office with things that make you feel good. Non-toxic materials can be useful for your health and attractive enough to love looking at them.
Do things that will help your body get the care it needs. Exercise to improve overall health, don’t sit in ways to punish your neck or back and eat things that will reward you in the long haul. This step isn’t about being attractive, although that can be a great bonus- this is about doing what makes your body feel good. Find a physical hobby that pushes you and also excites you, like rock climbing or learning Judo. You’ll get more time to focus on your mind if your body is happy and healthy.
Our minds are the things that will help us progress in our careers, and let us be inventive and creative in ways that keep breaking the mold. Although it’s easy to take your mental health for granted, please don’t do it. Check-in with yourself from time to time and ensure you’re okay. Our minds are good at handling stress, but that doesn’t mean we should push them to our breaking point.
Ensure you’re getting enough sleep, and make habits that will help you in the long run. Don’t turn to drink and partying to let off steam, and don’t throw yourself into unhealthy relationships because it’s easier than focusing your attention on a good one.
If things get complicated, or you’re unsure, seek out a professional. There’s no room for being prideful about this.
Save at least ten percent of your income. That can seem like an incredibly high amount, but you should budget around this number so that you can tuck the money away in the bank. This change means eating out less, partying less, but planning for a future that excites you.
Look at your savings as an investment in something you want. Whether it’s a vacation, a house, or a college fund for kids, a savings account is vital for good financial health.
Family and Friends
Your connections to other people will help push you through the more challenging parts of this job. Whether your family lives with you, or if it’s your parents out of state, spend time every week connecting with them.
The same goes for your friends, which you shouldn’t neglect. Build and keep healthy friendships of mutual respect and understanding, and let yourself have fun. Don’t let your entire life be your career, take steps to let yourself be a human being, be a woman, and enjoy yourself.
A healthy part of any career is a goal. If you’re new in tech, it may seem hard to picture where you’ll end up, but you must take time to consider it. Where do you want to be in ten years? How old do you want to be when you retire? How can you reach that goal? Keep a journal of these thoughts somewhere, and then work hard to achieve these goals.
The largest part of being a woman in technology is paving the path for other women. A large part of what keeps me happy and healthy in my position is that I uplift other women. I let their voices be heard. Whether it’s through hiring women who are suitable for the job or only working with other companies who also keep women in mind, I think it’s my responsibility as a woman in technology to open the door for others. The more women join in, the less it’ll feel like a dogfight trying to reach our goals and be recognized.
Our careers shouldn’t be our whole lives, even though being a tech woman makes it feel like it is. There’s more to life than that, and a little thoughtfulness can help any woman find that balance.