Jun 26, 2018
Nichols never really thought about what she wanted to do in
terms of everyday work to make an income, instead, she decided
where she wanted to live, and picked a career that would take her
to that place.
Fortunately, she was raised in a household where traditional
gender modeling wasn't a thing, so when she decided to go into
engineering, it didn't seem unusual or unattainable.
Two parts of our conversation stand out to me:
- Even in 2016, school
children were expressing gender stereotypes. During career day at a
local elementary school, as she introduced JeanAnn, the teacher
asked the students what they thought she did. The first
suggestions? A teacher. A nurse. And while those are wonderful
careers, they are traditionally held by women. It's startling to me
to hear those traditional ideas in a classroom in 2016.
- JeanAnn never thought of
herself as a trailblazer; her success came because she's competent,
and a great ambassador for her people (women, mothers, engineers),
and maybe there was a little luck in her corner because she didn't
experience the blatant sexism others have experienced. She isn't
successful because she's a woman, or in spite of it. She's
successful because she's competent, a great communicator, and has
the confidence to stand up and do what she wants to do.
Would you consider choosing your career based on where you want
to live? I would - and I have - but not with intention.
As always, this
conversation made some big twists and turns before coming back to
the theme: The stories we tell ourselves are exactly what we will