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civilrobot last won the day on July 7

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About civilrobot

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  1. *brakes* So, I can answer this (rhetorical) question. You're welcome in advance. lol I've mentioned mentoring before and to be honest with you, it starts before college... or at least the encouragement part does. It's so important for kids to see themselves in our profession. I try my best to speak at events for middle schoolers and high schoolers as much as I can. I'm also involved in hands-on volunteer opportunities, going into city schools and introducing kids to the fun side of our industry. Last Fall, I went to a high school and introduced a bunch of young Black and Brown girls to aviation by building gliders, and having a contest to see whose could fly the farthest (tbh, I have way more fun than they do). I talked to some of them about their kids (yep! some of the 15 year olds had kids) and I just treated them like...people and not a charity case or anything. I also talked about where I grew up, what inner city schools I went to and what it was like in college. I'm honest. I tell them that it was hard and I didn't see many people who looked like me. I also told them that I was one of two Black women who graduated in my program and that I didn't let it stop me because I was focused on my goal. Kids sometimes feel defeated before they even start so I try to offer them a real life version of a possibility. I'm the "what if?" factor. I also tell them stories about all of the lovely microaggressions from other White people who "didn't see color". Why? To show them that it happened and I survived it. I didn't run away. Here's some of my favorite hits: 1. I had a Calc 3 teacher write a letter of disapproval in place of a requested letter of recommendation for college. I went to a predominantly Black STEM high school btw. I was 17. 2. I had a Chemistry prof in college accuse me of cheating on my labs because I "couldn't possibly write that neat". Again, I went to a STEM high school where it was DRILLED in us to write in block lettering for everything...even non-engineering/architecture classes. She ran it up the flag pole and demanded that I receive a failing grade. I was dumbfounded. I was 18. 3. I had a the University Police Officer stop me on a college campus where I was taking summer classes because someone "reported that a Black woman was casing the offices and looking for something to steal." I was trying to find the badging office so that I could get my campus ID before classes started and I was lost. I was shaking and crying and the police kept yelling at me while their hands rested on their holster - "CALM DOWN! CALM DOWN OR WE WILL HAVE TO TAKE YOU IN!!!!" I was 19. 4. An oldie but a goodie! (and please, if you do this, just stop) "OMG! In the summer, I almost get as brown as you!" (whips out arm and places it up to my arm to compare and giggle). Cringe-worthy for sure. Btw, I'm not even 40 yet so these incidents didn't happen that long ago. Back to what I was saying before... so I know that sitting in a room where nobody looks like you isn't easy. It should go without saying but for those of you who are saying "everything is great! I don't see color!" yeah, it's awesome...for... you. But for those of us who have to face these ridiculous micro-agressions every day or almost every day, well, it's exhausting. We have to stay calm, don't make everybody uncomfortable, do our work, be the best, in some cases represent an entire race of people or a particular gender, and act like nothing bothers us. It's a lot.
  2. It sounds like you've got it figured out but if you ever want to bounce anything off of me, I'm here. Shoot me a message and we can chop it up! 🙂
  3. My best mentoring relationships happened naturally. I was very fortunate to run across people who just took interest in guiding me and giving me opportunities. All were men and almost all were white. I had a client who was a Black man - stern, retired Army Colonel who loved war history. Other than us both having brown skin, I never really thought much about us having anything in common. The one thing I really admired was how deliberately he made his decisions, and in the consultant world this was rare - he actually stuck with his decisions, unless more information was provided and he was asked to change his decision. So anyway, I was leaving my company and this project, and that man pulled me aside and gave me some amazing advice about leading senior level professionals and how to navigate on a few different levels, one being race. He actually told me to always look around and see if your team is as diverse as your community. If not, fix it. Everybody brings something to the table. I rushed to my car and started downloading everything he told me into OneNote on my phone. I never wanted to forget it. I had one formal mentor, a woman. She was okay. She mentored me into wanting a new job. I knew I didn't want to end up like her. She did that thing where she learned to mute herself and the things about her identity that gave her a unique voice. She just operated like everybody else and didn't want to make any waves. Boooo! Even if I don't have a formal mentor, there's one thing that I always try to do. I pay attention to communication styles, and other stuff, and I pick up on it, try it on and see if it suits me. I learned de-escalation techniques from a woman that I worked with when I was an intern in construction. When things got heated in a meeting, she didn't use cheeky charm or anything like that. She used the word "we" a lot. "It seems like there's a miscommunication on what is being asked and what's being understood by everyone. We can work through it and figure out what we need to do." I notice that the CEO of my org asks a lot of questions before making a decision, similar to the client I mentioned above. He also takes physical time to think before asking another question. I've had other leaders think, and then say "I can't make a decision right now. When do you need it by?" Just that straight forward controlled honesty. Keeps everything clear. So watch the people you work for and the people you work with. Pay more attention to the good qualities rather than the bad.
  4. I can now give my husband a haircut. We also took apart our old garden retaining wall around the front of the house and built a bigger gardening bed and a higher wall. The garden is gorgeous! We have lilies, hostas, nepata (cat mint), coreopsis, delphiniums, evening primrose, oriental poppy, lavender, hydrangeas, and peonies. We also placed an in-ground sprinkler system around the front and side of the property. That was hard. I'm actually walking a little slower today due to that back breaking work. We used a trencher, but it still took some work to get the line buried and the soil compacted. I did it by hand.
  5. As a professional with an intersectionalist identity (Black and a Woman), I give the community a D. Have you gone to a professional engineering/construction orgs national conference, attended the opening plenary, and actually LOOKED AROUND!?!? Balding. White. Males. EVERYWHERE! It's not nearly a fraction of representation of the population in no way, shape, or form. I'm in the room and at the table for a number of design reviews. And on more than one occasion, I've had to say "as a woman and a mom, I am telling you this isn't going to work. I'm not asking, I'm telling you." Slowly but surely, we're getting more people of color involved in the industry but I'm not meeting them on the executive levels. I'm also watching how young women join our ranks and they eventually teeter out into Business Development, Marketing, etc. and not really staying on the technical side. I can tell you that there's a lack of mentorship at many firms. I grew up with the old African-American soundtrack of "You need to work twice as hard to get half as far" because I'm Black and a woman. I knew that I had to work hard. But it wasn't until I had a mentor (wonderful Bald White guy lol) who told me to make sure I knew my stuff frontwards and backwards and nobody could mess with me. So when I was in the field, and new to engineering, I came up against lots of older men who didn't like receiving direction from a "kid" or someone who was "younger than their daughter". Instead of doubting myself, I leaned in and told them how many ways they were wrong and the one way to fix it. It helped me to build a level of confidence in my management style and in my craft that no one could break down. So I stayed. But watched a number of young women eventually shy away from the field to hide away in the office.
  6. I'm very very late to this party but OMG-this is my career mantra and it has served me well. I don't overthink what I want to say before saying it. I rarely apologize unless I really do something wrong. Women tend to over-apologize about everything so I never over-apologize. I give a lot of thought before apologizing. The last apology that I gave was from forgetting that my team stopped the design on a particular element of a project because of a perceived funding shortage. We actually have the money. My bad... so I apologized. Before that? I called the owner of a company a child. lol That actually felt good. That guy is a pain in the neck. It was unprofessional so I apologized. I apply for jobs with a "why not?" attitude and it's how I got the job I have. I also ask for ridiculous salaries. Worst thing that could happen is they say no. I've received one 'no'. One.
  7. I had a novel idea over the weekend. I'm thinking about holding off on registering and studying at full force until there's some certainty to this situation. No point in dropping everything in my life to dedicate 10-20 hours per week to something that may not even happen or may actually happen in an unsafe manner. States are doing their own thing and if NCEES leaves it up to the State to decide, I'd rather not be in an overcrowded room with proctors whispering in my face while I'm trying to take an exam and not get sick. I'm glad I had the opportunity to see what it's like to sit for the exam so that I can make an informed decision. There are times when we're just close. In line, bathroom, hotels, etc. I'd rather study and continue to solve problems at a reduced rate of urgency until the country has a solid group of grown ups in charge and we're actually making progress as a unit.
  8. Well I’m back. I guess I should start studying now.
  9. We're using MS teams and I always turn off the camera and mute my mic. I try to get up at a usual go-to-work hour (6-7 AM), workout, shower, get dressed and then hop on line while having breakfast. I'm definitely busier than if I was in the office. It seems like people are more likely to schedule meetings back to back because there isn't any travel time to and from meetings. So I hardly ever get a break! Just click on a link, sit there for an hour, hang up, click on another link...for 6-7 hours.
  10. I don't know about anybody else but I'm enjoying this whole work from home thing. Happy hour starts at 5:30 PM everyday. I don't have to wear shoes. It's great!
  11. I race my daughter everyday for a 1/4 mile after our afternoon walks. She beats me every time because the hill leading up to our cul de sac is at like a 1:2 slope. Super steep and she has that brand new 5 year old energy at 2 in the afternoon. lol
  12. Same. I used to do that. But then I was like "ok, but why?"...after my then fiancé (now husband) wouldn't talk to me after a icy rainy 3 mile run in the dark in preparation for the little rock half marathon. I also vowed not to race in March because of this exact same occurrence. March race = Winter cold training = ew!
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