From years of research, women of colour in tech are actually much better than they think they are. A good number of them tend to have low self-esteem, suffer from perfectionism, and never feel good enough. They experience more self-doubt and are more likely to underestimate their abilities. By doing these, they fail to realise that they are unconsciously sabotaging their career.
They even apologize for having an opinion and say things like “Sorry if this is a silly idea, but…”. By so doing, undermining their worth and building self-guilt.
Here are 5 Ways Many Women of Colour In Tech Sabotage Their Careers.
1. Self-doubt: The Imposter Syndrome
Many women of colour in the tech industry tend to question their worth. They develop a sense of self-doubt and feeling that they don’t belong to the tech industry. This imposter syndrome is self-destructive and shouldn’t be harboured. This feeling makes women of colour feel less valued in the industry. They underestimate the knowledge and value they have. This shouldn’t be! Your perspectives and expertise are desperately needed in the frat-bro tech industry.
2. Self Isolation
Some women of colour isolate themselves because the community of women in tech is small to begin with. A large corporation may have only a handful of women so there is no connecting community or family in the tech industry for them. This is because only few women of colour are pursuing a career in tech. As a result, many women of colour feel and become easily isolated because there are few peers that they could relate and build a community with.
However, this shouldn’t be. Connecting and forming a community with the few available women of colour in the industry will create a family for new comers and inspire more people to join.
Having a strong support network can increase the likelihood of career success in a male-dominated tech industry. Joining professional groups is also beneficial. This can help Women of colour in tech gain a sense of community.
3. Not Investing In Coaching
Failure to get a coach is often detrimental. The right career coach can help you get from where you are to where you want to be fast and without overwhelm.
Emphasis on “the right coach”.
You need a coach who has first hand experience with working in the tech industry or moving from a none tech industry to the tech industry so you know that the person gets you and really understands.
This will help you shorten the learning curve, know what to do to advance your tech career as a woman of colour already in tech or looking to transition into tech even if you have no degree, and no experience and no money to fund your education. That’s why I started helping WOC get into tech. From experience I know that not every business, life or even career coach can help when it comes to getting into tech. To actually provide much needed help that gets results, you need someone who has been there (or is there), and done that.
Some women tend to blame themselves easily for everything. When things don’t turn out as expected, they exhibit internal attribution by saying “I knew I didn’t have what it takes”.
They blame themselves for losing a major client, don’t deliver a task on time or experience any set-back. This goes a long way to sabotage their careers. If you’re ever in that position, acknowledge that the outcome may have been affected by factors beyond your control. Quit blaming yourself!
5. Succumbing to Pressure
Women generally experience more intense physical manifestation of pressure than men. When under pressure, you lose the ability to think clearly. The ability to reframe nerves under pressure is important.
When under pressure, either due to work-related decision or having to meet a target, reframe the situation as an opportunity rather than a potential crisis or threat. When you do this, your body produces adrenaline to help relax your body, especially your brain.
This way, you think more clearly and have more energy to achieve more. Your brain is actually wired to help you in times of pressure due to the more developed prefrontal cortex and 10% thicker corpus callosum in women.
In conclusion, build up your confidence and self-esteem. Have more faith in your ability to progress, acknowledge what you have achieved. Recognize the effort and skill you have applied and own it. Avoid self-doubt, isolating yourself, self-blame, succumbing to pressure and doing everything yourself without the guidance of a coach. As these will gradually derail your career in tech.