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Achievement unlocked: Asked to give a talk.

Actually, I’m not sure how much of an achievement that is. And it’s certainly not one I ever intended or desired to unlock.

I recently attended an industry workshop for work. During the keynote speech, they asked all the systems integrators (of which THEM is) to stand up for recognition so that others working for OEMs or manufacturing, etc would know who to contact if they ever needed help with some of the things that were being presented. What I didn’t notice when we all stood up was that I was the only female engineer attending the workshop. All the other women (there were a few) in the room worked for the vendor organizing and presenting the workshop and were part of sales and/or marketing. I don’t notice these things anymore because it’s just the way it is. I work in a very male dominated industry. Oh well. But it does make me stick out sometimes. And this was one of those times. Because also attending this workshop was an engineering professor from a local community college. He took note of me and specifically sought me out during the break. Sugh.

Turns out, aside from professing, he also is the advisor/mentor to some engineering clubs. Clubs whose members include female engineering students. Female engineering students who have been asking him what they can expect as they continue on in the field. He wanted me to speak to them and share my experiences, etc. SUGH.

I guess it’s flattering to be asked to give a talk. I’m not sure. I haven’t really sorted that out. I understand why he would like me to speak to those students. And I can understand how those students feel as they near graduation and need to find a way to start their career. But…I don’t really want to. I don’t do well with large crowds of people and I don’t really enjoy physically speaking. Some people love the sound of their own voice and can’t stop talking. I am not one of them. I definitely prefer written forms of communication for most settings. But no one gives a talk via chat room. That would be inefficient. Maybe I could negotiate an email Q and A session or something instead. I mean, I don’t mind helping them out. It’s a different space to navigate as a female engineer (which is kind of an asinine thing to say, because it’s a different space for every single person). But at the same time, I hardly feel qualified to be giving advice. Aside from being female…I am almost the stereotypical engineer. So…yeah.

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