Career Paths and Obstacles

Tuesday, August 30 2016 Written by
Accomplishments… skills… accomplishments… skills… I rack my mind for examples of accomplishments or personal skills that I could write about in a resume, always coming up short. The voices of past counselors repeat “well you’ve gotten this far, you must have done something right” but I can’t wrap my head around it, it feels like a lie or exaggeration. I didn’t do anything special, I just… lived. Sparked by the requirements of this internship as well as out of my own personal need, I started revising my resume. Though looking at job posts can be exciting as I read through positions that sound like the perfect fit for me, I also get an immense feeling of dread and doubt as I think of all the ways I’m unqualified, all the ways I ways I messed up my college experience, and all the things I haven’t accomplished. So much so that a simple task can take longer to accomplish as I have to battle my conscious before actually attempting to apply for the position. I begin to wonder if anyone else stresses about this as much as I do. I recall hearing that one of the reasons that men might have more success in the workforce is because they tend to apply for positions even if they don’t meet 100% of the qualifications. (All my studies and experience have taught me that problems like these are complex and multilayered so I acknowledge that if this is true, it is not the only factor responsible for the gender wage gap). My sister swears I have impostor syndrome. As much as I would love to have a detailed and thorough discussion on impostor syndrome, wage gaps, gender bias, I wanted to write this from my own experience. For me, aside from my lack of confidence there’s an added layer of obstacles regarding careers in the outdoors. Sometimes it’s just in the little things my mom says as I leave for a hike (or anywhere else really), “where are you going?” “take your brother with you” “take the dogs with you” “don’t stay out too late” (and of course, “llevate un sueter” xD). Harmless advice I’m sure, but I can’t help but notice how she never says that to my brothers. Despite all the times I have gone out on my own, these comments occasionally make me feel as if though I’m not meant to be outside, it’s not safe for me to be outside.  I wonder what kind of impacts these phrases and doubts can have on other women especially in outdoor careers.   [caption id="attachment_8240" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Why take my brother out camping when I can take my bird-watching, bug -loving, tree-hugging roomies instead! Why take my brother out camping when I can take my bird-watching, bug -loving, tree-hugging roomies instead![/caption]   This is just for myself though, as I have met and read about countless women who excel outdoor/science fields. Engineers who attended school for a bit longer to take a minor in feminism, engineers who completely changed their majors because they felt isolated and unwelcome. Women in computer science who balanced school and raising a child, and of course women in the environmental and outdoor fields! [caption id="attachment_8241" align="aligncenter" width="300"]WOC in science WOC in science both from LA![/caption] I’ve been fortunate and thankful to have worked in diverse or inclusive environments including positions where most of the higher-ups were women, or people of color and thus I never had to deal with feeling out of place and most of the women I did work with were very empowering and supportive. I almost regret not asking them for quotes and advice that I could add to this post so I can end on a more positive note, but I assure you readers that they are out there and don’t be afraid to ask them yourself! [caption id="attachment_8242" align="aligncenter" width="601"]Kim Strassburg and some of the amazing interns at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge (not pictured but just as amazing, Bonnie, Jenna, Rachel, and both Sarahs!) Kim Strassburg and some of the amazing past interns at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge (not pictured but just as amazing, Bonnie, Jenna, Rachel, Eva, and both Sarahs!)[/caption] I want to thank all the women that have helped me in my journey. I know I still struggle with fear and self-acceptance, but I hope you all know that I still value your words of strength and encouragement. Special thank you to Kim Strassburg, the wonderful program coordinators of LA Step Up Women’s Network, the community organizers of Long Beach LGBT center and Queer Youth Rock Camp, and of course all the amazing women that I have met as a result of this internship! [caption id="attachment_8243" align="aligncenter" width="360"]Ranger Coral and Melissa have helped me so much in terms of professional development and motivation, and of course in catching pokemn as well! (not pictured but equally inspiring are Ranger Kya and of course my supervisor Vanessa Torres!!) Ranger Coral and Melissa have helped me so much in terms of professional development and motivation, and of course in catching pokemon as well! (not pictured but equally inspiring are Ranger Kya and of course my supervisor Vanessa Torres!) Thank you all for making my internship fun and productive.[/caption] To all the LHipsters reading, have you had any similar issues or sentiments and do you have any advice moving forward? Can you identify women or people of color in your field that you can look up to? And finally, good luck in all your future endeavors! I look forward to meeting everyone and hearing about all the great work you have done and plans for the future! Though our internship is ending, our bright career paths are just beginning!
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