The Career Establisher

Video Resource: Yvonne & Amanda | R2Tech

Yvonne Daymond, TWNZ member, mentor and regular panelist, chats with Amanda Watson, TWNZ Council member, about what longevity in IT has taught them. 

This is a relaxed chat with a lot of laughing and also some excellent advice. Grab a cuppa and watch the video in bite size pieces. 

The video is 40 minutes long, so please break it up as it suits you as a viewer. 

Points worth the watch – key messages on:

  • Turning Up – literally! Clothing fitting is one of the anecdotes discussed when Yvonne tells about her personal experience as the interviewer and the interviewee
  • Reviewing the language that jobs in your industry are written in, and then apply that to your CV and cover letter
  • How to really cope with “constructive feedback” 
  • Being kind to yourself and well being / burnout etc 
  • Bit of emotional distance between roles that may have left a negative impact before moving into a new one 
  • Final thoughts in the last few minutes of the video; things to think about. 

Caroline Ferguson | Article for Career Establishers

Caroline Ferguson

Member of TechWomenNZ

Business Transformation and Innovation Director

Connect on LinkedIn

Solo parenting for the best part of five months was not part of the plan for when I returned to work full-time after having my second child. Although I was excited to be returning to work, my apprehension about day-care drop-offs, pick-ups and keeping the household ticking along, all while operating on broken sleep and trying to re-establish myself in a leadership role, was nearly all too much (and that was even before I knew how much of a doozy the winter bugs were going to be).

In reality we did it (well nearly… two weeks to go!), and although the wheels have nearly fallen off a few times, the apprehension was worse than the reality.

2022 has taught me a lot and I’ve experienced some significant capability development – both professionally and personally (some intentional and some organically). Ending up on an online margarita making class was a particular highlight and as it turns out, a skill that has been critical for the year!

This year has taught me that even when you are in the more ‘established’ part of your career, and you think things *should* be easier to navigate/cope with due to your experience, there are endless factors that will pull on your resources. For me right now it is two young children. 

For various friends and colleagues at similar points in their careers, it has been factors including dealing with a spouse passing away, supporting a sick family member, managing their own illness or going through fertility treatment. These all impact how we turn up to work each day, both physically and mentally.  

I loved the point from Tasia Stace at the TechWomen – Identity Fluctuation in the Technology Workplace webinar that we need to be aware of how our context and identity is changing and nurture where we are currently at

Having awareness of our context and nurturing ourselves can be challenging as it usually requires us to change how we operate (and change is hard!).  

We need to change from being in auto-pilot mode, pushing through and doing what is needed to just get by, to pausing and giving our mind, body and soul what it needs to be nurtured.

When I’m in auto-pilot mode, I end up simply surviving and not thriving. I also end up doing unnecessary and unhelpful “shoulding” on myself. I have thoughts like “I should be able to cope with this more easily”,” I should be doing more”, “I should be stronger” etc etc…

In case others also find themselves in auto-pilot mode, shoulding on themselves, and surviving not thriving, here are four things that have helped me to gain awareness, nurture myself and keep moving forward:

1)          Get present and breathe – my wonderful Grandpa Jock once said to me, if you are ever in a situation and you don’t know what to do, stop and take five deep breaths and then you’ll be in better shape to make a decision. He was right, andas it turns out, is backed up by science – the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows us to be calm, can only be influenced by one thing – our breath. I try and incorporate deep breaths whenever I can – whether it’s (nicely) wrestling my one year old into her car seat when trying to get out of the house in the morning, or just before a work presentation, taking a moment to properly breathe is a quick and easy way to get present and ready to do what’s important. For what it’s worth, this can also be a very helpful tool for job interview preparation and other challenging social situations.  

2)          Ask for/accept help – excuse the language, but this is something I have been perennially sh*t at. Through better awareness of my thoughts and related ‘stories’, I’ve discovered I really hate feeling like a burden on others. 2022 has forced me to ask for, and/or accept help, and it truly has lightened the load. I’ve felt hugely vulnerable asking for it on many occasions, but it has been better for everyone involved and led to better outcomes by getting the help required to keep things sustainable. I feel very lucky to have a couple of trusted advisers at work that I can reach out to. I know not everyone has this (and it might be that you are on the search for a new workplace) so I’m always open to people getting in touch if they need help with something I might be able to assist with. TechWomen NZ also has a great network of people and resources to tap into.

3)          Get curious and move towards your goals, not away – when things are feeling hard or not going your way, it’s easy to quickly get frustrated and disappointed. I’ve learned that in these types of situations, curiosity can be a super power. Over the last two years I’ve been honing my curiosity skills. Curiosity has helped me identify barriers I can create myself and reasons why I avoid certain actions. This awareness, combined with getting clear on my values and knowledge of where I want to get to, is helping me take more steps to moving towards what I want to achieve, rather than slipping into relief from temporary discomfort when things get hard. This is still very much a work in progress for me but I am feeling less stuck by certain things.

4)          Treat yourself as you would a close friend – if you start talking to yourself in a critical way, pause and take a moment to think about what you are saying and how you might say it differently if you were sitting down with a friend for a cup of tea (or margarita) and offering them support if they were in a similar situation – what advice would you be giving? I guarantee it will be more supportive than what you are subjecting yourself to! This has been a game changer for me this year.

It has felt uncomfortable and vulnerable writing this but I’m reminded of when I learnt to surf five years ago. To start with even just getting out through the waves so that I could get out the back and catch waves was a challenge. Now I cannot wait to get into the water, and getting through the waves is part of the fun. I feel that writing and sharing this article is part of me getting more aware and fluent at things that will help me better surf the waves of life. And I truly hope it might help others too.