An Open Letter to the Amazing, Ambitious and Energetic Women Just Starting Out

Just so you know, yes, it is possible.

And yes, you are more than good enough.

But you’ll make compromises that you never thought you’d need to make.

And you will bite your tongue more often than you thought you ever would.

You will be asked to join committees just because of your sex and/or gender identity. You won’t rebel against these requests because it is important there’s diversity on the committee(s). And there still isn’t enough diversity on (most) campuses to go around. You’ll enthusiastically join hiring committees, in particular, to help ensure that there will be more diversity in the future.

If you decide to have children: someone who has influence over your career trajectory may quietly “Mommy-Track” you using underwhelming praise and a pigeonhole. If it is important to you, changing that perception and positioning will be difficult, but [hopefully] not impossible.

If you decide to have children: you MAY look like this when you go to work. OR you may teach your classes with baby spit up and/or coffee stains and/or chalk dust on your snappy blazer. And that’s fine too.

But know that your students will judge your abilities based on your appearance so make that ‘extra effort’ on Course Evaluation Day #sarcastichumour.

If you decide to have children: yes, you will miss some of their important moments. Someone else may tell you about your child’s first steps, what happened to make them cry at school that day, or call you at the office because you need to leave.work.right.now and drive to the hospital to be with your child because she’s being admitted. Some days you’ll say things like “I’m sorry darling, I just need to finish this last paragraph/email but I can play later. Promise!” but then get distracted by other deadlines.

You may occasionally feel like a Terrible Mother and you may wonder if the tradeoffs are worth it. I can’t decide that for you but I suspect your children won’t be irreparably harmed by watching way too many BBC Earth documentaries and/or Eddie Izzard. They will still love you.

Then, one day, you will realize that you’ve jumped through the ‘last’ hoop, the process didn’t destroy your curiosity and it was worth it.

Now don’t forget to pay it forward.

Questions?

By |2018-10-02T12:15:17+00:00May 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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