I remember vividly the first time I experienced outright sexism and impostor syndrome. It was my first engineering job within the energy industry. I was sitting at my desk and a male engineering colleague came up to me. He looked me up and down and said “there’s paper stuck in the printer.” I smiled, not thinking anything of it and suggested he spoke with the office manager. He continued to stand there and said “but that’s your job isn’t…as a woman? Fix it for me”. I thought he was joking at first, I just started laughing and made light of it. But then he continued to stand there, straight faced and replied with “I’m not joking. You’re a woman, it’s your job to help us engineers. I’m not going to waste my time dealing with paper jams”.
Have you ever experienced something like this? Have you been in a situation completely stunned and upset, not knowing how to react? Events like this stay with you. They can worm their way into your head and at some stage, you start believing it. Then you have another thing on your plate…Impostor Syndrome. It takes support from other colleagues and a lot of strength to move through it.
In this week’s episode I spoke with Anna Ploszajski, an award-winning engineer, about her experiences of sexism and impostor syndrome. More importantly she provides her advice on how to deal with it.
In this episode we share with you:
• Anna’s experiences of sexism and impostor syndrome;
• How succeeding is the best way to fight back;
• How having a network of female colleagues can help;
• How an online presence and audience provides leverage.
Interested in knowing more about engineering? Read my blog on the meaning of engineering.