There are literally nights when I can’t bear to put myself to sleep because my mind is racing. I find myself thinking about recent conversations with exciting individuals, the type of talks where you cut each other’s sentences off because minds are moving faster than our mouths can accomodate.
It is such an exciting time to be alive.
A few years ago I remember reading Michael Arrington’s controversial piece in TechCrunch about why we shouldn’t blame men for the lack of women in the tech industry. Around the same time, a post was published about ageism in Silicon Valley and why older programmers are losing out to younger, less experienced (and less expensive) recent college grads. Shortly after, the NYTimes asked the question, “What is it about 20somethings?”
These headlines and countless others tell me that women are still fighting for equality, older generations are fighting to stay relevant, and the next class of young adults remain judged and misunderstood. I would imagine that this narrative has repeated itself across every generation, but I’m having the quintessential “the world is my oyster moment.”
As a young woman working in a web-based profession, I feel like I am living during one of the most profound paradigm shifts in human history. As much as my age and gender may work against me, there are tools at my disposal that put me at a greater advantage compared to young women of the past.
A New Toolset: Strong women, generous men, and a resourceful network.
So what separates a young twentysomething woman growing up today compared to twentysomethings of the past? I would argue that it’s the following: a roster of women who paved the way, a network of supportive men, and technologies that know no borders.
I have access to a network of strong women that have achieved various degrees of personal success. They range from women like my mom who immigrated to this country against all odds to women who are co-founders of tech-startups or executives at large corporations. Find your heroes, listen closely, and learn from the best.
I also have access to a network of accomplished men who have generous ears and big hearts. Thanks to allies like my dad and a long list of mentors who support me unconditionally, I’ve been taught how to navigate a world dominated by men. You have to know what the rules are if you want to break them, bend them, or change them.
And then there are my contemporaries, my peers and friends whose passions and aspirations I draw from on a regular basis. They are dreamers turned do-ers, explorers, job seekers, job changers, academics, and artists. Seek out people who bring you energy and never let them go.
I’m experiencing a time of tremendous transition both personally and professionally. Some days I’m completely overwhelmed, but then I’m reminded of these sentiments. I’m thankful for choice, for technology, for opportunity. I’m thankful for today and so much more.