When looking for an inspiring woman to introduce in this series, a friend of mine came to mind. She's none other than Carrie Sim of www.carriesim.com. She currently works at Circles.Life. Today, she shares how the workplace has been for her, especially being someone who does not have a degree to her name.
T: Tell us a little bit about yourself (hobbies, favourite cities, etc)!
C: I love exploring different hobbies at different times of my life, but one thing I love doing through the years is photography. It never gets boring for me to snap a candid shot of my friends. I just love capturing moments. I have a lousy memory, so my camera remembers both the times I've forgotten and the good ones I can never forget.
T: What was your biggest challenge you've ever faced at work, and how did you overcome the obstacles?
C: Learning how to take bigger, bolder risks. I can be rather methodical and I'm sometimes too "safe". I stick to the tried and tested, I make small improvements and I do that remarkably. When it comes to risk-taking, I have a small appetite. Perhaps, its a fear of failure, or it could just be a muscle I haven't practised enough prior to joining my current job. In the past two years though, I've had plenty of opportunities to take big, bold, but calculated risks and it's paying off for me at work. Being courageous takes practise, so there's no way to overcome this challenge, but to just get out there and do it, even when it's uncomfortable.
T: What is your typical weekend outfit like?
C: My casual work environment means that my weekend and weekday outfits could potentially be the same. It's typically a comfy basic tee from Uniqlo and some denim jeans. On a good day, I may throw on a pretty blouse instead. For extra special weekends, I put on a cute linen dress. I stick to reds, blues and blacks these days. They're my "lucky" colours, I'm told.
T: How does style play a part in your work?
C: I'm in a start-up environment, so it's really about function over form sometimes. I could be out and about or stuck in office depending on how I plan my own time. This means I choose my outfits based on what my tasks for the day are. If I'm going for a meeting, I may get a little more dressy, if not I'm in my comfy "uniform" most of the time - tees and jeans. When it comes to style, I occasionally treat my colleagues to a spectacle when I put on a super unmissable pair of statement earrings. My colleagues also know when I'm heading out after work, because I tend to be extra stylish on those days!
T: What do you think women can do to find more success in the work place?
C: Find a mentor who believes in you and who pushes you to do what makes you uncomfortable professionally. If you're a naturally domineering person, for example, your mentor should push you to not just allow but encourage and inspire other team members to speak up. If you tend to be more reserved, your mentor should push you to really make your voice heard and put your foot down.
Like many women (and men actually), I do deal with imposter syndrome, ALL THE TIME. I often feel like I'm the odd one out in a room. I am also often the only person at work without a degree to my name. I know most people say it's the experience that matters, but when I started out, I always felt (and even today I sometimes still feel) like I might not deserve a seat at the table. But over the years, thanks to great mentorship I received from bosses and managers who believe in me, I've found that my voice is acknowledged and respected at whatever table I am part of. My experience of working from the ground up over the past ten years has given me a different perspective from my peers and that's okay. It is the different perspectives that help build something better. I try to remind myself of that every time I fear I am not good enough to be at the table or to lead.
T: What is my greatest accomplishment in your career so far?
C: Creating viral campaigns time and again with my team at Circles.Life has got to be a highlight, but not my greatest accomplishment! Believe it or not, it's being able to "pass it on" and mentor other young women who work with me. I have been told, very wisely by my mentor, this, "You won't remember too many things that has happened in your career, ten or twenty years from now, but you will remember the impact you've made on your peers and mentees." I hold this close to my heart and constantly find ways to guide my younger colleagues as they find their footing in the start of their careers. It's really heartwarming and absolutely fulfilling.
Know an inspiring woman who would love to be featured? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Trouvee's Inspiration."