How being the only woman in my team made me more confident?
Around six years back, when I started my career, I was a shy, reserved, not a very confident person (and to some extent, I am still that person). When I reached office, I used to directly go to my desk, settle my things down, check my tasks for that day, and start working. During work, I used to have minimum conversations and with very limited people. Although I knew that I have given my best but still I needed confirmation of my work from someone else. I doubted my own capabilities and seek advice and recommendations from others.
This continued for first few years until I was put into an environment where in a team of 10-15 people, I used to be the only woman. And in other teams, as well, the statistics were not very different. When you join such a male dominated team, forget about a warm welcome, but your very presence is not even acknowledged. And no matter, how much we talk about diversity and equality, there is always a pre-conception about the technical capabilities of a woman.
Women usually get appreciation for their administrative skills but when it comes to trust her technical knowledge or skills, people (what I mean is men) start doubting her. I very soon realized that if I continued with my usual behavior at work, I am soon going to be invisible. Though being a new hire, I tried to figure out how things work, what I knew already and what I needed to learn. With some extra hard work and dedication towards my work, I started developing confidence. I spent time and efforts in knowing my team, building trust with them, and getting them to know me.
Now when I look back, I realize that had I always been in my comfortable zone, surrounded with my friends, probably I never would have become the person I am today. There is still a long way to go, too much to learn and to grow. This is just the beginning. As the journey continues, challenges will come, but as someone has said, when there is a challenge, there is an opportunity!