FemTechConf in uncertain times

Author: Anamaria Shyam

I am a woman and I work in tech, so it made sense to attend FemTechConf especially when Substrakt was one of the sponsors.

I have to admit, I don’t have much experience in attending conferences or motivational talks. I am one of those people that focuses more on hands than the brain, that thinks that I learn more from doing it, rather than listening or seeing it.

Or at least I thought I was.

Seeing the speakers panel at FemTech, I was interested in several talks. I started with How to become a superwoman in tech by Nicole Scheffler , followed by a good life lesson given by Eleftheria Batsou and her When you think there is no time presentation.

It’s funny how I was sitting behind my desk, listening to these amazing women talking about things from my own life. Yes, from my own life, because I am experiencing most of those things that they talked about:

  • I am sometimes focused more on the negative side of things and forget to celebrate success;
  • It’s easier to find excuses and complain about things that went wrong, rather than actually do something about it;
  • I am often finding myself at the end of the day, the week and even the month not being able to say where the time went;
  • I am definitely my worst enemy, doubting my skills, overloading my workdays with unnecessary tasks and put aside my mental health for when I will have more time.

There were loads of amazing talks at this conference and I can not wait to check the recordings and see what I have missed, but there was one talk I wouldn’t have missed for anything in the world and that was Be Awesome: Overcoming the Impostor Syndrome by Sarah Fatz.

Why was this talk so important to me?

Simple, because that’s my day-to-day struggle, my permanent enemy since I became an adult. I was always aware of English not being my first language, then of not having the “formal education” for my present job, then by being an intern and bothering everyone with my questions and now by being a junior and making mistakes every now and again.

It’s annoying, it’s frustrating, it’s a full-time job fighting with yourself to overcome that fear of not being good enough, not knowing everything, not understanding things as fast as the others around you.

And here I was, sitting on my comfy chair in my office, watching this live presentation and wondering what I could possibly learn from it. Well, the joke was on me, because I had learned a bunch:

  • No one knows everything. Obviously, right? Well, here it is again: no one knows everything, not the senior colleague, not the manager, not the tutor of some course, not even that person that has 1 million followers online! – no, I am not underestimating anyone’s work, they all know something and something really good, but not everything. So it’s ok to not know everything.
  • Failing is part of the process. I will not realize what success feels like, without also experiencing failure. I need to acknowledge failure and stop being afraid of it. So it’s ok to fail.
  • Set the bar based on my abilities, my skills and my knowledge. People are different, have a different background, have different habits and my targets shouldn’t be based on other people lives. So it’s ok to be different and to do things differently.

I can count the conferences that I attended so far on the fingers of one hand, but FemTechConf was definitely an inspiring event and I am glad I attended it.

Who knew that you could learn so many things from watching complete strangers talking about your own struggles!