This picture. This is the day I decided to quit my Aerospace Quality Engineering career I had spent 22 years building. This is a picture of a broken spirit and a woman who could not spend one more second as the only female at the conference table.
This is also the day of my epic Facebook Live rant that some of you may remember.
Let me recap.
I was sent to a supplier location to investigate a million dollar issue that was impacting production. I was lead investigator.
I arrived with my team and was greeted with "Hi, you must be the buyer? Nice to meet you."
I replied with "Nope. I'm the Supplier Quality Rep investigating the ______ impacting our deliveries.
The team I brought with me laughed and one man said "I bet she gets that all the time".
We move to the conference room where I assume the power position of middle seat at the conference table. I had asked one of the Supplier's support staff to please choose another seat so I had a better view of the presentation. A woman's seat choice at a conference table is very important. Never, and I repeat, Ever, sit on the side of the room or too far in the back. I worked for 22 years for a seat at the table and I refused to be pushed to the back of the room.
I was asked if I could set up the video conferencing and I suggested they call their IT department. It was just assumed that I would set up the meeting. No supplier in the world would have asked a male Lead Investigator to set up their meeting .
I opened my notebook while we waited, to review the facts of the issue. One of the Supplier's engineers asked in front of the entire room if "I understood the issue". I responded with "Yes" and went back to reviewing my notes. (Fun fact: this was also the day I came up with my 'Lady Brain' candle)
Once the presentation started, I asked probing questions. The presentation was riddled with errors and at one point, their Lead Engineer asked if I needed help with the math.
Filled with determination, I got up, went to the whiteboard and said "I understand math, what I don't understand is YOUR math. I then proceeded to outline the errors of their flawed logic.
The moment I decided to quit was when the VP of Quality said for the entire room to hear "She's a smart girl."
To say it was a rough day was an understatement. I got home, poured a glass of wine and grabbed an "All The Fucks" candle. I lit it and proceeded to do a 30 min rant Live on FB for the entire world (or a couple thousand followers😁) to see, while I checked all the boxes on that candle.
Fast forward to today. I am 2 days away from opening my dream manufacturing and retail location. I have never worked harder, been more exhausted
or been happier!!!
I was so scared to leave my high-paying job and the security that paycheck gave me. What if the candle thing didn't work out? How was I going to provide a livable wage for the amazing women that worked for MWCC who had families to support? How was I going to do the marketing, sales, production, and all the other things I had to get done, and still be a wife and mother?
Here's the thing. Fear is a FUCKING liar! I didn't have to. My husband pitched in, each woman at MWCC took on more responsibility and as a tribe, we worked it all out. I am surrounded by highly-capable women and we are building this together.
So I say this to all the "smart girls" out there. Do It! Follow your passion. You may be still working at your kitchen counter, or maybe your dream has filled every room of your house. I still don't make even close to what I used to, but I have never been happier in my whole life. Stop doing shit you hate.
Photo cred: One if the most wonderful co-workers I ever worked with snapped an undercover photo. He texted me and said I would want to remember this day. He was right.