In the last month, I've been offered the opportunity of a new role at SIG. With International Women's Day on the horizon, it's caused me to reflect back over my career and appreciate just how far I've come.
I vividly remember joining the firm as a fresh-faced 21 year old. Fresh out of school, I was accepted into SIG's Assistant Trader programme and excited to get my start in the industry. Looking back, I know I was a qualified part of the class, but at the time, I felt out of my depth. While I was feeling like someone was going to "find me out," I didn't realise that this was a common phenomenon that many women feel. I remember telling myself to "fake it until you make it," long before I heard Amy Cuddy's TED Talk. This helped, but there were a few other things that helped get me to where I am today.
The first was surrounding myself with strong role models. My own mother was an incredibly motivating force, a stay at home mother rather than a CEO. She is pragmatic and logical, and always encouraged me to do what I enjoyed and was good at, and success would follow.
When I got to SIG, I was lucky that I was surrounded by similarly motivating personalities. My peers had lots of different skills and, at times, I felt daunted by their knowledge and abilities. But while I learned from them, I also took the opportunity to focus on my skills, doing what I knew I could do well and trusting that I could grow from there. It seemed like some of my classmates came out of the gate feeling ready to trade, while I knew I had more to learn. I spent these pivotal months starting with the basics and gaining the background knowledge that I needed to grow in confidence.
I have also found that, although trading is a male-dominated industry, at SIG, I've always been able to connect with women to act as mentors and role models for me. I've been inspired by women, not just in our trading departments, but in Operations, Technology, and HR, too! I believe surrounding yourself with people who give you confidence is really important.
The other things that have helped me grow my confidence were time, experience, and having respect for this. "You can't expect to be an expert in anything when you first try it, so give yourself the time to learn a new craft, settle into a new job, and discover what it is that you are good at and enjoy." I worked in trading for 8 years and left to go back to college, to try something else. Essentially, I realized I missed the industry too much and came back to SIG, but in a new role. It surprised me how similar this new challenge felt, how quick I was to doubt my ability, but I drew confidence from the fact that I had succeeded before, and could do it again.
Back to the present day, last month, I was asked to take on another new role at the firm and so my path is changing again. Thanks to motivating co-workers, strong role models, and having patience with myself, I feel like I can embrace this challenge. I have the knowledge that, yes, it will be hard, but I've been here before, and people trusted me to succeed before. I'm hopeful I'll be able to do it again.
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