It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy because you might not try to improve thinking there’s no point. And that attitude hurts you at work because you don’t try to improve. ~ Sharon Ernst, ‘6 Reasons Why You Think You’re a Bad Writer–and Why You’re Wrong

“Maybe I’m never going to have the skills to be a good horse person. What if I never get the confidence necessary to be the leader my horse needs?” This is what I ask myself and I continue pushing forward and keep trying to understand what I require to have the confidence my horse wants from me.

Horse Bridge Greyson 06/14/2019
Horse Bridge preparing Greyson for the saddle 06/14/2019. DISCLAIMER: Any reference to lessons from Horse Bridge is Chris Deputy’s interpretation of the lessons learned. Anything written is not a direct quote of Horse Bridge.

When I’ve tried to recruit young women into the craft of telecommunication, more often than not I am told, “I don’t think I can do that.” What I notice is, they are already performing the functions that are necessary to be successful in telecom but, for some reason, they don’t have the faith in themselves to believe they could do it. There’s more to telecommunication than running cables from point A to Z. There’s a whole lot of networking going on.

Is the word ‘networking’ what holds them back from trying? Is it the perception that mobile telephony is all about selling the service from a kiosk or answering customer service calls? Much like trying to feel what my horse is feeling, I think back to the first time I set foot into a mobile network operations center and what I felt.

Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center, Wikipedia
Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center, Wikipedia

My introduction to telecommunications was as a temp for hire. Contracting is something I prefer to do because it affords me the opportunity to gauge employers. What is their culture? What are their values? Do they live up to the values they claim to have and how do they do that? Does it align with my values?

As a contractor, I can decide whether I would like to accept a full-time position with the organization after analyzing whether they will meet my needs. Will there be a sense of reciprocity when I pour my heart and soul into the tasks they’re asking me to do? There are three primary things I require of an employer for them to remain a candidate for a permanent position for my career.

  1. Learning: Will they actively guide me throughout my career to grow me within the company so I can flourish or will the training stop once my hard skills meet their needs?
  2. Diversity and Inclusion: Will they support my commitment to recognize every person’s right to liberty, including myself, for all future generations of people? Not with empty words but through active participation.
  3. Empowerment: Are the leaders more interested in their own glory or do they lead by placing the people they are in charge of on the pedestal so they can shine with their successes?

I accepted the position in telecommunications without a high school degree because everyone from top management to my colleagues was eager to teach me. They were excited to answer my questions so I could learn. They taught me how the company code of ethics applied in everything we did with how we worked towards diversity and inclusion. They believed in empowering each other with knowledge through cross-training while leaving no person behind. Together, we accomplished amazing things.

What I am gleaning from Sharon Ernst’s message in her article, “6 Reasons Why You Think You’re a Bad Writer—and Why You’re Wrong,” is–we all have to start from somewhere. If it isn’t challenging, how can we improve? If we aren’t making mistakes, how can we learn? I didn’t know anything about telecommunications and I knew extremely little of networking but I took a chance because the employer saw something in me. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have an education. What did matter to them was that I was teachable.

I could continue to question whether I have the horse sense to be a good equestrian. I will never know for sure if I’m not willing to try. I learned through horses that we can’t train a horse that won’t move its feet. Imagine yourself as a horse for a moment. Are we willing to move our feet?