• Question: Did anyone discourage you to your future job? If so, how did you overcome it?

    Asked by Aristol to Vinita, Kirsty, Col Op, Charlie 🚀, Andrea on 15 Jun 2016.
    • Photo: Andrea Boyd

      Andrea Boyd answered on 15 Jun 2016:

      Mainly just one person. I had a boyfriend who was nice for ages and then turned nasty who, amongst other things, told me every day my career was stupid and that I wasn’t smart enough to even have a conversation with him. I started to believe it and wondered if I was too dumb to be an engineer. Then I was like.. Wait.. no I’m not. And I don’t talk to him anymore, I talk to astronauts instead.

      Mostly though I told everybody since I was 7 years old I was going to be a Space Engineer like in Star Trek and they said ok and that was that. I told my parents I wanted to go to science club and they found family friends who could take me. I told them I wanted to go to spacecamp when I was 14 and they said, ok, if you save up the money from your job at McDonalds you can go (and I did). One time I marched up to a bunch of real engineers in my school uniform in Sydney (they were taking apart a real Buran space shuttle!!!) and I said I’m going to be a space engineer and they didn’t laugh either, actually they talked to me like an adult and explained the spacecraft!!! (Exclamation marks because it was beyond amazingly awesome to see a real spaceship for the first time)

      I will add also that through my whole university study and also though the 10ish years as a Mining Engineer and as a Space Engineer (about the two bloke-iest jobs in the book) there has never been an issue at work due to people discouraging me – in the real world most people are quite reasonable. In Engineering – it’s a very logical and equal field – noone cares about background, gender, race, age or whatever – it’s just “Can you get the job done? Yes/No” and that’s it.

      The only issues I’ve had with people discouraging me were nothing to do with work – only a few past boyfriends who wanted a housewife or a less ambitious and more controllable girlfriend – as you can guess, they did not last long! Except for the one guy I already mentioned because he only started being nasty half way through and I was a bit blind to it.

      Don’t listen to people who discourage you – cut them out of your life and/or ignore them.

    • Photo: Kirsty Lindsay

      Kirsty Lindsay answered on 15 Jun 2016:

      Yes- a lot when I was younger. People didn’t believe that you could work in space in Europe,especially as a girl, so they thought I wasn’t being serious when I said what I wanted to do.

      I even had a careers adviser suggest I should be a hair dresser instead… I knew what I wanted to do so I ignored them- because they were wrong and I was right.

      When people doubt you you have to just know on the inside you can do it, even when it is hard.