My article isn't the typical trite one that suggests marginalized people in engineering and technology simply need to “Be Confident” in order to be successful or see greater representation in their chosen field. Through personal anecdotes, I talk about where confidence can and should come from, and the positive ramifications confidence can have in a marginalized person’s career. I also speak about how confidence in the marginalized doesn’t manifest as projecting an ability to do something you can’t really do or showing a lack of basic self-awareness, but instead looks a lot like simply believing you've earned a seat at the table.
The opportunity to write for MVC was offered by it's editor Shanley Kane, who I interacted with directly for my contribution. I really enjoyed the experience of writing for MVC, and I think it has a lot to do with the way Shanley asked me if I wanted to contribute.
Shanley first reached out to offer me the opportunity to write for MVC in June. Her email stood apart from many of the inquiries I receive for work, impressing me with both its level of research and detail. In it, Shanley referenced previous work I’d done for Dropbox, one of my podcast interviews, and a couple of my blog posts. She also offered a couple of ideas for articles based on my work history and interests. Knowing that she decided I would make a good fit for her publication after taking the time to learn more about me, spurred my interest in contributing. I sometimes get offers for work that are very clearly a result of me fitting into key demographics.2 These offers typically won’t mention a single thing I’ve done, and will ask for me to refer someone like me if I’m not interested - implying that I'm an easily interchanged cog. With Shanley, I never felt like this was the case.
Another nice touch to the offer was a mention that I would be paid for my contribution. Frankly, this industry devalues non-technical work, and expects it to be done for free. Being asked to do something with a clear expectation of payment, felt like a thoughtful acknowledgement of the effort and time that goes into producing interesting work. The cherry on top was receiving my check expeditiously, and with a handwritten note.
Thanks for the opportunity Shanley; it’s been an absolute delight to see my byline in print!
2. In the piece, I actually cover how damaging offers for work like this are to the confidence of the marginalized. ↩︎