It may not feel like there is much to be celebrating at the moment but Happy International Women in Engineering Day, nonetheless!
Although I am often confused about the passage of time lately, it appears that much has changed since we launched in 2016 for both of us Hedy bloggers. Considering this, and out recent influx of new subscribers, it seemed only appropriate that we offer a chance for you to get more acquainted with our updated selves. Last week, you got a refreshed glimpse into the life of Sarah, and now, it’s me, your resident signal lady, Yvette.
Where do you work and what do you do there?
I work for Alstom Transport in Brisbane as a Senior Signalling Engineer. I spend most of my time checking detailed circuit drawings for the interface between existing relay interlockings and new equipment.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I really like that we are working towards making the passenger network safer and more efficient without completely needing to throw away the existing relay based interlocking and replacing everything. I get a real geeky kick out of “recycling” circuits… For example, a few weeks ago we found a way to reuse a relay that had become obsolete by renaming it and using it for a different function without even having to rewire it in the backproving circuit and it seriously made my day!
What has changed since we last spoke?
I was intending to move further away from detailed design but it seems I have become even more involved in it, with a renewed interest and enthusiasm for the “smaller picture”!
What is your favourite thing about your career?
To be completely honest, at the current time, I just feel really lucky that I chanced upon a field that meant I was considered to be working for an “essential service” during this time but also allowed me to work from home away from contagion risk (as I have a number of chronic health issues). Job security is not a particularly sexy reason as to why I’m happy about my career choice but it really is at the top of my gratitude list!
How would your 13 year-old self react to what you do?
My 13 year-old self thought that the height of sophistication was having a job where you could wear stockings and heels in a fancy office and then go home and have a lean cuisine with a glass of wine so I think she’d think I was actually living my best life!
What is the most important thing you have learned in your career so far?
Basically I have a career-based anecdote illustrating most of the pieces of advice from the Sunscreen song from the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack. So pick any one of those, including “wear sunscreen” and apply it!
Why do you need feminism?
I need feminism because I am tried of having to put in a disproportionate amount of effort to be treated in such a way that would be the default expectation for a man, and if I did not have the acknowledgement of other feminists that this is indeed an issue, I’m not sure I could keep putting in this effort.
What is your favourite thing about yourself?
I like my ability to problem solve but it was my birthday yesterday and one of my friends described me as “the kind of Goddess that loves deeply and loyally” which does also sound quite impressive!
If you could have one super power, what would it be?
I would really like immortality. Or perhaps just the ability to stop and start time so I could take some time pressures off, and have a moment to breathe sometimes, without the clock continuing to tick.
Both of you live by yourselves now and self care has become more important than ever. What items from your Eden Jar have helped get you through this pandemic?
Through some miracle, I have actually maintained the self-discipline to keep up regular exercise during isolation. Online dance classes and my favourite yoga app, Down Dog have meant that I’ve kept my mental health in check, decreased my inflammation levels and gained 900g of muscle over the last few months!
I’ve also kept up meditation using the Headspace app and got back into piano and zentangling (meditative drawing).
This is definitely not the way anyone saw 2020 panning out. Has anything positive come out of this situation for you?
One of the positive things that I see coming out of this pandemic is a greater tolerance for flexible working arrangements. While flexible arrangements should be something that any worker could want to access, the reality often is that many women are disproportionately burdened with carer responsibilities, so proof that remote working is actually effective could lead to changes of workplace culture and greater retention of women who may otherwise have left the industry, which is potentially exciting!
Where are you travelling to as soon as global travel restrictions are lifted?
I have my eye on Hong Kong. My grandmother spent some of her childhood there and I’d really love to visit! Also, the food is calling me!
What is your favourite quote?
Where are you going from here and has this changed since we last spoke?
I would really just like to give myself permission to not go anywhere right now and be okay about it. I have set up a new mentoring relationship to learn some more about ETCS Systems but really, I think I’m just going to enjoy the present!