8th May 2021

Wise Words For Women When Work Is Tough


Sometimes things are tough. We are all strong and competent, but sometimes the circumstances we find ourselves in are tough. Even the strongest and most experienced of us have bad days. There is no nirvana level of badass that we reach where events can no longer bother us. But life, or at least working in a male dominated industry, isn’t about how we get knocked down – it’s about how we get up again. Why would I allow my knock backs to define me when I could choose to let my recoveries do so?

How do you recover from a knock back, from that awful gig, from finding out those you thought had your back, didn’t? Firstly, stop. Stop, take a breath and think: Is there anything about what happened that you could learn from? Is there any responsibility you can take for any part of what happened? If there is, then you will become stronger by admitting it, if only to yourself, especially to yourself. Can you afford to let this one thing rock you?

Where to look for sources of strength:

Ever since I was a girl, I have found books, both fictional and factual, to be a great place to mine for inspiration:

‘Granny sighed. “You have learned something,” she said and thought it safe to insert a touch of sternness into her voice. “They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one-half so bad as a lot of ignorance.”’

Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites 

‘Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom.’

Terry Pratchett

‘If you trust in yourself….and believe in your dreams….and follow your star…you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.’

Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men

‘“The secret is not to dream,” she whispered. “The secret is to wake up. Waking up is harder. I have woken up, and I am real. I know where I come from and I know where I’m going. You cannot fool me any more. Or touch me. Or anything that is mine.”’

Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men

I’ve been a huge fan of Terry Pratchett since I was a girl. It struck me as magical that a grown man could know what it was like to be a teenage girl. He has written a whole cannon of works that have a variety of women in lead roles, overcoming obstacles, and not caring what the rest of the world thought.

I Write What I Like is a collection of works by Steve Biko, a journalist, and activist who was killed by the South African government for speaking out about Apartheid.

‘The greatest weapon in the hand of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.’

Steve Biko

You are either alive and proud, or you are dead, and when you are dead, you can’t care anyway.’

Steve Biko

‘A people without a positive history is like a vehicle without an engine.’

Steve Biko

My Own Story is an account of the British Suffragette movement. It chronicles Emmeline Pankhurst’s struggles with the police and the British Government.

“As long as women consent to be unjustly governed, they will be.”

from Emmeline Pankhurst’s speech in Hartford, Connecticut on Nov. 13, 1913

‘Men make the moral code, and they expect women to accept it. They have decided that it is entirely right and proper for men to fight for their liberties and their rights, but that it is not right and proper for women to fight for theirs.’

Emmeline Pankhurst

Who do you surround yourself with? Are the people that you allow into your life supportive, or are they happy to give you a bit more grief when you are trying to push through a rough patch?

There is a theory that the five people you spend the most time with will have a great influence on how you live your life. I don’t know how true that is but I do know it’s important to have people around you that make you feel supported.

‘You can’t change the people around you. But you can change the people around you.’

Joshua Fields Millburn.

Fix your own oxygen mask first – that is what you are told during the safety drill on an airplane. You can’t take care of anyone else if you are letting your own state slide. Taking good care of yourself is especially important when you have faced a setback. Even if it can feel indulgent to be extra nice to yourself, it is important to realize you need a bit of support from yourself at times.

We all have difficulties at times but, if you think back to the difficulties you have had in the past, you overcame them. There is no reason why you won’t overcome this as well.

Article by Sound Girl: Yvonne Gilbert

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The mission of SoundGirls.org is to inspire and empower the next generation of women in audio. Our mission is to create a supportive community for women in audio and music production, providing the tools, knowledge, and support to further their careers. SoundGirls.Org was formed in 2013 by veteran live sound engineers Karrie Keyes and Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato and operates under the Fiscal Sponsorship of The California Women’s Music Festival, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. In 2012, Karrie and Michelle participated in the “Women of Professional Concert Sound” panel at the AES Conference in San Francisco. The panel was hosted by the Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) and moderated by WAM founder Terri Winston. Terri brought together five women working in live and broadcast audio. The groundbreaking panel (which also included Jeri Palumbo, Claudia Engelhart and Deanne Franklin), provided young women and men a glimpse into life on the road, tips and advice, and a Q & A with the panelists. More importantly though, was how incredibly powerful the experience was for the panelists. We had all been in the business for 20 years or more, yet most of us had never met before that day and within minutes we bonded like long-lost sisters. We were struck by how similar our experiences, work ethics, and passions were and wondered why our paths had never crossed and how our careers would have been different had we been there to support each other through the years. Each of us are strong on our own, but together we were even stronger and a powerful force. We were empowered. Each of us had been asked hundreds of times in our careers: Are there other women doing sound? How did you get into sound? How would a young woman go about getting into sound? Through creating SoundGirls.Org, we hope to establish a place for women working in professional audio to come for support and advice, to share our success and failures, our joys and frustrations, and for empowerment and inspiration.

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