At 3M, our 91,000 employees around the world inspire us every day by devoting their work to improving lives. And Advanced Data Analyst Jessica Faber and Senior Software Development Engineer Bhanu Iyer are no exception. With only a combined four years under their belts at 3M, they offer a fresh perspective on what is great and what could be improved about life with 3M, in addition to some sage advice for women in STEM.
Jessica: I think one reason is that 3M is very invested in your development as an employee. They’ve put a lot into helping me learn new skills, which I’ve found to be very valuable.
I think another reason is because they trust you to work on valuable projects. Like you said, I interned at 3M before I came back full-time, and I remember being surprised at the things they let you work on. I worked on things that went straight to customers, which I thought was cool.
Bhanu: Yeah, that IS the cool thing about interning with 3M. We had seven interns work with us on our team, and they weren’t just doing menial tasks. They were doing real work and learning real skills—things that matter to the organization and add value to them as well. That’s why I think so many of them end up wanting to come and work with us after their internship is over.
Jessica: Two things come to mind. First, have confidence in yourself and recognize that you’re just as capable as anyone else, otherwise they wouldn’t have hired you.
Second, recognize that you have a lot to learn, as does everyone else. I think we all come in and feel inadequate. We think that everyone else knows what they are doing and has different skills that are more valuable than ours. But everyone has a lot to learn. We just have different things we need to learn.
Bhanu: I would add that you shouldn’t hesitate to ask questions. No question is stupid, and they are the best way to learn. Most often you will end up knowing more than what you were seeking for. I say this out of experience because I was an introvert when I joined 3M. The product that I was working on was huge and I wanted to know how every piece was interconnected. I started meeting members from various teams and as I did, I began to realize that I was learning faster.
Asking questions also helped me build strong relationships with my colleagues. They have been a huge influence in my career at 3M. Everyone who I have interacted with has been very helpful, kind and generous with their time. They are so willing to share knowledge despite their priorities and a fast-paced schedule. That truly speaks to 3M’s culture.
Jessica: I’ve often been the only woman in the room. My advice would be don’t be afraid to speak up and share your thoughts and opinions because you can’t add any value by being silent.
Also, don’t be afraid that you’re different. If you view yourself as an equal and have confidence and speak up, other people will view you that way, too.
Bhanu: Engineering is a field where often you will be the only woman at the table. I have been the only woman in the room many times. As women, the imposter syndrome takes over often, but carry yourself confidently. We bring in different perspectives and skill sets. We must value that and not feel intimidated.
Also, technology is changing fast, so keep up with it. Know what is going on within the organization, and always keep thinking about how you can contribute.
Lastly, remember that we do not need to be perfect, and we don’t need to have everything figured out.
Bhanu and Jessica’s stories are truly inspiring and at 3M, we want to make sure all our employees’ voices are heard. Whether you’re a candidate who has interviewed with 3M or a current employee, we’d love for you to anonymously share your experiences with us on our Glassdoor page.
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