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  • Writer's pictureLisa Paul IBCLC

Ladders and low-hanging fruit

For those that know me, this will come as no surprise. Computers and technology are my friend. I enjoy digging into the belly of a website and figuring out why it doesn't work the way it should. I find peace in spreadsheets and organizing data in a usable way. I am not afraid of breaking software, or deleting something I want, or losing a file. I am capable and secure in my ability to figure out a way to use technology to suit my needs and recover if I make a mistake.

But how did someone who graduated with a bachelor's in Computer Science and Math end up as a lactation consultant? Yes, a question I have asked myself as well. Just how did I get here? In a nutshell, motherhood. I would say that for most women motherhood shifts their focus and their goals for a spell. Working in a tech field requires a full time focus, or so I thought, which caused me to seek out venues for making money that balanced my mom role with everything else. I went from a home-based business, to childbirth educator, to breastfeeding peer counselor to nutrition educator to IBCLC.

These were easy transitions for me. Don't get me wrong, the profession of IBCLC is difficult, but the process to get there was not much of a stretch for who I am. In the thick of this process, I considered going back to the computer field - now that would have been a challenge! Without the time or the financial resources or the mentorship, I didn't even know where to start. So I didn't start, and kept picking the low-hanging fruit.

In the back of my mind, however, I wondered what that high-hanging fruit was like. One friend even asked me why I didn't reach for that fruit because it paid so much better. (We are talking 2-3x the salary.) I told myself I didn't have a ladder. How would I reach it? Plus, I didn't want to chase the dollar and do unfulfilling work.

Forgive the pun, but I can't help the way my brain is wired. Fulfilling or not, I am missing something by not figuring out a way to embrace my natural skills. The young girl who loved calculus, and computer programming is still alive within. The college student who stayed up all night playing computer games and reading science fiction is a true version of who I am. What if I could find a ladder that helps to blend all these quirky strengths into a cohesive plan?

Ladders come in all sorts of sizes for different tasks and purposes. I am exploring a bunch of them right now, from pursuing a master's degree in software engineering, to doing projects for a local business. I think as women we owe it to ourselves to look at the selection of ladders. At this season, I am looking for more than a step stool, although it did serve me well for a long time.

What are some of your ladders? What ladders can you see in your future?

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