How to Thrive at 3M: Career Advice from Women in STEM to Their Younger Selves
May 25, 2018

Employees at 3M are incredibly passionate about their careers today, but many faced the same uncertainty that most people do during the early stages of figuring out their career paths. We asked a variety of women in STEM what they’d tell their younger selves and they provided some excellent advice applicable to anyone at any point in their career.

 Theresa Meyer, software research manager 

1. Channel your confidence.

“You are not an imposter. You deserve to be where you are, and what you contribute has value, so don’t be afraid to speak up,” says Theresa Meyer, software research manager. “I’ve had to tell myself this a lot during points of transition in my career, when I’m being stretched outside of my comfort zone. As I progressed in my career, I started to realize that people that I highly respected and admired who seemed very confident on the outside felt the same way. It was then that I started to realize that a little bit of impostor syndrome is a good thing. If I’m not experiencing this, then it means that I’m not pushing myself enough.”

 Jennifer Schumacher, data scientist

Jennifer Schumacher, data scientist, adds “You’re a cool person. Be confident in that. I always tell myself this before a meeting with high-level management, or before talks or presentations. It’s easy to be intimidated by other people’s accomplishments, so I think it’s good to remind myself that I’ve accomplished cool things too – everyone has their unique path and there’s no one ‘correct’ path.”

 Iraina Edwards, electrical engineer

2. Don’t dwell on others’ opinions.

Iraina Edwards, electrical engineer, says “Don’t let others’ opinions psych you out. I almost didn’t take my first position at 3M because of others’ opinions. When I shared my job offer with my classmates, there was a lot of skepticism around me accepting something that I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy and that would be very challenging. Despite the comments, I decided to accept the position. My first year was extremely challenging, but now I pinch myself every day because I can’t believe I get to be a part of a team that is leading the data automation space within manufacturing.”

 Katrina Hale, engineering manager

3. Enjoy yourself.

Katrina Hale, engineering manager, offers this advice: “Whatever you’re doing, do the best you can and have a good time. Enjoy yourself because life is way too short. Very early on in my career, I learned that we will spend more time at work than on just about any other single activity. So, with every big decision I’ve had to make about accepting a new assignment or move, I always consider the ‘fun factor,’ and ask myself ‘Will this next step make me excited about going to work every day or will it drain me?’ I always choose the more challenging, ‘fun’ option. And so far, it’s worked for me. For every role I’ve had, at the time that I’ve had it, I’ve thought ‘this is the best job at 3M.”

 Maria Damiani, manufacturing software engineer

4. Stop worrying.

Maria Damiani, manufacturing software engineer, and Jayshree Seth, corporate scientist and 3M’s chief science advocate, both say not to worry so much. Maria says to “Just take one thing at a time. You don’t need to know what you’re going to do when you’re 75. Just figure out what you’re going to do next. My engineering personality usually tries to over-plan, which can often result in ‘analysis paralysis,’ where I get stuck spinning my wheels trying to think through every option, when I really don’t even have enough information to make the right decision yet. Engineering is such a broad field and 3M is such a diverse company. There’s no way that I can plan my ideal career with just the experience and information that I have today.”

 Jayshree Seth, corporate scientist and 3M’s chief science advocate

Jayshree adds, “It will all work out. It always does! I was doing technical work in the lab in my role as a senior product development specialist when I was faced with a new opportunity: teaching a product development methodology. I was immediately worried that I wouldn’t be able to connect with my audience, but it turned out my fear was unfounded, as one fellow 3Mer even told me that attending one of my presentations changed her life. I was so worried and I didn’t have to be.”

Are you a recent graduate wondering where your career will take you? Explore what it’s like to work for one of the top companies in the world by checking out our careers website and Glassdoor page. 

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