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EngineerChic gets a Makeover

I started this blog when I was still an engineering student at college. 12 years and ~200 posts later, I am still writing, albeit with a few long pauses of late.

The blog was initially for me – as a creative outlet, a way to capture and catalog my thoughts, and to share my often interesting, sometimes crazy life with the world. I was an OG social media adopter, long before Instagram. It was the medium of writing that I connected with.

My blog was fun, fierce and feisty – just like me – and the voice of EngineerChic was young, bold, and authentic. It inspired a community of women engineers from across the globe to connect with me, share their stories, and feel like they were not alone.

I was so grateful for this engagement, because it let me know that I was not alone. I was not just this young, brown woman who moved out to darkest Africa to build mining plants, giving up connection and community in a field where nobody looked like me; in fact, nobody was anything like me! I was not alone because I had all of you to tell me that you had experiences that were so similar to mine!

It was beautiful and it saved my life, so many times when things got a little rough out there, or lonely (which it often was). You saved me so many times. Thank you!

It’s been years since I left mining, and moved into consulting for McKinsey & Co, where I was told I could no longer blog. I was a representative of the Firm, and as such, I was censored from sharing my thoughts and opinions freely, outside of a few safe topics. This crushed my creativity and it crushed EngineerChic, the successful blog I had built over 5+ years at that time.

That was when I lost my voice. Everything I wrote seemed contrived, strained, and inauthentic.

In the years I spent on the hamster wheel that was my life in corporate America, I had amassed skills aplenty, but I had forgotten who I was. Who was Rhea? She certainly was no longer EngineerChic, the “feisty, fearless diva in a hard-hat!” When I was an engineer working on site, and yes, wearing a bright pink hard-hat every single day, it was easy to write from that voice. But now that I was in 6-inch heels and a pencil skirt, and working with men in suits, how could I be EngineerChic? Who was EngineerChic?

Who was Rhea?

I left McKinsey in 2018 and it would take me a whole year to even start figuring out who I was. and a whole 2.5 years to finally find the courage to leave my successful, executive career in service of the person I truly was: my highest and best self.

I have news: I have flown the coup, left the nest – or maybe I was pushed out by a culture that had no idea what to do with a creative like me. Either way, I’m doing my own thing and I am SO HAPPY!

I am free, and it looks like I even got my voice back! Only, now it’s different. Or rather, I’m different. I am not who I was when I stopped blogging at 25. And neither are you! Life and experience has shaped me, matured me, and although I will always be the audaciously authentic individual I always have been, no longer do I relate to the spunky, funky and fierce woman I was when I started this thing.

And as you might have noticed by now, I am nothing but authentic. In fact, I’ve literally walked away from multiple high-six-figure jobs because I was not able to be my most true, most real, most me version of me.

So…EngineerChic needs to change. The voice needs to change. The content needs to change…to reflect this moment, and Rhea in this moment. But don’t worry, I promise you its going to be great – even better than before!

So what will change? There will be:

  • More career tips, and less engineer dating tips
  • More leadership-focused content and less early-career focused content
  • More inspiration, and less condemnation (of men / bias / women in engineering stats etc.)
  • More posts that drive introspection in the reader, more posts that help you grow, more posts that make you a fulfilled and successful human!

And what will stay the same?

  • Authentic stories from my experience in my life which continues to be crazy, wacky, exciting (because, judging by the reaction to my Instagram, y’all love that stuff)
  • Humor – its still me, after all!
  • Audacity – I will continue to share inspiring stories from BIG, BOLD and Audacious leaders

So that is it! Please leave a comment below to let me know what you think about this direction and what you want to read more of!

Still chic,

Rhea

2 thoughts on “EngineerChic gets a Makeover”

  1. Hi Rhea, since I crossed your way a few years back, during my volunteering experience, I’ve been always delighted by your energy and positive thinking.
    I have a nice female lead experience to share with you, it’s a story of a female owned new business in my area (www.alma-design.it)

    1. Hi Alberto, I very fondly remember you and our ASME days. So happy that we are still in touch. I would love to hear more about the business and the story – maybe I could interview / feature them in a post! Please reach out at rhea @ artfulladder dot com.

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