Article written by Jessica Yee
The last couple years were extraordinarily tough for me. Even before the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was dealing with the aftershock of law school and taxing effect it had on my life. Law school was no easy feat. I faced my fair share of failures, rejections, and emotional lows. Then March 2020 hit, and unemployment rates started to skyrocket. Traditional office work shifted to unlimited Zoom calls and working from home. This is when I quickly realized I had to make a hard pivot in my career.
I jumped on LinkedIn and discovered a community of lawyers from all over the world, who were ready to answer any questions I had, and share their personal stories of struggles and success. After a few months of virtual meet ups, 1 on 1 coffee Zoom calls, and webinars, I landed an amazing volunteer opportunity and was paired up with arguably the best Cyber Security and Data Privacy lawyer there is, Theo Graymccarthy.
Theo quickly took me under her wing and mentored me in every sense of the word. She coached me to successful completion of the volunteer project, she taught me project management skills, she expanded my network, and she also encouraged me to keep going on the hard days, which there seemed to be a lot of in 2020.
Keep in mind, I have yet to meet this amazing woman in person. All of our interactions have been virtual or over the phone. (Thank you, Internet and technology!) She is thousands of miles across the country, but yet she has uplifted me and helped me grow during one of the toughest years of my career. Her positive energy, compassion to pay it forward, and nonlinear journey to a successful career in Cyber Security has inspired me to follow in her footsteps.
I can proudly say that I have grown the most, both professionally and personally, during the pandemic and it’s all thanks to the remarkable women in my life who uplift, inspire, and challenge me to be better.
In the spirit of International Women’s Day, I want to leave you with my top three takeaways that I learned over the past year:
1. Network and find a community that inspires you. It’s out there. You just need to put yourself out there and find it. LinkedIn is a great place to start!
2. “When women support each other, amazing things start to happen.” I can attest to this wholeheartedly. If it wasn’t for the amazing women in my life, I wouldn’t have been able to turn my luck around from the last couple of years. Let’s continue to support one another and inspire each other to reach the next level.
3. Pay it Forward. Never underestimate your ability to give. No matter what level you are at in your career, there is always an opportunity to pay it forward. Share your experience, mentor, give back in a way that fulfills purpose for you. An act of kindness can make all the difference in someone’s life.
Jessica lives in Pasadena, California, working as a Contract Administrator for ACCO Engineered Systems. She obtained her Juris Doctorate degree from Western State College of Law in Irvine, California, and she also studied abroad in Beijing, China during law school. Stay in contact with her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicaayee/ .