Working at Dell Technologies is a girl’s opinion. Gender equality, decrees and career development after childbirth

Usually in this blog we write about servers, computers or IT solutions, but today there will be an article of a completely different plan: this is an experiment. We thought it would be a good idea to share our employees’ stories with you from time to time through the prism of their personal experience at Dell Technologies. It is very likely that many will be interested in reading about how everything is arranged with us. So we really hope for feedback in the comments and in the poll at the end of the article – the fate of the new format really depends on this.

And we will start with the topic of girls in IT, and we will look at it from a special angle. The main character of today’s article is Lyubov Filimonova. She graduated from ETU “LETI”, came to work at the St. Petersburg Dell Technologies Development Center on an internship program and worked her way up to a software test engineer in the Dell EMC VMAX team. Lyuba has two children, so she went on maternity leave twice during her work. It was this experience that we asked her to share. The attitude of the bosses, opportunities for development, building a career after the birth of children, adaptation after a long vacation – Lyuba herself talks about this and many other things in the format of direct speech under the cut.

Employment of men and women in IT: is there a difference?

In international IT companies, no one judges candidates by their clothes or gender for a long time. At Dell Technologies, the experience, knowledge and accomplishments of men and women are always compared in proportion. Jokes or, moreover, trolling are absolutely unacceptable, even after employment. And this is not some kind of rule that everyone should to follow. It’s just that modern adults perfectly understand everything themselves and communicate with each other correctly.

If we talk about a career path, then, in my opinion, everything primarily depends on self-confidence, and not on gender. Unfortunately, in my experience, IT girls are often less confident than boys. But at Dell Technologies, you can always count on the help of colleagues from our internal Women in Action community, which is more than 5 years old. This is an open area where women can communicate with each other. Networking plus the opportunity to gain additional knowledge is a very effective combination. Here they will always answer questions, guide them, help to upgrade soft skills, if they are suddenly not enough, and will give a powerful charge of positive motivation. The main goal of the community is to support women in technological fields, to help them develop and build their careers.

On gender discrimination in the IT industry

It seems to me that in the IT sphere, the level of gender discrimination is much lower than in many other areas. Especially in large international corporations. My personal experience shows that Dell Technologies does not have her at all: it is simply impossible to imagine that at an interview someone asked a girl if she is married and if she is planning children. And smart girls are always in the “top”: of my classmates from ETU “LETI” there is not a single one who would not work in the IT industry now.

At the same time, once I was able to look at this problem from the outside. In the company (not from the IT sphere) where my husband works, there was a situation when a talented young girl was deliberately not allowed to work on serious projects. They were afraid that she would go on maternity leave at any moment, and business processes would stop.

How do team leaders feel about girls leaving on maternity leave?

My team leader is a woman. And once she told me bluntly that she was not at all scared when girls go on maternity leave, because they always come back. The fact is that after a long break from work it is always easier to return to where you have already worked. I believe that this largely determines the second factor: how the work is arranged. In our team, the entire production process is a constructor, everything is replaceable and customizable. When you leave, there will always be someone who will be equally effective at what you have been working on. And vice versa: when you return, they will always find something you can handle.

The attitude of managers and colleagues

The atmosphere inside the company is very friendly. The bosses always try to support employees and treat difficult situations with understanding. Together with our colleagues, we regularly celebrate events in office kitchens, including pregnancies and new families, and make gifts to each other. Despite this, at the beginning of my first pregnancy, for some reason I was afraid to tell everyone that I would have to leave for a long time. I remember that I began this conversation with the words “this is probably not good news for you”. As it turned out, she was afraid in vain: the manager immediately supported her, colleagues also reacted with understanding.

It is interesting, by the way, that now my team has shared according to the age limit: we have employees either under the age of 30, or about forty and older. Young colleagues actively support and help in difficult moments in technical terms, and the elders – many already have grandchildren – share their parenting experience and give valuable advice.

What do you like about the company?

For myself, I see a lot of advantages in the St. Petersburg Development Center of Dell Technologies. The colleagues have a high level of expertise, the teams are friendly, the management is loyal and understanding. It is also comfortable to work with colleagues from America. The tasks are interesting and large-scale – after all, we make products for the whole world, and not only for Russia, and this is great motivation when you love your job, as I do. And at the time of going on maternity leave, I saw from my own experience how quickly and efficiently cases are transferred and picked up. The manager promptly redistributed tasks, the work did not stop and did not “sag” even for a day.

One of the main benefits of working in the company for me personally is the corporate VHI policy, which applies to the whole family. In other companies, they often ask to pay extra for the expansion, and here he is also with dentistry. The second key advantage is the ability to work remotely. Now this approach has become commonplace, and a year and a half ago it seemed impossible for many. The fact is that Dell Technologies has been closely engaged in organizing remote work of employees for more than ten years, and for all of us this was the norm long before the pandemic. I especially appreciated the “distance away” when the older child went to the garden: it would be extremely difficult to take him there and take him away, plus somehow combining everything with the way to the office.

Can you learn new skills while on maternity leave?

In my opinion, it is definitely possible. And rightly so, many colleagues do this. For example, a friend works as a circuit engineer and is going to retrain for a higher-level profession in the same field during the decree.

If we talk about me, then it was difficult for me to “pump” professionally. The specificity of the product I am working on assumes only internal training: we learn something new mainly directly during work. But I stayed in the loop – I read articles, watched training videos, studied the documentation. And I was able to significantly improve my English, for which, by the way, also thanks to the company – courses for employees are organized and fully paid by Dell Technologies.

How to combine work and parenting?

Now they write and talk about this a lot, and the construction of the regime for the child and time management are brought to the fore. My experience with two children shows that these things are useful, but not essential. The main thing is delegation, and without it nothing will help. You need to attract relatives and nannies, hire a cleaning service, otherwise you definitely won’t be enough for everything at once: the matter will end in maternal burnout.

My husband became my assistant, for which I am infinitely grateful to him. After the first decree, I went to work for 20 hours. During the afternoon meetings, I went out for a walk with the child and connected with headphones to listen and not miss anything important, and did the technical work from 6 to 10 pm, when my husband came home from his work. All this time, no one bothered me, and this is extremely important. Making time when you are the only one is absolutely essential. The option with work or leisure, when a child is somewhere nearby, say, draws, is not suitable for everyone.

Do decree and motherhood affect the process of building a career?

I believe that any story about a career is always about how ready you are to work seriously. Our company is full of examples when girls of about the same age grow up to the same position, they have approximately the same skills and experience, but one has a family and a child, and the other has decided not to build a relationship and a family yet.

The approach to a career is also important, because it is always individual. Let’s say I never set myself the goal of becoming a senior engineer. Now my goal is not a position, but reaching a certain level of income. I think the position is important if you are planning to leave for another company: moving from senior to senior is much easier. I plan to continue working at Dell Technologies, so I don’t particularly pursue career achievements. Firstly, because you can even be an intern, communicate with an engineer and understand that you are smart about the same. And, secondly, because in our company the position in which you work does not always determine the level of your salary.

In a word, I’m more for a higher position in money than in career, and I didn’t come to this right away. Before the birth of my first child, I was ready to work for free. After that, I was ready to work for a small salary. But when you already have two children, a stable and good income level is very important. Now I honestly answer that I work for money, not for enthusiasm, and I’m not ashamed of it. But, of course, I like what I do, I work with pleasure.

Does the focus on the family shift after the birth of children?

With the advent of children, the focus of attention really shifts to the family, but you get tired of this too. Therefore, a balance must be sought. Perhaps this is just my personal experience, but when I come to work after spending a lot of time with the children for the “development”, then it is much easier and more interesting for me to switch. I willingly agree to test new “features”, I gladly attend training sessions.

How to correctly and effectively return to the working rhythm after the decree?

In my personal experience, it can sometimes be more difficult to get into work after a 3-week vacation than after a 1.5-year maternity leave. I think the onboarding process is highly dependent on the approach of the company and the team leader. Everything is very cool with us in this regard.

After the first decree, my boss felt that I would not be able to work one hundred percent right away. Therefore, a specific task was selected for me: I ran a standard set of tests in a circle on different versions of the software. This is such a routine that you don’t need to delve deeply into: you just reconfigure the hardware and make sure that everything goes smoothly. So it happened to quickly and smoothly return to the standard working rhythm. At the same time, after long vacations (as well as decrees and according to the internship program), our company will definitely provide you with a mentor. This is a person who can always be asked any questions, and he will definitely help.

When I returned after the second decree, it became immediately clear to both me and the boss that this was already for a long time. Plus, I became less attached to children, since my husband took the decree. So the tasks were already more serious than simple circular tests.

Here Lyuba’s direct speech ends, and on this we smoothly end the material. Thanks to everyone who read to the end. In the comments, you can ask your questions on the topic. We will definitely try to answer everything with the help of the heroine of the material and the HR department. And don’t forget to vote on the poll: your feedback is really important to us.

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