Note: This blog post contains a combination of English, Spanish, and Spanglish.
Let’s face it, as Latinos we are known to be hard working and for getting the job done.
In the famous musical – Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, there is a popular quote:
“Immigrants, we get the job done.”
And that quote became viral because it speaks the truth.
Our work ethic as immigrants and first or second generation descendants is superb. We really value productivity and delivering results. This is especially true if we are the first in our families to go to college or the first to earn an Engineering or STEM-related degree.
As women or individuals identifying as female Latinas, we also have additional cultural expectations that occupy a lot of our mental “bandwidth”.
And although there has been a shift to do things differently by younger generations, we are still often burdened by guilt. Breaking out of the norm can mean that we will bring shame to our families, and that’s the last thing we want to do.
Which begs the question: Is it possible to get the job done without burning out?
¿De verdad podemos hacer el mejor trabajo sin quemarnos?
As an optimist, I say the answer is a resounding YES. But first, we need to identify some of the limiting beliefs and cultural expectations that are not serving us and how we can counter them.
First Limiting Belief:
Don’t make too much noise or you will be singled out. Calladita te ves más bonita.
If you are nodding your head right now, you are one of the many Latinas who have heard this phrase. Some have been able to rebel against this belief with ease, but for others (including myself), it has taken a lot of courage to undo this belief.
How can we counter it? O ¿Cómo lo cambiamos?
Speaking up doesn’t mean you are disrespectful. There are ways to effectively communicate with others and let your voice be heard. Invest in your communication skills.
Hay formas de comunicarse de manera efectiva con las personas y hacer que tu voz valga. Invierte en mejorar tu comunicación.
This year’s theme for Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15) is “Unidos: Inclusivity of a Stronger Nation” but if we want to be included, we need to learn to not only speak up and be heard but also to listen.
Finding mentors, identifying role models, and being courageous enough to ask questions is going to help us tremendously. Remember that SWE has a free mentor network for their members, and we have access to that here: https://swe.turazo.com. Plus, you can also ask for support through the SWE Latinos AG.
Second Limiting Belief:
Sacrificing yourself means you care. El sacrificio demuestra que tanto te importa.
Our well-meaning parents and family are constantly reminding us about all the sacrifices they have made to give us a better future and better life. They are our role models, and there is an expectation that we must do the same for the next generation. Nuestras familias, con sus mejores intenciones, nos recuerdan constantemente los sacrificios que han hecho para darnos un mejor futuro. Ellos son nuestros modelos y se crea una expectativa de que debemos hacer lo mismo para la próxima generación.
How can we counter it? O ¿Cómo lo cambiamos?
Learning to set healthy boundaries is one way in which we can start changing the narrative. Boundaries are for ourselves and they help with our overall well-being. Setting healthy boundaries is not selfish, it is about being a new role model so the future generation has an example on what a healthy lifestyle looks like. Aprendiendo a poner límites saludables es una forma en la que podemos comenzar a cambiar la historia. Los límites son para los que los ponen, no para los que los reciben, y nos ayudan a crear más bienestar. Poner límites no es egoísta, es crear un nuevo modelo para que las generaciones futuras tengan una mejor calidad de vida.
In summary, while we value our work ethic and hard work, it doesn’t mean that we can’t set boundaries and allow ourselves the space and time to fill up our own cup.
When you find yourself feeling guilty, identify the original limiting belief. Get curious about it. Who did you learn it from, and who does it belong to, and who is it serving? No todo lo que te enseñaron se debe creer como verdad.
As Latinas we have an inner compass that comes naturally to us. Use it wisely.
For more information about the “Getting the Job Done Sin Quemarte (Without Burnout)” webinar, happening on October 6th at 3pm CST, make sure to register here: https://advancelearning.swe.org/courses/45849/webinars/31389
This will be a SWE hosted event and part of their advanced learning series and it is free to all SWE members.
You can follow the Latinos AG on Instagram, join our groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and sign up for our mailing list at https://linktr.ee/swelatinosag.