Information, Technology & Consulting

Women in Technology: Janet St. Martin, Project Lead/Senior Business Analyst

Janet St. Martin, Project Lead/Senior Business Analyst describes her career-path, job-fulfillment, and her experience mentoring young women in the WitsOn program.

I took a computer class in high school and really liked it, so when I applied to college, I only looked at places that had computer science majors (which were not that many in my era). In retrospect, I actually had no idea of all the possible careers in the world. I wish I had spent time job-shadowing people in various careers, such as health care, education, business, and retail to get an idea of what was involved with different jobs. I also wish I had looked inward more and realized I love the outdoors, exercise, and interacting with people, and tried to incorporate those earlier in my career.

I think it’s important to realize that you spend a good part of your life at work and it should be something you like to do. The people you work with are extremely important, too. I believe that having a good boss is more important than having a job you absolutely love. I think that some people are always looking for something better and not appreciating what they have. You need to look at the bright side of things.

Before Dartmouth, I worked as a Software Developer at Burlington Coat Factory in Lebanon, New Hampshire; Owner of a cleaning company in Burlington, Vermont, and a Wall Street Commercial Paper Trader, Risk Manager at Bankers Trust Co. in New York City.

Over the years, I’ve realized that I am a very organized person and like to manage processes. I was also getting tired of doing IT production support: I realized I like knowing what I am going to be doing during the day and not coming to work not knowing what broken things I would have to fix that day. Thus I switched to IT project management. Currently, I am working on a variety of projects, such as the Fixed Assets implementation and the Electronic Time Management System. I also coordinate various upgrades and testing cycles for my team. This is a pretty good career path for me now. I feel fulfilled in my career. A big part of it is that I have been able to balance my personal life, my need to exercise, and work. It probably helps that I have a lot of energy. I like to enter local running and triathlon events, which give me a goal for my workouts and enable me to mark improvement. I always used to say the one downside of my job was sitting in front of a computer so much, but now I have a standing desk in my new office in 4 Currier, and I love it.

I think it is important to share your experiences and knowledge with others. I am big on collaborating and sharing. I also like to learn from others, and if I know something, I like to let others know. Last fall, I participated in the Women in Technology Sharing Online (WitsOn) mentoring program, which helps women in engineering, math, science and computer programs find mentors of women who are already in male-dominated fields.

I found out about  the WitsOn program from Ellen Waite-Franzen, Vice President for Information Technology and CIO, and I just felt it was important to share my experiences. The program was basically a web-based Q & A site where students could ask anything. Each mentor was assigned a day to monitor the questions and respond to whoever asked them. As mentors, we were also asked to put up bios. It was fun to read the wide variety of backgrounds from the other mentors.

Janet's advice for WitsOn program participants

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. I used to get uptight about small stuff; now, I am more relaxed and can put things into perspective.
  • Don’t pressure yourself into thinking you have to find the “perfect” job—it may be impossible to find. Just be satisfied, challenged, and enjoy your work and the people you work with. You can balance your life by doing other things you enjoy outside of work.
  • Think about different careers, and besides the work you do in them, the quality of life they offer. Teaching often has summers off—a nice benefit. Jobs in which you have appointments with people may not be as flexible as other jobs. I like the flexibility that my job offers.

See also: "Dartmouth Is Part of New Initiative for Women in Science," Dartmouth Now

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